What is Universal Design Learning (UDL) and Accessibility (ADA)?
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a set of principles for curriculum development that give all individuals equal opportunities to learn. UDL provides a blueprint for creating instructional goals, methods, materials, and assessments that work for everyone – not a single, one-size-fits-all solution, but rather flexible approaches that can be customized and adjusted for individual needs. Learners who are “in the margins”, such as learners who are gifted and talented or have disabilities, are particularly vulnerable. However, even learners who are identified as “average” may not have their learning needs met due to poor design.
Accessibility (ADA) is part of Universal Design for Learning (UDL). The principle that any one document or tool can be accessed by any user regardless of the device (e.g. visual browser, screen reader, mobile device) being used. Accessibility is defined as the quality of being easily reached, entered, or used by people who have a disability. ADA and 508 compliance is an important method of providing meaningful inclusion. Many students with disabilities feel different and may/or may not identify themselves. Providing a compliant course, enhances the sense of belonging and promotes success in the class.
Audience for Accessibility Accommodation
There are multiple “audiences” needing their own accessibility accommodation, depending on their needs. However, many “accommodations” actually serve more than just the intended core group, showing that accessibility can benefit everyone.
- Severe Visual Impairment
- Low Vision
- Color Deficient Vision (Color Blindness)
- Deaf and Individuals with Hearing Loss
- Impaired Mobility
- Learning Disorders
- Other Neurological Impairments
Watch the following videos to understand more about the accessible audience, their experiences and how to support accommodating for them.
- Everyone is Different!
- To Care and Comply: Accessibility of Online Courses
- A Personal Look at Accessibility in Higher Education
We Are All Responsible
We are bound by Federal Guidelines:
- Americans with Disability Act of 1990
- Section 504
- Section 508
- The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG2.0)
- Washtenaw Community College Policy
- 8012 – Policy on Compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
- 8028 – Policy on Access, Success and Equity for Diverse People
Let’s Start Simple
- We do not expect the faculty to be “Accessibility Experts.”
- We do expect instructors to make a “Best Faith Effort.”
- Therefore, let us look at a few simple things we can do together.
- One aspect of UDL that guides our inclusive design, is following the simple ADA Competency Standards.
Accessible Design Standards
- The course employs accessible technologies and provides guidance on how to obtain accommodation.
- The course contains equivalent alternatives to auditory and visual content.
- The course design facilitates readability and minimizes distractions.
- The course design accommodates the use of assistive technologies.
- Accessibility Checklist – This document is a quick accessibility reference check list for you to use while creating materials for your course.
- Accessibility Guides – There are 6 different guides with step by step instructions and screen shots to help you transform you course materials to be ADA compliant.
Come to the many Open Labs or Training sessions listed on the TLC calendar.