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Make it Work


You end your first week of the new semester with a dilemma. One student in your online class shared that she has a visual impairment. You wonder what you can do so the student has what she needs to access the content and participate in the class. She has provided a letter from the disability services office regarding her accommodations, but those are for a traditional, in-person course. What can you do to accommodate this student in an online course?

Using the principals of universal design, which applies to both the physical and online classroom, instructors can make the course better for students of all abilities.

Equitable use – The design is useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities.
Flexibility in use – The design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities.
Simple and intuitive use – Use of the design is easy to understand, regardless of the user’s experience, knowledge, language skills, or current concentration level.
Perceptible information – The design communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the user’s sensory abilities.
Tolerance for error – The design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions.
Low physical effort – The design can be used efficiently and comfortably and with a minimum of fatigue.
Size and space for approach and use – Appropriate size and space is provided for approach, reach, manipulation, and use regardless of user’s body size, posture, or mobility.

From iTeachu, Principals of Universal Design