Main Article Content

Maha Bali
Mia Zamora


The Equity-Care Matrix stems from preparation for a joint keynote at the OpenEd20 conference. In crowdsourcing this question - "What is EQUITY without CARE? What is CARE without EQUITY?" (Bali, 2020a) - we illuminated the convergence and divergence of these two concepts. This article describes the development of our matrix, explores its implications with vignettes to contextualize the equity/care nexus in educational technology, and demonstrate the failure of one without the other. We highlight systemic injustice and how policies and platforms can reproduce inequality by weaponizing care. The problem of “partial care” illustrates how attempts at providing care can only be band-aids at best, and harmful at worst, without systemic justice. Similarly, “contractual equity” showcases policies meant to redress injustice which fail by remaining performative because those involved do not internalize the values that drive equity. Finally, we highlight the need to cultivate cultures that value and reward care and equity and suggest that “socially just care” is everyone’s responsibility.

Article Details

Articles - Special Issue


Ahmed, S. (2012). On being included: Racism and diversity in institutional life. London, UK: Duke University Press.

amond, m. [@magsamond]. (2020, November 6). mental models of ... care without equity - providing first aid kits that cannot be reached or opened by those who need [Tweet]. Twitter. Retrieved from

Bali, M. [@bali_maha]. (2020a, November 6). For an upcoming keynote, would love your thoughts on: a. What is CARE without EQUITY? b. What is EQUITY without CARE? Thanks [Tweet]. Twitter. Retrieved from

Bali, M. (2020b, November 7). Equity and care quotes from twitter. [PowerPoint slides]. Google Slides. Retrieved from

Bali, M., Caines, A., Hogue, R. J., DeWaard, H. J., & Friedrich, C. (2019). Intentionally equitable hospitality in hybrid video dialogue: The context of virtually connecting. eLearning Mag (special issue). Retrieved from

Bali, M., Crawford, M., Jessen, R. L., Signorelli, P., & Zamora, M. (2015). What makes a cMOOC community endure? multiple participant perspectives from diverse MOOCs. Educational Media International, 52(2), pp. 100-115. doi: 10.1080/09523987.2015.1053290

Bali, M., & Zamora, M. [Open Education Conference]. (2021, February 25). #OpenEd20 day 2 plenary: Maha Bali & Mia Zamora [Video]. YouTube. Retrieved from

Baker, N. [@nbaker]. (2020, November 6). Pretty sure I can't say it better than @catherinecronin! Although, playing devil's advocate, is it possible to have care without equity? [Tweet]. Twitter. Retrieved from

Bessette, L. S. (2020, March 26). Affective labor: The need for and cost of workplace equanimity. Educause Review. Retrieved from

Bessette, L. S., & McGowan, S. (2020). Affective labor and faculty development: COVID-19 and dealing with the emotional fallout. Journal on Centers for Teaching and Learning, 12, pp. 136-148. doi: 10.17613/py0p-5011

Blum, S. [@SusanDebraBlum]. (2021, January 8). This abundance is such a gift for all beleaguered educators! Which, given the moment, is pretty much all of us! [Tweet]. Twitter. Retrieved from

Bowles, K. [@KateMfD]. (2020, November 6). Both care and equity are design choices made by those with the power to choose how others will be treated [Tweet]. Twitter. Retrieved from

Bowles, B., Caines, A., Zamora, M., & Bali, M. (2020, September 16). Bodies of work: A proposal for critical labour literacy in the post-pandemic university. Post Pandemic University. Retrieved from:

Brandle, S. M. [@ProfBrandle]. (2020, November 6). More b: excessive datafication- measuring populations excessively, often without their consent or input. And really focusing on data, and ignoring [Tweet]. Twitter. Retrieved from

Caines, A. [@Autumm]. (2020a, November 6). Care is a coping mechanism that arises in environments without equity [Tweet]. Twitter. Retrieved from

Caines, A. (2020b, December 7). The zoom gaze. Real Life Mag. Retrieved from:

Caines, A., & Richard, S. (2020, February 3). DigCiz weaponization of care. OER20 Blog. Retrieved from

Cohn, J. [@Jenae_Cohn]. (2020, October 27). WOWZA, this collection of community-building online class activities is a veritable treasure trove! Star-struck. So many wonderful ideas for [Link attached] [Tweet]. Twitter. Retrieved from

Costa, K. R. (2020, May 27). Cameras be damned. LinkedIn. Retrieved from

Costanza-Chock, S. (2018). Design justice: Towards an intersectional feminist framework for design theory and practice. Proceedings of the Design Research Society 2018. doi: 10.21606/drs.2018.679

Crenshaw, K. (1991). Mapping the margins: Intersectionality, identity, and violence against women of Color. Stanford Law Review, 43(6), pp. 1241-1300.

