Compton College learned about the equity walk, an exercise to experience the virtual or physical campus from a student’s perspective, from the Guided Pathways Regional Coordinator who connected them to the guided pathways leads at Fullerton College. The team at Fullerton College invited Compton College to join the equity walk they were collaborating on at Cypress College where they provided participants with student experience snapshots to use as they navigated the physical campus through the perspective of the student snapshot. At the end of the equity walk, participants shared where they felt the college was supporting students and where the college was putting up barriers or not meeting students’ needs. Compton College wanted to recreate this event and was deep in the planning when COVID-19 hit and campus closed. In the new remote learning environment, they knew that students were now navigating the campus through the college website, so they moved the exercise online and renamed it the digital equity walk.


“Opportunities like this are great for building relationships, building
our capacity, and building emerging leaders.”
Citlali Gonzales, Guided Pathways Counselor, CalWORKS, Guided Pathways Tri-chair



The goal of the digital equity walk was to bring campus constituents together to experience how the college was serving students remotely and figure out where they needed to provide more support or do things differently. Compton College knew that students were struggling with housing and food insecurity before COVID-19. When the requirements for remote learning—appropriate technology and adequate internet access—added another potential barrier, they felt compelled to move their equity walk online to ensure they were supporting students effectively.

Compton College partnered with Career Ladders Project (CLP) to facilitate a digital equity walk with 128 faculty, staff, and students in attendance remotely. The college started the event by norming the knowledge of the participants around institutional equity so they were all focused on and seeing the same issues. The event allowed participants to provide constructive feedback on web content to departments across the college. The Guided Pathways Team developed a range of student experience snapshots, which are short profiles describing an individual student’s background including their college and career aspirations. These descriptions were based on the real backgrounds and experiences of students at the college. Using an assigned student experience snapshot, participants in the digital equity walk worked in teams to complete the tasks the student would need to take to reach their goal. While they were finding their way around the website to complete the tasks, the teams were asked to take notes and screenshots to show where they felt the college was doing a good job or presenting a barrier for the student.

The event included 30 minutes for the digital equity walk and 15 minutes for a small group debrief. Each group met in a zoom breakout room and had a specific shared slide deck with the student profile, slides with questions, and a place to take notes. Each group assigned a notetaker, navigator, time keeper, and data collector who was responsible for taking screenshots. The goal of the teams was to rely just on the information that students have, attempting to channel the student experience of navigating the website and the college online. Before the breakout rooms closed, participants took a short survey to provide individual feedback on the utility of the website based on the student experience represented in the snapshots. All participants then reconvened for a full group discussion.

The Guided Pathways Team collected and synthesized all of the feedback they received from the digital equity walk and presented it to specific departments and the website manager. The feedback on challenges included use of confusing terminology and acronyms or broken links. Highlights included examples where departments or divisions used inviting and helpful language like “We are here to help online—chat with us,” used inclusive images, directed students to a specific person and displayed their picture rather than providing generic office contact information, and provided a seamless way to digitally “knock” on virtual office doors.



    • Preparing for the digital equity walk by creating an internal agenda with links to every resource:
        • Master slide deck
        • Breakout room slide decks
        • Facilitator tips
    • Including students and participants who are less familiar with the college to provide
      objective feedback
    • Training facilitators with explicit strategies for keeping the discussion moving forward
    • Holding a dress rehearsal a few days before the event to ensure facilitators feel prepared and to
      address tech issues
    • Assigning specific roles to people supporting the event: co-coordinators, presenters,
      facilitators, zoom tech support, zoom chat monitor


This is a tool outlining five key steps to plan an equity walk at your college. The detailed descriptions are for a digital equity walk with participants joining remotely. For an in-person equity walk, see the Event-planning Tips for suggestions on adapting the exercises. You can also find web resources including templates, samples, and a conference presentation video here. Download the guide using the link below.

Produced by CLP with funding from the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office