by James Fortney, Instructional Developer, Reinert Center
A recent article from ChronicleVitae discusses the benefits of focusing on accommodation when writing or revising syllabi for a new semester. David Goobler (2017) argues, “We’re wrong to think of accommodations as exceptions that detract from our normal way of doing things. Accommodating students is our normal way of doing things.” He provides many helpful resources for designing courses that are inclusive of all students, emphasizing Universal Design for Learning as “a central part of our pedagogical work.” My favorite resource is Tulane University’s Accessible Syllabus, a site dedicated to promoting student engagement and agency through accessible images, texts, rhetoric, and policies on course syllabi. Included are numerous examples of ways to re-write your syllabus in support of this pedagogical goal. Ask yourself, “How can I be more flexible to adapt my course to students with varying needs? What can be changed and what can’t?” (Goobler, 2017). Focusing on questions like these now (rather than later) can have a tremendous impact on student learning.
In addition to the resources listed above, the Reinert Center has several teaching tips on our website that give attention to accommodation and inclusive course design. Each resource offers starting points for specific practices that promote equitable learning environments for all students. If you have specific questions about any of these resources or would like to schedule a teaching consultation to discuss accommodation and course design, please contact the Reinert Center or fill out this consultation request form.
Goobler, D. (2017, August 8). Now is the time to think about accessibility. Retrieved from https://chroniclevitae.com/news/1875-now-is-the-time-to-think-about-accessibility