Building an Inclusive Campus Model Upon a Universal Design Framework (Session 1B)
Main Topic: Education, Teaching and Classroom Practices
Session Type: Paper
The speaker will guide the audience through a process for taking a Universal Design Framework–including scope, definition, guidelines, practices, and processes—and fleshing it out into a toolkit relevant to the development of an inclusive educational institution, department, or specifically area such as online learning, student services, or technology. She will further guide participants in thinking through how they can build an Inclusive Campus Model that begins with their institution’s vision and values, applies the Universal Design Framework and Toolkit, considers existing practices (with respect to stakeholder roles, funding, policies, procedures, training, etc.), designs new practices, and measures outcomes and impacts with respect to the institution’s vision and values. Universal design (UD) has emerged as a paradigm to address diversity and equity in the design of a broad range of applications. UD is defined by the Center for Universal Design as “the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.” Principles for the UD of any product or environment includes those related to:
- Equitable use
- Simple and intuitive use
- Perceptible information
- Tolerance for error
- Low physical effort
- Size and space for approach and use
These principles, originally applied to the design of architecture and commercial products, have also been broadly applied to the design of IT hardware and software, later to instruction, and even later to student services. A universally-designed space or product, including an online learning environment, is accessible to, usable by, and inclusive of everyone, including people with disabilities. Many UD-inspired frameworks have emerged to specifically address instructional applications. A common framework applied in educational settings is called Universal Design for Learning (UDL). Developed by the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST), UDL promotes offering students multiple means of
- Engagement: For purposeful, motivated learners, stimulate interest and motivation for learning.
- Representation: For resourceful, knowledgeable learners, present information and content in different ways.
- Action and expression: For strategic, goal-directed learners, differentiate the ways that students can express what they know
Many specific barriers to digital tools and content faced by individuals with disabilities today have well-documented solutions. These include those articulated by the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), originally published in 1999 by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and most recently updated to WCAG 2.1. The Guidelines dictate that all information and user interface components must follow four guiding principles:
While the WCAG standards were developed to apply to web-based technologies, their principles, guidelines, and success criteria can also be applied to digital media, software, and other technologies to sure that they are accessible to, usable by, and inclusive of all users, including those with disabilities. Applying the combination of UD, UDL, and WCAG principles is particularly suitable for addressing all offerings in educational settings in order to ensure that students are offered multiple ways to learn and demonstrate what they have learned as they interact with accessible physical and digital environments and products that minimize the need for accommodations. Further information is at the Center on Universal Design in Education at uw.edu/doit/cude.
- Compare the accommodations-only approach to providing access to individuals with disabilities (e.g., reactively addressing the needs of people with disabilities) with the universal design (UD) approach (proactively addressing the needs of a diverse audience while minimizing the need for accommodations). Content will be presented and participants will provide input.
- Describe principles that contribute to the inclusive design of all opportunities in education—the 7 principles of UD, the 3 principles of UDL, and the 4 principles of the UD of IT (that underpin the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines). Content will be presented and participants will provide input and share perspectives.
- Explain each aspect of the Universal Design Framework (scope, definition, principles, practices, processes) and describe how they can be fleshed out into Toolkit for an educational institution, course, or department/unit (e.g., online learning, student services, physical spaces, technology). Content will be presented and participants will engage.
Keywords: disability, education, framework, universal design
Dr. Sheryl BurgstahlerUniversity of Washington - Director, Accessible Technology Services
University of Washington
Sheryl Burgstahler is the founder (1992) and director of the DO-IT Center (where DO-IT stands for Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking and Technology) and Principal Investigator of dozens of grant-funded projects. She has spoken at the PacRim conference for many years. Dr. Burgstahler has also delivered webinars at many online conferences. I regularly speak at conferences including but not limited to Accessing Higher Ground, the CSUN conference on technology and disability, Closing the Gap, and several online learning-focused groups. I am author of many publications and books that focus on the topic of this talk, most recently the book Creating Inclusive Learning Opportunities in Higher Education (2020). I have a PhD in Administration of Higher Education. Dr. Burgstahler and her innovative projects have received many awards, including the Professional Recognition Award for the Association for Higher Education and Disability, the National Information Infrastructure Award in Education, the President’s Award for Mentoring, the Golden Apple Award in Education, the Harry J. Murphy Catalyst Award, the Frances Pennell Economic Opportunity Award, induction of DO-IT into the Susan Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame, the Diversity in Technology Leadership Award.