Accessible Learning and Inclusive Design Group


This group tackled the challenges of creating an inclusive classroom through accessible learning design principles and practices. Throughout the year five faculty members tried new techniques, experimented with different strategies and incorporated a variety of accessible learning design features into their teaching and learning practices.

The following video is a movie created from a presentation following a Pecha Kucha format (20 seconds per slide X 20 slides). However, the format is altered a bit to include 25 slides (5 slides per each of the 5 faculty members). In March, 2016 this was given as a presentation to VIU faculty followed by participants sharing responses to the last question and then a 'market-style' 5 table discussion environment. The group's intent was to 'video capture' their narrated slides and create a short video for other faculty to hear of their successes with making learning more accessible.

Video Summary of Learning

Rita Gower | Full Story

Faculty of Trades and Applied Technologies (Culinary)

Question Explored: How could I leverage diversity to ensure an inclusive learning experience for every student?

Key Points

  • All course materials available in multiple formats (print and digital)Image        of Rita's question from PowerPoint
  • Prior to showing PowerPoint - all students received a handout to follow along
  • Paused presentation at mid and end point to ask and review questions
  • Gave homework quizzes based on handout to encourage interaction with material
  • Used daily structured check-ins and Indigenous-style talking circle to create strong team
  • Paired up students 
  • Built in learner choice

Lisa Lewis | Full Story

Faculty of Academic and Career Preparation (Adult Basic Education)

Question Explored: How could I provide more support for Aboriginal students in science class?

Key Points

  • Attended an Indigenous Learning Circle to learn moreImage        of Lisa's question from PowerPoint
  • Built community in class
  • Incorporated stories as a way to connect - storytelling, using cartoon story book etc.
  • Protocol - ackknowledgement for land we are on
  • Purposeful creation of groups for whole semester 
  • Commuication of groups continued outside of class
  • Students felt supported by each other, stronger community built, connections created

Katharine Rollwagen | Full Story

Faculty of Arts and Humanities (History)

Question Explored: How could I give students more* access to course content (*more options, *more often, * more support)

Key Points

  • Wanted to give students more access to course content (more options, more support, but more frequent engagement)Image        of Katharine's question from PowerPoint
  • Put more course content online in VIULearn (all course handouts, assignment instructions, links mentioned in class, feedback are online)
  • Textbook is online too! - Open-access from BC Open Textbook Project (students can read online, download it or print it)
  • Structured course so students engaged repeatedly with the content (see slides in class, again online)
  • See key terms posted online, use questions to guide reading, take up answers in class
  • Progressive assignments have offered students more constructive support and feedback
  • Research proposals and essay outlines encourage them to manage time, see me earlier
  • By implementing changes - like building scaffolding to help students learn from one stept to the next

Nancy Pagé | Full Story

Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Graphic Design)

Question Explored: How could I connect students' personal understand of theory into a more engaging classroom experience?

Key Points

  • Wanted to make content (in that class that covers estimages, invoices and contracts) more engagingImage        of Nancy's question from PowerPoint
  • Used variations of flipped classroom approach but students didn't always do readings
  • Applied TBL (Team-Based Learning) to class that relies on decision-driven activities to engage participation
  • Students are first quizzed independently on readings, then they do quiz again as a team using a scratch card to reveal grades
  • See their voice plays a role in team quizzes, theory goes into practice, teams work out real-world problems
  • Students engaged more with content than before - because they were commited to their teams
  • Quieter students are speaking out more often; students more accountable for learning

Alison Taplay | Full Story

Faculty of Health and Human Services (Disability Studies)

Question Explored: How could I create space online and offline that was more inclusive and respectful of Aboriginal culture and more responsive to diverse learning needs?

Key Points

  • Recorded messages from Elders and embedded them into the VIULearn classroomImage of Alison's question from PowerPoint
  • Added culturally relevant content to course (e.g., Aboriginal approaches to behaviour and Aboriginal perspectives on human development)
  • Brought blanket exercise to classroom
  • Less is more and often going slower and deeper can get you there faster
  • Offered assignment choices to address wide range of learner needs (universal design strategy)
  • Created video lectures to replace PowerPoint slides
  • Ensured all directions and summaries in VIULearn were in plain, easy-to-understand language

Graphic Organizer for UDL

Universal Design for Learning Guidelines: One Page Organizer

Universal Design Guidelines Screenshot

Universal Design for Learning in Post-Secondary Education

Universal Design For Learning (UDL) is an educational framework that guides the design of learning goals, materials, methods and assessments as well as the policies surrounding these curricular elements with the diversity of learners in mind. See UDL on Campus: Universal Design for Learning in Higher Education for more details: Website

UDL is an educational approach based on the learning sciences with three primary principles

  1. multiple means of representation of information
  2. multiple means of student action and expression
  3. multiple means of student engagement