"Accommodating diversity benefits everyone."
This site offers practical resources to support UNB faculty in making university instruction more accessible to students of diverse abilities/disabilities, backgrounds, learning styles and interests through instructional techniques based on using a wide variety of:
- Content presentation modes
- Learning activities to engage students with the course content
- Assessment options for students to demonstrate what they know and can do
This accessible learning initiative has been undertaken to help implement the 2010 UNB Strategic Plan goals of increasing access to education for under-represented groups and providing a positive learning environment in which all are respected as individuals. By providing variety in presentation modes, learning activities, and assessment options, we accommodate diversity by using methods that benefit all students while maintaining academic rigour. These instructional techniques are part of what is known as Universal Design for Learning (UDL).Cartoon Credit: Click Media
This page is co-sponsored by the Student Accessibility Centre (SAC) and the Centre for Enhanced Teaching and Learning (CETL). A UNB Accessible Learning Committee has been set up to provide resources and individual or group coaching in using accessible learning techniques. The committee has as members several faculty members with experience using such techniques.
Bringing it home:
Out of 100 students, between 3 and 4 will have a diagnosed disability. You are likely to have 1 student with ADHD, 1 with mental health issues (anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, depression, mood disorder, OCD, panic attacks, post-traumatic stress), and 1 with a learning disability. A fourth is likely to have either a chronic health issue, brain injury, Asperger’s Syndrome, or physical, hearing or visual limitation. These are the students who have documented disabilities and have registered with the UNBF Student Accessibility Centre - the actual incidence of many of these disabilities is likely much higher. And of course the entire student body is made up of a wide diversity of backgrounds, learning styles, and abilities.
Click here to view the video below in a larger size with the button functionality intact.
The most frequently occurring disabilities are invisible.
Number and type of disability registered at SAC by gender, 2011-2012:
It will take us some time (this was posted in August 2012) to create our own online resources, but the following helpful resources have been created by other institutions and are being linked to with permission.
- Online Course/Resource Repository on Supporting Students with Disabilities
- New Brunswick Human Rights Commission guidelines on accommodating students with disabilities
- An excellent video overview of the “accessible learning” concept from Colorado State University
- UDL On Campus: a Guide for Universal Design for Learning in Higher Education
- UNB's Accessible Learning "How do YOU teach?” checklist
- Example of How do YOU Teach's item "activate prior learning"
- Colorado State Universal Design for Learning Quick Tips
- Assistive Technologies Videos
- UDL Guidelines 2.0 (National Center on Universal Design for Learning)
- EnACT Post Secondary Examples (Creative Commons License, EnACT PTD)
- Reaching and Teaching Students with Disabilities videos
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- What Brain Research Tells Us About Learner Differences
- Think Variability, not Disability
- Maybe it's the curriculum, not the student, who is "disabled"
- How to start making the curriculum less "disabled"
- Using UDL to "disable" the curriculum
- The Future is in the Margins: The Role of Technology and Disability in Educational Reform
- Using technology to "fix" the curriculum rather than "fix" the student
- Using Assistive Technology to benefit everyone
- Detailed example of implementing UDL principles in a course without using technology
- Example of Multiple Means of Action and Expression (video)
- Video: Understanding Asperger Syndrome: A Professor's Guide
- Video: Trends & Supports for Students Transitioning into Post-Secondary Education, Susan Alcorn MacKay, BEd and Laura Brawn, MA, from Autism Canada
- University Affairs article: Confronting Asperger's in the Classroom
For information, advice or assistance with respect to Accessible Learning, please contact Jody Gorham, Director of Student Accessibility Center or Bev Bramble, Instructional Designer, Teaching and Learning Services.
• CAST: Transforming Education Through Universal Design for Learning
• EnACT: Ensuring Access through Collaboration and Technology: Partnerships, Technology and Education
• National Center on Universal Design for Learning