Access and Inclusion
Teaching and Learning Services provides support for faculty who wish to foster access and inclusivity in their classrooms. Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is helpful framework for many of these activities. UDL combines what we know about how learning works with a commitment to providing course materials that are engaging and accessible to produce a learning experience that benefits all students, across disciplinary boundaries. David Rose at the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) in Boston first conceived of UDL, and called for instructors to provide
- multiple means of representation (how can you provide different avenues into course content?)
- multiple means of action and expression (how can you help students develop metacognitive skills such as self-monitoring?)
- multiple means of engagement (how might you provide students with a variety of assignment types and the ability to choose?). [Fig. 1. Universal Design for Learning Guidelines from CAST]
For more information on Universal Design for Learning, read "What Is Universal Design for Learning?"
Access and Inclusion Project
The Access and Inclusion Project (newly funded by NSF and housed within NTID) incorporates a collaborative role between a pair of faculty (one DHH, one hearing) experienced in adapting their pedagogy to respond to diverse classroom communication needs when DHH students are mainstreamed in college classrooms. Faculty participants interested in exploring pedagogical innovation will also partner with a DHH student mentor. Using a faculty learning community (FLC) model, facilitators, participants, and student mentors will explore concepts of Universal Design for Learning, propose an accessibility strategy to try in an experimental classroom, and revise the strategy before implementing it in their course. Student mentors will be part of the process from start to finish, observing faculty participant classrooms, giving feedback on what works well in the classroom, and brainstorming potential strategies to improve access and inclusion, and helping test and implement the strategies.
An integral part of this project is the Accessibility Tool Kit (ATK). The ATK was created by the staff of Teaching and Learning Services in the Innovative Learning Institute at RIT and features resources and materials that are aligned with Universal Design for Learning. Participants in the faculty learning community use these resources to design courses and course materials that take into account the full range of variability of learners in our classrooms.
The first section of this tool kit provides checklists, templates, and other resources for ensuring that course materials are accessible to most types of disability.
The second section of the tool kit provides resources on Universal Design for Learning.
The third section of the tool kit provides information on student motivation.
The fourth section of the tool kit provides information on how to introduce gradual change in your class, and how to measure whether that change is effective.
The fifth section of the tool kit contains case studies from the first generation of ATK instructors.
The sixth section gathers materials and strategies that have been developed at NTID and RIT and elsewhere.
Collaborative Research: Accessible STEM Instruction with Deaf Students: Supporting Faculty in Pedagogical Exploration and Innovation
Award Number:1625581; Principal Investigator: Sara Schley; Co-Principal Investigator: Jessica Cuculick; Organization: Rochester Institute of Tech; NSF Organization: DUE Start Date:09/01/2016; Award Amount: $443,200.00
Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.