Cronin, C. [@catherinecronin]. (2020, November 6). Care without equity is care for a few, the few who are seen. This means less/no care for those[Tweet]. Twitter. Retrieved from

Czerniewicz, L., Agherdien, N., Badenhorst, J., Bellugi, D., Chamber, T., Chili, M.,…Gerrit Wissing. (2020). A wake-up call: Equity, inequality and Covid-19 emergency remote teaching and learning. Postdigital Science Education, 2, pp. 946–967. doi: 10.1007/s42438-020-00187-4

David, E. J. R., & Derthick, A. O. (2018). The psychology of oppression. New York, NY, US: Springer Publishing.

Denial, C. [@cjdenial]. (2020, November 6). Care without equity is a fundamentally unjust practice that tries to place a band aid over a deep rupture and [Tweet]. Twitter. Retrieved from

Dhillon, S. [@SamarjitDhillon]. (2020, November 6). Equity without care: you modify admission criteria to facilitate admission for individuals from certain disadvantaged backgrounds (equity) but provide no [Tweet]. Twitter. Retrieved from

Dowie-Chin, T., & Schroeder, S. (2020). Critical, calculated, neoliberal: Differing conceptions of care in higher education. Teaching in Higher Education, pp. 1-15. doi: 10.1080/13562517.2020.1749588

Eales L., & Peers, D. (2020). Care haunts, hurts, heals: The promiscuous poetics of queer crip Mad care. Journal of Lesbian Studies, 25(3), 163-181. doi: 10.1080/10894160.2020.1778849

Elder, A. [@OpenAccessElder]. (2020, November 6). Equity without care is when the system was changed so that everything *can* work for everyone's needs, but those in[Tweet]. Twitter. Retrieved from

Elias, T. [@eliast05]. (2020a, November 6). Care without equity is love in an unjust world. It is what inspires those treated unfairly to fight for the [Tweet]. Twitter. Retrieved from

Elias, T. [@eliast05]. (2020b, November 6). And when I think about care... I see it as a deeply personal choice rather than obligation. I get to [Tweet]. Twitter. Retrieved from

Equity Unbound (n.d.). About. Retrieved from

Fawns, T. [@timbocop]. (2020, November 6). Care without equity is selective care for some and an accompanying carelessness towards others. Equity without care is impossible. Mechanical [Tweet]. Twitter. Retrieved from

Forbes, L. K., Lamar, M. R., & Bornstein, R. S. (2020). Working mothers’ experiences in an intensive mothering culture: A phenomenological qualitative study. Journal of Feminist Family Therapy, 33(3), pp. 270-294. doi: 10.1080/08952833.2020.1798200

Fraser, N. (2005). Reframing justice in a globalizing world. New Left Review, 36. Retrieved from

Gorski, P. C., & Pothini, S. G. (2013). Case studies on diversity and social justice education. New York, NY, US: Routledge.

Gorski, P. C. (2021). About Equity Literacy. Equity Literacy. Retrieved from

Gray, B. C. (2018). The end is the beginning. And yet you go on. ESC: English Studies in Canada, 44(4), 51-54. doi: 10.1353/esc.2018.0028

hooks, b. (2004). The will to change: Men, masculinity and love. New York, NY. US: Atria books.

hooks, b. (2013). Teaching Community: A Pedagogy of Hope. New York, NY, US: Routledge.

Imad, M. (2020a, June 3). Seven recommendations for helping students thrive in times of trauma. Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved from

Imad, M. (2020b, August 26). Trauma informed pedagogy & how is your heart? [Video]. YouTube. Retrieved from

Imad, M. (2021). Transcending adversity: Trauma-informed educational development. To Improve the Academy: A Journal of Educational Development, 39(3). doi: 10.3998/tia.17063888.0039.301

Khader, S. J. (2019). Decolonizing universalism: A feminist transnational ethic. New York, NY, US: Oxford University Press.

