Heading Down the Path of Universal Design
My role at Ivy Tech includes facilitating professional development workshops. These usually range from demonstrating how to use a particular instructional technology, integrate social media to increase student engagement, and include design changes that can make the f2f, hybrid, and online classroom more engaging and interactive. I recently had a request to offer a workshop about Universal Design. This is not an easy topic and admittedly, I wanted to do some research because I knew my knowledge on this was limited. I found there are many websites, but few give specific examples of what to DO to make your course universally accessible (especially for those of us who are not website designers, we are just using the tools available to us in an LMS such as Blackboard).
One of the most helpful resources was the Course Sites MOOC titled Universal Design and Accessibility for Online Learning developed by Beth Stinson and Jarl Jonas. Admittedly, I did not work through it as an actual course, but skimmed through the resources and examples. There were a few other sites I found helpful and those are included on my tip sheet: 10 Steps Down the Path of Universal Design. My goal was to provide a list of 10 reasonably simple and easy steps faculty could take to help make their course more accessible to the majority of students.
This list is not exhaustive but I think it is a step in the right direction! I tried to use these recommendations in order to make my tip sheet more accessible too! I welcome comments and suggestions for other ways to make courses more accessible, especially those that are being built in an LMS!