Integrating Universal Design into the University Curriculum
Accessing Higher Ground 2013
Westminster, Colorado USA
- David Sloan, The Paciello Group
firstname.lastname@example.org - @sloandr
- E.A. Draffan, University of Southampton
email@example.com - @eadraffan
- Jonathan Lazar, Towson University
- Terrill Thompson, University of Washington
firstname.lastname@example.org - @terrillthompson
- Howard Kramer, University of Colorado Boulder
email@example.com - @hkramer99
This page is provided as a record of the pre-conference session Integrating Universal Design into the University Curriculum, which took place at the Accessing Higher Ground conference on November 5, 2013 (Guy Fawkes Day).
This was a full day session that included presentations by each the facilitators, each exploring the topic from slightly different perspectives. Prior to lunch participants submitted questions or issues they would like to explore in the afternoon. Facilitators organized participants' submissions into common themes, and much of the afternoon was deemed an un-preconference, consisting of informal group discussion on each of these themes.
- Integrating Universal Design for Technology into YOUR Curriculum - Jonathan Lazar
- Strategies for Promoting the Integration of Universal Design into University Curriculum - Howard Kramer
- Practical Inclusive Design Teaching - A Dundee Case Study - David Sloan
- Web Technology MSc: Assistive Technologies and Universal Design - E.A. Draffan
- Examples from the University of Washington - Terrill Thompson
- Un-preconference: Open Discussion on Issues and Solutions
- PowerPoint Slides - This one slide deck includes all the presentations from the entire pre-conference session
- CAST: About Universal Design for Learning (UDL)
- The Center for Universal Design in Education - University of Washington
- WebD2: Web Design & Development Curriculum
- School of Computing at University of Dundee
- Inclusive/Universal Design: Accessibility Trainingj - an online tutorial
- Design of a 10 Credit Masters Level Assistive Technologies and Universal Design Module - by Mike Wald, University of Southampton
- 363A.42 Minnesota Statutes on Accessibility - first known statute to include monetary penalties for accessibility violations
- Pedagogy and Student Services for institutional Transformation: Implementing Universal Design in Higher Education - 2008 book, edited by Jeanne L. Higbee and Emily Goff. Includes the research article Student Evaluations of the Effectiveness of Implementing Universal instructional design by Higbee, Lee, Bardill, and Cardinal on page 367.
- Including accessibility within and beyond undergraduate computing courses - paper by Annalu Waller, Vicki L. Hanson, and David Sloan; in Proceedings of ASSETS 2009.
- Promoting the Integration of Universal Design into University Curriculum (UDUC) - website for Howard Kramer's grant at University of Colorado - Boulder (currently a work in progress).
The following computing curricula from the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) include little or no content related to universal design or accessibility. There is a need to work with ACM and/or with our faculty who are active in ACM, to influence these curricula as they're updated. (NOTE: All links are to untagged PDFs)
Un-preconference Discussion Notes: Issues and Solutions
Following are notes taken during the session. Consequently they may lack some context for people who weren't there, but hopefully they still cover the gist of the issues discussed and resources/organizations cited. Topics of discussion were determined by participants and grouped into six common themes:
Universal design vs Innovation
- Is this a failure of defining innovation? What is the innovation we are talking about? Is universal design not part of innovation?
- Innovation sometimes considered "bells and whistles"; gratuitous use of new technology, without real evidence of improvement of the learning experience.
- Success example from online participant: Accessibility as a requirement in budget/grant application – make it a real consideration and a real cost (non-threatening approach to host institution to recognize importance of accessibility)
- If mainstream tools don’t create accessible resources, then accessibility is perceived as an overhead.
- Reminiscence of physical accessibility versus aesthetics. Argument was originally that accessible meant ugly, but design has helped to overcome that view.
- Issue is the definition of "universal"?
Why should I invest my scarce time and resources into UD?
- Perceptions of applying universal design only where it will be noticed?
- Last-minute notifications of a student with disabilities cited by instructors as unreasonably short notice.
- What about automated means to provide (possibly below standard) accessibility solutions. Is doing something better than nothing? Is not doing enough as bad as not doing anything?
- Raise standards and expectations (National Science Foundation doesn't get complaints when recipients of their grants produce materials with accessibility problems)
- Have an enforcement policy (North Carolina State University's Information and Communication Technology Accessibility policy includes a mechanism for removing inaccessible web content)
Learning outcomes vs learning activities
- Resistance where learning activities have apparently immovable accessibility barriers
- Universal design should focus on creating a learning experience that gives the greatest possible proportion of the target audience the chance to attain the course’s intended learning outcomes – the knowledge a learner is expected to obtain at the end of a course. Less focus needed on trying to make individual learning activities universally accessible if doing so would reduce pedagogic value, and if a better solution is to provide equivalent alternatives.
- Require pedagogic justification of learning activities and outcomes – and therefore expectation of student capability.
Dealing with constraints
- Story of a blind geology professor teaching in the dark – audio and tactile methods of accessing and analyzing information.
- But combatting shortcomings of e.g. learning management systems with limitations in accessible content authoring, as well as in navigational support for learners is a challenge.
Publicizing and Replicating promising practice
- How do we bridge gaps?
- There are lots of parallel activities trying to solve the same problem.
- Aligning efforts?
- Knowledge transfer funds (university/college > employment)
- Professional societies – Usability Professionals Association (UPA), International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP), Access Technology Higher Education Network
- Movie about teacher implementing UDL methods
- Popular culture – making accessibility and usability sexy and desirable as a profession.
- Making accessibility research more visible, e.g., Partnership on Employment and Accessible Technology (PEAT)
- Carnegie Mellon mobility training – public show of web developers empathizing with diverse accessibility needs.