Friday, December 18, 2015

Useful Paper: A step-by-step guide for making online classes accessible

A paper,  Applying Universal Design for Learning in Online Courses: Pedagogical and Practical Considerations in the Journal of Educators-Online is a good resource.  It was written by Cindy Ann Dell, Thomas F. Dell, and  Terry L. Blackwell, all from  Montana State University.

The Abstract:
Inclusion of the universal design for learning (UDL) model as a guiding set of principles for online curriculum development in higher education is discussed. Fundamentally, UDL provides the student with multiple means of accessing the course based on three overarching principles: presentation; action and expression; and engagement and interaction. Guidelines are also provided for incorporating UDL into an online curriculum for teaching both general and diverse populations including students with disabilities. 
Is one of the better pieces I've seen on the issues of making online courses accessible.  They only miss in not stating that all online courses must be accessible even if the instructor is unaware of any students in the class with a disability.  They still reference the Disability Services Office -- which is appropriate -- but don't explicitly state that all online courses need to be accessible as has been OCR position on this matter, as I've written before.

Looking for specific guidance for designing accessible online courses using UDL?  This article is a good place to start.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Equity Matters: Digital and Online Learning for Students with Disabilities

The national Center on Online Learning and Students with Disabilities (COLSD) recently released their 2015 annual publication Equity Matters: Digital and Online Learning for Students with Disabilities

While the PDF does not currently have an Executive Summary, I'm hoping they will produce on soon  The 150 pages include some very interesting information,which some COLSD staff have analyzed and hopefully will be included in the Executive Summary.  Almost half of the publication includes State and Territory Scans that look at policy questions related to online learning activities and students with disabilities.

(I'm a member of the COLSD Technical Working Group  but we had nothing to do with the publication.)