Koutropoulos, A. [@koutropoulos]. (2020, November 6). Equity without care is just lip service. It really connects (for me) with what @mpineq said in a recent LLOL pod [Tweet]. Twitter. Retrieved from

Lambert, S. R. [@SarahLambertOz]. (2020, November 6). Yes I heartily agree with Catherine. Equity without care in organisations becomes "diversity theatre" ie a performance or show. Bursts [Tweet]. Twitter. Retrieved from

Lanclos, D. [@DonnaLanclos]. (2020a, November 6). Care without equity is what we have now. Not enough care, but enough to occasionally mitigate the lack of equity [Tweet]. Twitter. Retrieved from

Lanclos, D. [@DonnaLanclos]. (2020b, November 6). If institutions had structures in place to ensure equity, then people would still care about each other, but it would [Tweet]. Twitter. Retrieved from

Masland, L. [@LindsayMasland]. (2020, November 6). For me, equity is the systemic representation of care. So individuals can exhibit care for other individuals but still exist [Tweet]. Twitter. Retrieved from

Noddings, N. (2012). The language of care ethics. Knowledge Quest, 40(5), 52-56.

Pipes, E. (2016, July 29). Legos and the 4 I's of Oppression [Video]. YouTube. Retrieved from

powell, j. a., & Menendian, S. (2016). The problem of othering: Towards inclusiveness and belonging. Othering and Belonging,1,14-39. Retrieved from

Silverman, S., Caines, A., Casey, C., Garcia de Hurtado, B., Riviere, J., Sintjago, A., & Vecchiola, C. (2021). What happens when you close the door on remote proctoring? moving toward authentic assessments with a people-centered approach. To Improve the Academy: A Journal of Educational Development, 39(3). doi: 10.3998/tia.17063888.0039.308

singh, s. s. (Director). (2019a). A Model Employee [Short Film]. Screening Surveillance. Retrieved from:

singh, s. s. (Director). (2019b). Blaxites [Short Film]. Screening Surveillance. Retrieved from:

Swauger, S. (2020, April 2). Our bodies encoded: Algorithmic test proctoring in higher education. Hybrid pedagogy. Retrieved from:

Thomson, C. B. [@cbthomson]. (2020a, November 6). Not sure I've thought this through enough but...a) Where there is no equity, care becomes a necessity to achieve a basic level of functioning or survival, not helping people to flourish. b. Equity without care is just a badge. [Tweet]. Twitter. Retrieved from

Thomson, C. [@slowtech2000]. (2020b, November 6). a. Solving problems of an individual by an individual; unsustainable weight on person caring, small but important achievements b. Solving problems for many by many; = being more institutional box ticking, as little real resource provided & little buy in Practical eg accessibility [Tweet]. Twitter. Retrieved from

Tobin, T. J. [@ThomasJTobin]. (2020, August 26). Want to make your class more #equitable? Check out these #free resources from @OneHEglobal & @UnboundEQ: specific #community building techniques [Link attached] [Tweet]. Twitter. Retrieved from

Tronto, J. C. (2015). Who cares? How to reshape a democratic politics. Ithaca, NY, US & London, UK: Cornell University Press.

Walji, S. [@sukainaw]. (2020, November 6). Care is ameliorative and often the responsibility of or experienced by the individual; equity is transformative and has systemic impacts [Tweet]. Twitter. Retrieved from

Walker, M., & Unterhalter, E. (2007). Amartya Sen's capability approach and social justice in education. New York, NY, US: Palgrave MacMillan.

Watters, A. (2021). Teaching machines: The history of personalized learning. Cambridge, MA, US: MIT Press.

White, J. A., & Tronto, J. C. (2004). Political practices of care: Needs and rights. Ratio Juris, 17(4), pp. 425–53. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9337.2004.00276.x

Zamora, M., & Bali, M. (2020). Network. In R. F. Davis, M. K. Gold, K. D. Harris, & J. Sayers (eds). Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities: Concepts, Models, and Experiments. Modern Language Association. Retrieved from

Zamora, M., & Levine, A. (2021). Networked narratives 2021: Post pandemic university. NetNarr 2021. Retrieved from