Designing your course with Accessible Education[i] in mind can have benefits for all your students, including people from a variety of backgrounds, abilities and learning styles.
Just as there is no single way to teach, people learn in a variety of ways; using different instructional methods will help meet the needs of the greatest number of learners [ii].
When you design your course to be accessible, you anticipate that people will have diverse needs, and so ensure that everyone in your class will be able to learn successfully.
Accessible Education is the process of designing courses and developing a teaching style to meet the needs of people from a variety of backgrounds, abilities and learning styles. It takes into account a range of student characteristics, including ethnicity, race, abilities, disabilities, age, gender, language abilities and preferred learning style.
You can apply Accessible Education to all aspects of instruction — for example, course delivery methods, physical spaces, information resources, technology, personal interactions with students, evaluation and assessment[iii].
The following is a sample accessibility statement from the University of Toronto[iv]:
“The University provides academic accommodations for students with disabilities in accordance with the terms of the Ontario Human Rights Code. This occurs through a collaborative process that acknowledges a collective obligation to develop an accessible learning environment that both meets the needs of students and preserves the essential academic requirements of the University’s courses and programs.”