The Accessible Virtual Community

Schools and Education

Illustration of school buildings represents Education section of the Virtual Community.

Universal Design for Education (UDE) and Universal Design for Learning (UDL) are two commonly used titles that are both concerned with increasing accessibility within the realm of education. UDE has a broader scope, such as campus life, which includes much more than the instruction and learning. Educational institutions from nursery school to graduate school have commonalities in terms of need for policies, philosophies, initiatives, best practices etc. Check out this section of the website for strategies and research related to the accessibility of schools and education. For more resources related specifically to the realm of Universal Design in Higher Education, please visit the ACCESS-ed website or visit our Search Page.

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Student Activity Accessibility Checklist

This website features a sample checklist that contains activities frequently encountered by students attending college. Specifically, the checklist highlights activities that may present access problems or barriers. One can use the checklist to anticipate campus barriers to access and to determine where assistance or accommodations may be needed. A student can choose to complete the entire checklist, or focus on specific categories that are immediately relevant. (To see the full PDF version, click on the link below.)

Roger O. Smith, Jill Warnke and Dave Edyburn, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee & Daryl Mellard, Noelle Kurth and Gwen Berry, University of Kansas CRL, D

Student Activity Accessibility Checklist  (PDF File)

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Top 10 Tips for UD in the Classroom

This posterette provides a summary of the "basics" to introduce Universal Design into your classroom. Examples are optimum classroom environment and verbally describing images.

R2D2 Center at UW-Milwaukee

Top 10 Tips for UD in the Classroom  (PDF File)

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A Guidebook for Visually Impaired Students

This resource provides a guidebook for visually impaired students. It is a comprehensive resource where students can find scholarships and information about assistive technology. Also included is an interview with a graduate student who is visually impaired, discussing the challenges and sharing support and advice for future and current students.

Community for Accredited Online Schools

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Access Elearning Tutorial: Overview

This website contains a tutorial comprised of 10 modules that offer information, instructional techniques, and practice labs to make distance education accessible. Tutorials are in-depth and require 1 to 6 hours depending on topic. This information is from Georgia Tech Research on Accessible Distance Education.

CATEA

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Accessibility in the Classroom

This website provides link for advice on how to make the classroom more accessible using Microsoft and has a guide to download.

Microsoft

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Accessible Poster Presentations

This website contains information on how to create an accessible poster from the American Public Health Association (APHA). It is one if APHA's goals to make meetings accessible to the widest range of people possible. This website gives bullet-points in several categories to make your poster more accessible.

American Public Health Association (APHA)

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Accessible Presentations

This website provides information and links regarding making presentations more accessible and how to design for inclusion.

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ADA Accessible Playground Guidelines

This YouTube video describes the ADA guidelines for building an accessible playground.

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ADA Requirements: Service Animals

This website has updated ADA guidelines, regulations, and rights for people with service animals.

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Association on Higher Education & Disability (AHEAD)

AHEAD is a professional membership organization for individuals involved in the development of policy and in the provision of quality services to meet the needs of persons with disabilities, involved in all areas of higher education.

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Best Practices through UDL

This 13 minute video informs regarding Universal Design for Learning (UDL). "Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a set of principles and techniques for creating inclusive classroom instruction and accessible course materials." This web page also contains several UDL teaching resources and technical modules.

The ACCESS Project - Colorado State University

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Captioning Tipsheet

This PDF version Captioning Tipsheet from PEPNet offers an overview of all different types of captioning. A section on how to make video materials available for classroom use is included, with a discussion and facts about procedures and funding.

PEPNet 2

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CAST - About Universal Design for Learning

CAST is a multifaceted organization with a singular ambition: Bust the barriers to learning that millions of people experience every day. They do this by helping educators and organizations apply insights from the learning sciences and leading-edge practices to educational design and implementation.

Center for Applied Special Technology

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CAST Learning Tools

This website provides links to free learning tools for students, teachers and parents.

