Last week, as an add-on lunch event at the Making Learning Accessible conference, my FLC did a brown bag presentation on accessibility, Universal Design for Learning (UDL), and our D2L training course for faculty. We easily had 100 people attend, which was amazing, and we were able to share our message with a number of MSU faculty that we had yet to reach. Additionally, since we piggy-backed on the conference, we had a number of non-MSU folks in the audience as well, and we received really great feedback and discussion points from both populations of attendees.
Our focus on this presentation was to talk about how to promote a culture shift from the negative view of accessibility: “unfunded mandate”, fear of litigation, worry of overwork, to that of a more positive view that is encompassed by UDL. We discussed how by implementing UDL practices into a course, faculty not only help those students with documented accessibility needs but also provide additional learning opportunities for all students. Think of the student who reads closed captioning while working out or a student that uses a transcript since English is a second language or any of the students out there with undocumented accessibility needs. By promoting a culture shift, faculty can come to see that small changes in the classroom can have big impacts on a wide-range of students.