Applying universal design to all courses benefits every student. For example, captioning course videos, which provides access to students who are deaf, is also of benefit to students for whom English is a second language, to students with some types of learning disabilities, and to students watching the presentation in a noisy or noiseless environment. Delivering content with multiple modes of presentation can benefit students with a variety of learning styles.

The design of a distance learning class may raise additional concerns.  How a course is designed, especially an online course, can impact the participation of students with visual, hearing, mobility, speech, and learning disabilities.  Designing for access as the course is being developed is the most proactive approach to creating an inclusive classroom, and may alleviate additional individual accommodations that may be required of a person with a disability.  This is most applicable to the online course.

How can you design a course to maximize the learning of all students? The field of universal design can provide a starting point for developing a model for inclusive instruction. This body of knowledge can then be applied to distance learning courses to ensure access for all students.

 

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Videos

Overview of Universal Design for Learning
Vana Zervanos, Associate Dean, Haub School of Business

How has your teaching and course content changed as your students needs have changed?
Dr. Sam Slike, Director, Online Special Education Programs, Graduate Arts & Sciences

Why is it important to consider all students’ needs when developing content for a course (face-to-face and online)?
Dr. Sam Slike, Director, Online Special Education Programs, Graduate Arts & Sciences

What is one message you wish to send to every instructor here at Saint Joseph’s University regarding meeting the needs of every student?
Dr. Sam Slike, Director, Online Special Education Programs, Graduate Arts & Sciences

Campus Resources, Support and Services

Implementing Universal Design principles may seem overwhelming at first, but know that you are not alone. We have a wealth of resources here on campus:

Samuel Slike
Director,
Online Special Education Programs
sslike@sju.edu
Mary Ann McMenamin, JD
Copyright & Compliance Officer,
Academic Technology & Distributed Learning
mstrecke@sju.edu
Chontel Delaney
Instructional Design Specialist,
Academic Technology & Distributed Learning
cdelaney@sju.edu