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Center for Implementing Technology in Education (CITEd)  (Research based)

The CITEd website identifies evidence-based practices for integrating instructional technology to support the achievement of all students. Registering is free and you'll be able to bookmark and tag resources, build and distribute custom toolkits, comment on resources and other materials, and receive CITEd updates.

CITEd

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Checklist for Test Administrators

This website contains guidelines that are applicable to any accommodative testing. Per the authors, "The administration of any test that has been reproduced in Braille, large print, or audio format requires special attention by the test administrator or test proctor."

American Foundation for the Blind

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Class Act: Access for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Students

This is a very detailed website geared towards all aspects of the educational process for deaf & hard-of-hearing students. This website makes sure students receive quality higher education.

National Technical Institute for the Deaf, Rochester Institute of Technology

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Description Key for Educational Media

Description is the verbal depiction of key visual elements in media and live productions. Also known as “audio description” or “video description,” the description of media involves the interspersion of these depictions with the program’s original audio. "Description is the key to opening a world of information for persons with a vision loss, literacy needs, or loss of cognitive abilities. While description was developed for people who are blind or visually impaired, millions of others may also benefit from description’s concise, objective translation of media’s key visual components.

These guidelines are a key for vendors and cover a range of topics from preparing to describe to determining both what information needs to be described and how to describe it. The information is also applicable to vendors and other businesses [PDF] that provide description for broadcast television and other media. Some background information and rationale are included for the novice, as well as an evolving list of description resources to help improve the quality and efficiency of one’s description."

This web page includes a more detailed definition, philosophy and more.

Described and Captioned Media Program, in conjunction with The National Association for the Deaf and the American asociation for the Blind

Captioning Key for Educational Media: Guidelines and Preferred T  (PDF File)

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Developing Accessible Online Teaching

This website provides information and technology for developing accessible online teaching. This website is provided by Center for Universal Design, N.C. State University; IDEA Center, University at Buffalo; Global Universal Design Educator's Network.

Universal Design Education Online

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Distance Education: Access Guidelines for Students with Disabilities

This PDF describes accessibility standards and issues related to distance education.

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Education - No One Size Fits All

From "Chemical and Engineering News", October 24, 2005, discusses UD in educations, emphasis on math and science. Has a link to the 75 page pdf version of "Teaching Chemistry to Students with Disabilities: A Manual for High Schools, Colleges, and Graduate Programs" 4th Edition. Dorothy L. Miner, Ron Nieman, Anne B. Swanson, and Michael Woods, Editors

American Chemical Society Committee on Chemists with Disabilities

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Effective Practices for Description of Science Content within Digital Talking Book Project

"This project is researching and documenting effective practices for providing meaningful descriptions of science content within Digital Talking Books that serve post-secondary students, professionals and scientists who have visual impairments or blindness. A particular focus is ways to describe non-text content, such as equations, charts, and diagrams." [Annotation from CATEA resource page]

National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM)

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GRADE Project

"GRADE's mission is to improve the accessiblity of distance education through for students with disabilities throughout the nation by providing technical assistance, training and research. This website includes a tutorial, course design models, fact sheets, guidelines, and more.

Center for Assistive Technology and Environmental Access (CATEA)

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Guidelines for Creating Accessible Printed Posters

This paper which can be downloaded in PDF format has information on making printed posters. The paper covers using accessible text, using images, poster size and spacing, poster organization, and providing multiple formats.

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History & Benefits of Universal Design

This site addresses the history of universal design and the foundations on which it is based. It then lists a general overview of some of the benefits of universal design in education and examples of how it is successfully used. The website also provides a brief resource list on where to look for more information.

The American Institute for Research

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IP TV, Remote Control, Set­Top Box, Apps and Programming Guide Accessibility  (Research based)

This PDF discusses the accessibility of IP TV, Remote Control, Set­Top Box, Apps and Programming Guide.

