Universal Design in Online Education

Thanks to Krista Zug in UAA DSS for passing on this great article: http://www.evolllution.com/distance_online_learning/clearing-up-accessibility-for-distance-education-administrators-accommodating-the-new-students/

You probably already know that universal design for learning translates principles of accessibility in physical environments into teaching and content for accessibility in the classroom. “In the online classroom, the oversimplified rule of thumb is: if your content is audio, provide visual and if it is visual, provide audio. If it needs to be captioned, add captioning or post a transcript.” This useful article by Elizabeth Simpson, from the College of Education at the University of Wyoming, lays out some general accommodations for students with LD and ADD in online classes.

Let’s take this one step at a time…

Provide a way for students to read and hear content. Simpson offers these suggestions. PDF files are easier for screen readers to access; scanned documents and pictures can’t be read by screen readers. Add a podcast to any written material you present. (Tip: Visuals should also be available in audio.) It is easy to create a podcast yourself, especially if you have a smartphone. (Tip: It’s best when the student is hearing your voice.) Give students directions on how to access an audio copy of the reading, such as providing a link to the library or another online source. More to come!

All you have to do is ask! I am happy to help you make your COE courses accessible to diverse populations.

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