Apply Universal Design to Increase Accessibility
- Institutions must plan for and consider all students when implementing accessibility technologies.
- UD strategies can help institutions build learning capabilities to make courses accessible to all students, regardless of
location or technological capabilities.
“I apply UD (universal design) strategies to make the courses accessible to people who have disabilities. Even if I don’t have any of those students in my class, I’m ready for them.”
“Many students with disabilities don’t take online courses right now,” says Sheryl Burgstahler, director of Accessible Technology Services at the University of Washington. “But they don’t always expect that those courses are going to be accessible.” Burgstahler says that this is the crux of an issue she spends a lot of her time dealing with. “I work with students
who have disabilities and help people who work with students who have disabilities. For that student population, there are
sometimes reasons they can’t be on campus on a certain day. Online courses can be empowering, but a lot of technology isn’t accessible to students who have disabilities, so it actually creates a barrier.”