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Accessibility and Universal Design for Learning at Boise State

A hand placed over a refreshable Braille display, which is being used with a laptop.

Students, faculty, and the public use all kinds of assistive technologies. It’s best practice to plan and design for these users rather than accommodate them after you have finished designing your course. Image by Sebastien.delorme and used under a Creative Commons license.

In Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, Steve Krug notes that making digital information accessible to everyone is “not just the right thing to do; it’s profoundly the right thing to do.”

Why?

“Because,” Krug says, “the one argument for accessibility that doesn’t get made nearly often enough is how extraordinarily better it makes some people’s lives. How many opportunities do we have to dramatically improve people’s lives just by doing our job a little better?”

Developed and maintained by Instructional Design and Educational Assessment (IDEA Shop), this site is intended to help everyone at Boise State do their jobs a little better, in order to dramatically improve the lives of others. It is part of the IDEA Shop’s contribution to a campus-wide initiative to ensure that education is accessible to everyone and that digital teaching materials are usable by the largest number of people possible, under the widest variety of circumstances possible.

The site provides faculty, staff, and students with information and other resources about electronic accessibility and the principles of universal design for learning, focusing on the influence of both on teaching and learning. For faculty, the site provides tips, techniques, and strategies for incorporating accessibility and universal design into  teaching and learning, along with such resources as whitepapers, webinars, checklists, and guidelines. In addition, faculty can use the site to schedule consultations with instructional design consultants at the IDEA Shop to discuss the pedagogical aspects of accessibility and universal design for learning. Students will find here practical, current answers to questions about such matters as accommodation of students with disabilities, assistive technology, and campus resources.

This site has been built with two guiding ideas in mind:

  • Accessibility is a civil right.
  • Everyone—including those with disabilities and those without—can benefit from accessible teaching materials based on the principles of Universal Design for Learning.

Learn how Universal Design for Learning can help diverse learners in higher education settings. (Video produced by UDL on Campus by CAST and used here under a Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 International License.)

Please have a look around the site and let us know what you think. You can use this feedback form to share with us your comments and suggestions, or e-mail the site manager, Kevin Wilson, IDEA Shop Instructional Design Consultant (kwilson@boisestate.edu).