Guide to Best Practices
Inclusive, accessible design benefits everyone
As the educational landscape evolves, we must challenge assumptions about how teaching and learning “should” look. Consider the following three questions in your course design:
- What do I want students to learn?
- How will I know what students have learned?
- How can I ensure that all students have an equitable opportunity to demonstrate their learning?
DRC enjoys the opportunity to work collaboratively with faculty and instructors in creating an accessible learning environment.
What is My Role?
Listed below are institutionally-supported practices that create a more accessible and inclusive learning experience for all students.
DRC staff is available to provide support or consultation. Contact us at 520-621-3268 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Include the required syllabus statement for access on all course syllabi.
- DRC staff may be added to your Learning Management Course sites (D2L, Canvas, etc.) in order to provide accessible course materials to students.
- When planning classroom activities, it is important to consider the accessibility and layout of the classroom that is being used. Classroom type, layout, and furniture varies greatly in campus classrooms and can impact whether students have an accessible and inclusive experience.
Accessible Course Materials and Content
With the advent of online, hybrid, and flipped courses; moving a course online or adding online features to a traditional course gives instructors the opportunity to create a class that is not only dynamic but accessible to a variety of students – including those who work full-time, study from a distance, and have disabilities. Though a degree of access can be achieved through accommodations, it is best practice to design an accessible course from the onset. DRC’s ITAccessibility webpage provides guidelines for accessible course materials.
Exams and Learning Assessments
Consult with DRC to ensure all student assessments/exams are accessible. Access and accommodations may look different depending on the situation. Solutions may include:
- Provide accommodations yourself within the classroom, office or department.
- Increase time allowed on exams in D2L.
- Work with DRC to administer classroom exams with accommodations on-site at DRC.
- Design student assessment activities that minimize the need for accommodations.
- Read more detailed information about exam administration
- Read more information on options and resources for instructors.
Access to Course Content
Course design, instruction and delivery of content is ever changing. As an instructor, you may utilize technology, supplemental resources and other innovative strategies to foster learning and engagement in your classroom. For most students, having access to quality notes as a study aid is an integral part of their learning. DRC encourages you to consider instructional design techniques that minimize the need for an individual *note-taking* accommodation by providing notes and resources to all students.
Consider providing instructional and supplemental materials for all students to minimize the need for individual accommodations and so that all students benefit from your good course design:
- Post PowerPoint slides or lecture notes on a course website or D2L.
- Use lecture capture (Panopto) or podcasting your lecture, inclusive of PowerPoint slides.
- Assign students to teams and rotate responsibility each week for the team to create a complete set of notes to be shared with the class.
- Use a workbook to summarize information covered in class and provide classroom time for students to collaborate in completing it.
- Allow and encourage students to use recorders, laptops and other smart technology apps to capture important lecture content.
When access to lecture content is still a barrier for a disabled student, DRC encourages the student to meet with an Access Consultant to discuss options.
- You will be notified if DRC determines that an accommodation is necessary.
- You may be asked to:
- Find a volunteer note-taker from your class to share notes with this student individually or via a secure location on D2L. Volunteer note-takers will receive formal recognition for their work by filling out the Note-taker Registration form.
- Provide a copy of your complete notes to the student.
- Ask a TA or preceptor to share notes
If no accommodation is necessary, meaning that students have access to the course subject matter and would be using notes solely as a study aid, we will talk with the student about the following possibilities to attain access to course content:
- Students independently arranging class notes by asking a friend or classmate to share notes
- Visiting Think Tank to learn how to take effective class notes