Educational Theories,  Teaching & Learning

Introduction to Accessibility Series

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Over the next few posts, we’ll be diving into accessibility. It’s easy to hear “accessibility” and think of captions for videos, but more goes into it than just that.  

Instead of focusing on just specific practices (which are important and we’ll cover), we’ll start with an overarching principle – designing for the whole person, and not the disability (21 Kalbag). If you base your work, whether it’s designing an element or building a course, on empathy and understanding (and good pedagogy), usability and inclusion will be “baked into” the result.  

This type of designing for the whole person is an element of universal design, which had its roots in physical spaces. According to Ronald Mace who originated the term, “Universal design is design that’s usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.” He considered universal design to be the natural extension of accessible design. This type of design ensures that you are considering the situation and users broadly and not tacking on accessibility concerns at the end of the process.  

We’ll do a more in-depth look at universal design principles in a future series on this blog. In the next few posts, we’ll look at some aspects of accessibility that are easiest to incorporate or use in your courses. These are not expansive by any means – accessibility covers a lot. But we’ll start by focusing on the most practical applications. Once we’ve built a solid foundation, we’ll be doing deeper dives on topics in the future.  


Kalbag, Laura (2017). Accessibility for Everyone. A Book Apart.

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