CSUN San Diego, CA

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Math Solutions for the Accessibility Community

This webpage, developed by the National Science Foundation and Design Science, is a company working with the accessibility community to make math fully accessible. They have compiled ten of the most frequently asked questions. A brief answer is provided, as well as links to comprehensive resources for those who would like to explore additional information.

Design Science

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National Center on Accessible Educational Materials

National Center on Accessible Educational Materials - This website has information and resources on designing or converting education materials in a way that makes them usable across the widest range of student variability regardless of format (print, digital, graphical, audio, video).

National Center on Accessible Educational Materials

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National Center on Disability and Access to Education

"The National Center on Disability and Access to Education (NCDAE) monitors and promotes electronically-mediated distance education policies and practices that enhance the lives of people with disabilities and their families." Information regarding policies and leadership, tools and technology, community and partnership, and projects and activities are provided on this website.

Utah State University Center for Persons with Disabilities

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National Center on Universal Design for Learning

This website contains information about universal design for learning, including advocacy, implementation, research, and how to connect with others.

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On-Line Learning Accessibility

This website provides a checklist and information on making web based courses and materials accessible for people with disabilities.

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PEPNet 2 Web site

PEPNet 2 provides resources and expertise that enhance educational opportunities for people who are deaf or hard of hearing--including those with co-occurring disabilities. PEPNet offers consultation, training, professional development, cutting edge technical assistance and other resources to educational institutions. Pn2 is a national collaboration of professionals with expertise in a broad array of content areas and a variety of environments, including research, technology, personnel development, media production, and technical assistance.

U.S. Department of Education and Office of Special Education Programs

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Real Connections: Making Distance Learning Accessible to Everyone

"This video presentation provides guidelines for designing Internet-based distance learning courses to fully include all students and instructors, including those with disabilities." 11:55 minutes.

University of Washington, DO-IT

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Rubric for Evaluating Universal Design of Syllabus

This printable rubric provides a guide to evaluate a syllabus based on different elements using universal design components.

EnACT, California State University

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SciTrain-Science and Math for All

While the SciTrain project is designed for high school teachers, the accommodations link here discusses barriers that occur irrespective of grade level. This website also includes the success stories of teachers and students with disabilities.

Center for Assistive Technology and Environmental Access (CATEA)

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Ten Simple Steps Toward Universal Design of Online Courses

This website describes how implementing the principles of universal design in online learning means anticipating the diversity of students that may enroll in your course and planning accordingly. These ten key elements will greatly enhance the accessibility and usability of your course for students with and without disabilities.

Project PACE, University of Arkansas

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Test Access: Making Tests Accessible for Students with Visual Impairments

This document is provided as a guide for making tests accessible in tactile, large print, and audio formats. "The American Printing House for the Blind (APH)" is committed to ensuring that educational materials are accessible to students with visual impairments. It is anticipated that this guide will be used as a tool for implementing appropriate guidelines as test publishers, test developers, test editors, and state assessment personnel are developing and adapting tests and assessments."

Allman, C.B.

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Test Taking

This web page addresses accommodation for test taking. Accomodations are outlined by disability. The bottom of the page provides a brief four question test of your understanding of the topic.

DO-IT, University of Washington

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The PALM Initiative - Purchase Accessible Learning Materials

"As classrooms start to incorporate more digital technology, it becomes increasingly important that materials used in the classroom are designed to be useable by all students from the start. This requires adjustments in the way materials are purchased, and that, in turn, will drive the availability of more flexible and accessible learning materials in the marketplace." The PALM Initiative (Purchase Accessible Learning Materials) offers a Tool Kit and other valuable resources that identify the problem and offer suggestions for impacting publishers regarding accessibility of instructional media.

National Center on Accessible Educational Materials (AEM Center)

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Tips for Communicating with People who are Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing

A tip sheet for communicating with individuals who are deaf and hard-of-hearing.

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Tips on Teaching Math & Science

This webpage provides good suggestions for making math and science accessible for all students.

University of Washington

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UDI Resource Publications

The Faculty Ware website features a list of UDI (universal design of instruction) resources, a pdf version is also available for download.

