What Students are Being Excluded from Online Learning? (Session 3D)
Main Topic: Online Learning and Technology
Session Type: Paper
It would be difficult to find instructors whose desire it is to erect barriers to online content for any of their students. Even with these good intentions, many educators employ teaching tools and pedagogy that are not accessible to and inclusive of some students with disabilities. The good news is that there are established principles and evidence-based practices that, when applied proactively, lead to a course that is accessible to, usable by, and inclusive of students with a wide variety of characteristics that include disabilities. Many instructors lack the knowledge and skills to design a fully accessible and inclusive course. They also report little understanding of their obligations under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act and its 2008 Amendments when it comes to making online learning accessible to students with disabilities. The presenter will reveal how universal design (UD), Universal Design of Learning (UDL) and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) can be integrated with best practices in teaching to deliver online learning curricula and activities that are inclusive of all students, including those with disabilities. She will share evidence-based practices for operationalizing inclusive principles in the design of online learning pedagogy and materials in any course. Participants and the presenter will explore key issues related to promoting practices that make online components of courses accessible to students with disabilities. This topic is of special importance now because of the conversion of thousands of on-site courses to an online format in response to the pandemic, of legal mandates for schools to make their courses accessible to students with disabilities, of increased interest in addressing diversity issues, and ethical and moral obligations regarding access. Resources will be shared, including those created by the DO-IT (where DO-IT stands for disabilities, opportunities, internetworking, and technology) Center and the Center on Universal Design in Education at uw.edu/doit/cude.
- Each participant will be able to state what universal design principles mean with respect teaching.
- Each participant will be able to describe inclusive practices with respect to digital content and engagement in a class.
- Each participant will be able to describe specific inclusive practices with respect to pedagogy used in online learning.
Keywords: disability, online learning, universal design, accessible design, pedagogy
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.