On this page you’ll find information on:
What is accessibility?
Accessibility is the process of identifying, removing, and preventing barriers to an equitable experience for all users. In a teaching and learning context, we want to identify, remove and prevent barriers to an equitable student learning experience.
Why does accessibility matter?
Accessibility in teaching and learning creates educational experiences, including the materials, media, spaces, that are barrier-free for the widest range of users and the widest range of technology. By planning up front to prevent or remove barriers to learning, you avoid time consuming retrofits later, create a more positive learning environment for all, and get to explore creative design solutions.
What is the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)?
The AODA outlines accessibility standards that impact organizations across Ontario, including Fleming College. Using the standards in the Act as a framework, Fleming College decides how to best meet or exceed those standards through accessibility planning.
What is Universal Design for Learning (UDL)?
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a flexible curriculum design, development and delivery framework that supports faculty to create inclusive and accessible learning environments and think about the predictable ways that your learners will vary in how they learn. UDL supports you to plan options and supports for representing information, and for students expressing knowledge and engaging in tasks. By designing your course with many learners in mind, it reduces the need to make changes later and can improve learning for everyone.
UDL is not prescriptive but encourages the consideration of options that remove learning barriers and promote inclusion.
UDL has three principles: Provide multiple means of engagement, multiple means of representation, and multiple means of action and expression.
(Accessible version and source: http://udloncampus.cast.org/page/udl_about)
How can I get started using UDL?
You can get started using UDL by consulting the UDL guidelines when designing, selecting and reviewing the learning activities and materials in your course.
For example, under ‘Provide multiple means of engagement’, the first bullet states, “optimize individual choice and autonomy” and can be rephrased as “How can I/have I as a teacher optimize(d)individual choice and autonomy for my students?”
UDL Considerations for Course Design:
- Designing course resources that are concise and explicit, and ensuring course expectations include:
- Learning outcomes and learning goals
- Learning plan with clear due dates
- Course navigation instructions
- Assignment outlines/instructions
- Creating online learning environments that have clear layouts and include access to course content from multiple areas in the course
- Including varied assessment methods, that include a variety of options for learners to demonstrate their knowledge.
UDL Considerations for Course Development:
- Producing course content that:
- Is provided in multiple ways
- Is concise, explicit and accessible
- Explains terms, symbols and/or acronyms
- Engages students’ prior knowledge
- Embeds links to learning materials throughout the course content to create easy access to information
- Allows the completion of, at least some, course content at students’ pace and/or in their preferred order
- Constructing assessments that:
- Accurately evaluate the course learning outcomes and goals
- Build on the new skills students acquire
- Provide multiple opportunities for students to demonstrate their knowledge
- Have clear instructions offered in an inclusive and supportive way
- Encourage independent student responsibilities.
UDL Considerations for Course Delivery:
- Providing note-taking support
- Including interactive learning activities in-class and/or online
- Offering options for students to work individually, in pairs, or in groups
- Encouraging communication between students and with faculty through a variety of means.
- Evaluating knowledge by:
- Offering choices regarding how students submit, at least some, assignments
- Proactively adding additional time to quizzes and tests, or not timing quizzes or tests
- Prompting students regarding due dates and/or giving interim due dates for large assignments.
Internal Resources and Training
- AODA moduleto familiarize with creating an accessible learning environment.
- Accessible Campus offers information about the AODA, in accessibility reference library, and tools and resources for creating accessible learning environments.
- Flexible Learning for Open Education is all about inclusive design and open learning.
- Inclusive Design Research Centre (IDRC) at OCAD.
- Book: UDL Navigators in Higher Education
- UDL on Campus has UDL information, examples and stories for the higher ed world.
- CAST, the Center for Applied Special Technology, are the pioneers of UDL with information on UDL basics, implementation, research and community
- Universal Design for Learning Implementation Research Network (UDL IRN) is dedicated to learning about, creating, and sharing UDL implementation research.
- UDL Theory and Practice is a book with UDL theory and practice research and information.
- 4 Critical Elements of UDL Instruction
- All UDL – A Post-Secondary UDL Toolkit: Built for Instructors
- Curriculum Planning: a UDL Approach (from all UDL)
- UDL at a Glance video
- CAST video – Introduction to the concepts behind UDL