Faculty Ware

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UDL "Quick Tips"

This 3-page PDF document provides UDL "Quick Tips" based on the Center for Applied Technology's (CAST) Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Guidelines. Objectives and Benchmarks, Instructional Materials, Teaching Methods and Assessment Methods are tied in with an educational approach using CASTs three primary principles of UDL:Representation, Engagement and Expression.

The ACCESS Project, Colorado State University

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Universal Design and Its Applications in Educational Environments - Article

Universal Design and Its Applications in Educational Environments is an article that discusses universal design adaptations that can be made to increase education access. It also examines several critical areas of the universal design concept. Available in PDF format.

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Universal Design Education

"This web site supports the teaching and study of universal design. It also provides a place where educators can interact with each other. Our goal is to develop a community of learners who exchange information for the benefit of all."

Center for Universal Design, N.C. State University; IDEA Center, University at Buffalo

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Universal Design for Learning Project-Learning Assessment System

A website developed at Renton Community College that delineates the Universal Design for Learning Project (funded by the Department of Education) they developed. Good information on UDL teaching and AT (specifically, devices available on their campuses). We have sourced specific pages by topics in our "Tools & Products" section.

Renton Community College

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Universal Design for Learning: Theory & Practice -Book

The book Universal Design for Learning: Theory & Practice on the CAST Web site supports educators in learning about and practicing Universal Design for Learning (UDL)." The website has a K-12 emphasis. A free web edition is available.

CAST - Universal Design for Learning: Theory & Practice

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Universal Design in Education - Applying the Seven Principles

The seven principles of product and environmental universal design (from The Center for Universal Design, North Carolina State University) are applied to education on this printable "CATS Fact Sheet". Please note that wording is adjusted to the education realm.

"In these terms, universal design means the development of curriculum, instructional materials and instruction to be accessible to and useable by students with different backgrounds and abilities. The key aspect of a universally designed curriculum is its in-built flexibility."

CATS (Creating Accessible Teaching & Support) is hosted by the University of Tasmania, and was funded by the Australian Government, Department of Education, Employment, & Workplace Relations and the Australian Learning and Teaching Council.

Australian Government, Department of Education, Employment, & Workplace Relations and the Australian Learning and Teaching Council

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Universal Design in Education: An Online Tutorial

This web page poses questions that link to a separate web page with the answers and more information about universal design in education or aspects related to education like Student Services, Information Technology, Distance Learning, K-12, Post-secondary, Class Projects, Professional Organizations, Projects, and Conference Exhibits and Presentations.

The Center for Universal Design at The University of Washington

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Universal Design of Computer Labs

Detailed checklists for planning and developing universally designed computer laboratories.

Burgstahler, S. DO-IT, University of Washington

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Universal Design of Distance Learning

Provides checklists to assess the level of UD in distance learning for students, designers, faculty, and distance learning program evaluators.

Burgstahler, S. University of Washington, DO-IT

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Universal Design of Instruction: Definition, Principles, and Examples

Details the historical root of UDL by detailing the early work of the Center for UDL at North Carolina State University and CAST. This website provides Universal Design Instruction principles, guidelines, and examples.

University of Washington DO-IT

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Universal Instructional Design in Higher Education: An Approach for Inclusion Article  (Research based)

Universal Instructional Design in Higher Education: An Approach for Inclusion is an article that examines how universities can universally design environments so that students with disabilities don't have to rely on secondary resources. Available in PDF form.

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Using Universal Design for Learning: Successful Transition Models for Educators Working with Youth with Learning Disabilities

This InfoBrief identifies and explains selected classroom-based strategies within the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) model.

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White Paper on Web Accessibility in Higher Education

The goal of this FREE resource is provide information on how to make websites for higher education accessible. The white paper discusses how to make the process of captioning, transcription, and subtitling as simple and streamlined as possible.

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Universal design requires thinking about all users.

Valerie Fletcher
Executive Director of Adaptive Environments.