Accessibility, Universal Design, and Remote Teaching
Updated: Aug 4
Universal Design is a philosophy of architecture that privileges the broad functionality of a constructed space: when designing a building, you need to make it accessible for all who might want to enter it and use it. The same principle holds true for pedagogy--Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is the idea that we should make sure our course "works" to educate all of our students, regardless of their preparation, socioeconomic status, technological access, or ability status. Implementing UDL is, quite frankly, a lot easier than it sounds; it is also, unfortunately, far less utilized than it should be. Nonetheless, as many of us are adapting classes for remote instruction this fall, UDL is more important than ever: remote learning can be even more profound than with face-to-face instruction, but it is also far easier for struggling or disengaged students to fall behind.
Note: You will see that many of the links here could easily have gone in the "Equitable and Anti-Racist Pedagogy" post. That is because Universal Design and foregrounding accessibility are intimately related to equity.
UDL Guidelines (CAST)
The chart at the bottom of the page links to dozens of principles and resources.
"Assessments by Design: Rethinking Assessment for Learner Variability" (April 27, 2020 -- Eric J. Moore)
"Want to reach all of your students? Here's how to make your teaching more inclusive." (July 22, 2019 -- Viji Sathy and Kelly A. Hogan)
"6 Quick Ways to Be More Inclusive in a Virtual Classroom" (July 24, 2020 -- Flower Darby)
Teaching Remotely and Accessibly
Rebecca Barrett-Fox's Series on Online Teaching, "Online by Design" (March 2020 and ongoing)
"Designing for Accessibility: How to Front-Load Your Content with UDL Principles" (March 4, 2020 -- Caran Howard)
20 Tips for Teaching an Accessible Online Course (May 5, 2020 -- Sheryl Burghstahler)
(and an important reminder not to let technology depersonalize our teaching)
Course Workload Estimator (Rice University)
As many of us move to online or Hy-Flex teaching, it is important to consider the ways that our students' workloads will be affected. This handy tool will help.