The creators of the accessible syllabus project note that a focus on access “promotes student engagement and agency.” Macalester’s Disability Services website is an excellent source of resources and strategies for accommodating disability and making your courses accessible to all students.

If you’re looking for a perspective about disability, embodiment, and pedagogy from a faculty member whose “body has shifted in and out of disability,” read Arley Cruthers’ An Incomplete History of My Teaching Body. Other highly recommended readings include:

In addition, as you plan your classes, consider the following questions/suggestions that emerge from Universal Design for Learning* principles:

  • What do you want to assess with an assignment? Is the assignment you’ve created actually assessing that, or are you inadvertently assessing something else? What do you want to know from students? Do your strategies for assessing knowledge align with what you want to know?
  • Consider adding one more way to deliver information and/or to assess knowledge (e.g., assign texts that are also available as audiobooks; offer more than one format in which a student can submit a final assignment [e.g., as a written report or a video])
  • Try crowd-sourced notetaking:

*Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a research-based set of principles to guide the design of learning environments that are accessible and effective for all; its goal is to create an inclusive and accessible learning experience for students. UDL builds flexibility into the educational context to accommodate different types of learners, and it is built on the assumption that any barrier to learning lies in the design of the environment and not the learner. Want more resources? Check out these UDL Guidelines and the ThinkUDL podcast