Open Educational Practices/Accessibility and UDL

This lesson introduces content accessibility and Universal Design for Learning concepts.

Objectives and Skills


Objectives and skills for this lesson include:

  • Understand content accessibility
  • Describe Universal Design for Learning (UDL)
  • Apply accessibility to open content
  • Revise content based on accessibility and UDL best practices


  1. Wikipedia: Web accessibility
  2. Wikipedia: Universal Design for Learning
  3. BC Open Textbooks: Accessibility Toolkit
  4. Universal Design in Higher Education: Promising Practices


  1. YouTube: Accessibility 1
  2. YouTube: Keeping Web Accessibility in Mind
  3. YouTube: Inclusive Design with Jess Mitchell
  4. YouTube: What is Universal Design for Learning (UDL)?
  5. OCALI: Rubrics in UDL to Support Learners
  6. YouTube: Web Accessibility

Accessibility Tools

  1. W3C: Web Accessibility Evaluation Tools List
  2. WebAIM: WAVE
  3. Microsoft: Use the Microsoft Office Accessibility Checker to find accessibility issues
  4. Adobe: Create and verify PDF accessibility (Acrobat Pro)
  5. Google Docs: Making your document or presentation more accessible

UDL Rubrics


There are nine guidelines to aid in UDL. Guidelines 1-3 provide means of representation. Guidelines 4-6 provide means of Action & Expression. Guidelines 7-9 provide means of Engagement. Their use can aid educators in creating rubrics and assessment criteria in a learning environment. [1]

  1. Perception
  2. Language & Symbols
  3. Comprehension
  4. Physical Action
  5. Expression & Communication
  6. Executive Functions
  7. Recruiting Interest
  8. Sustaining Effort & Persistence
  9. Self Regulation


  1. Revise content based on accessibility and UDL best practices.
    • Access the Piazza web service at Piazza: Open Educational Practices to join the course discussion forums and review existing posts.
    • Review content created in a previous lesson from an accessibility and UDL perspective using various tools and rubrics. Make appropriate revisions to the content.
    • Work in teams to prepare a summary of suggestions others should follow in developing accessible and approachable content. Publish the summary on the course wiki.
  2. Seek feedback on open content.
    • Access the Piazza web service to join the course discussion forums. Share your summary with the designated audience and seek feedback on your efforts. This may be within your own institution or with others in your discipline discussion group. Create a new post or respond to existing posts to address one or more of the following questions:
      • What did your team recognize regarding accessibility and UDL that may have been overlooked in initial content development?
      • What best practices do you recommend following to develop accessible and approachable content in the future?
      • How did team members communicate with each other during the effort? What roles did each person adopt?
      • What concerns do you have in creating assignments that will be accessible and approachable for your students? How might these concerns be addressed?
  3. Edit this page.
    • Review Wikiversity:Be bold. Wikis only work if people are bold.
    • Review your notes of new concepts or key terms from this lesson and compare them to the Lesson Summary and Key Terms listed below.
    • Be bold by improving this course wiki page using the Edit tab. For the Lesson Summary and Key Terms, include references for any content you add. If the Lesson Summary and Key Terms sections seem complete to you, review the Readings and Multimedia links for opportunities for improvement. But note, improving a wiki does not always mean adding to the wiki. Consider how much content you, yourself, are willing to view. Add, edit, update, delete, replace with links to better resources, etc. Your guide should always be to leave the wiki better than you found it.
  4. Reflect on open educational practices.
    • Reflect on what you learned in this introduction to accessibility and UDL. What surprised you? What have you learned so far that you can apply to your own learning environment(s)? Post your reflection in the Piazza discussion forum, sharing it with either the entire class or one or more of the available discussion groups.
    • Review other reflection posts and respond to at least two that interest you. Post any questions you have that you would like others to address.

Lesson Summary


Additional items will be contributed by course participants

  • Web accessibility is the inclusive practice of ensuring there are no barriers that prevent interaction with, or access to, websites on the World Wide Web by people with disabilities. When sites are correctly designed, developed and edited, generally all users have equal access to information and functionality.[2]
  • One approach to making web content more accessible is to cite existing civil rights legislation to protect web accessibility for those with disabilities. [3]
  • Universal Design for Learning is an educational framework that guides the development of flexible learning environments that can accommodate individual learning differences through multiple means of representation, expression, and engagement.[4]
    • Engagement > The WHY of Learning > Provide multiple and flexible means of engagement to tap into diverse learners’ interests, challenge them appropriately, and motivate them to learn: Choice, tiered assignments.
    • Expression > The HOW of Learning > Provide multiple and flexible means of expression to provide diverse students with alternatives for demonstrating what they have learned: Multimedia projects, group presentations, journal entries, PBL.
    • Representation > The WHAT of Learning > Provide multiple and flexible methods of presentation to give students with diverse learning styles various ways of acquiring information and knowledge: Video, audio, memes, graphic organizers.
  • Universal Design for Learning is intended to increase access to learning by reducing physical, cognitive, intellectual, and organizational barriers to learning, as well as other obstacles. UDL principles also lend themselves to implementing inclusionary practices in the classroom.[5]
  • UDL takes into account how the brain functions. It suggests different approaches for teaching information (what), for teaching skills and strategies (how),and for teaching students to love learning (why).[6]

Key Terms


Additional items will be contributed by course participants

The Americans with Disabilities Act (the ADA) is a civil rights law that was passed by the United States Congress in 1990. It is designed to disallow discrimination on the basis of a disability and requires that employers/public entities provide accessibility accommodations. [7]
alt attribute
alt attribute is used by "screen reader" software so that a person who is listening to the content of a webpage can interact with this element.[8]
W3C or World Wide Web Consortium: engages in education and outreach, develops software and serves as an open forum for discussion about the Web.[9]
WCAG or Web Content Accessibility Guidelines developed by the W3C in December of 2008 include 61 recommendations which are referred to as guidelines.

See Also



  1. "UDL: The UDL Guidelines". Retrieved 2019-07-09.
  2. Wikipedia: Web accessibility
  3. "Web accessibility". Wikipedia. 2019-07-08. 
  4. Wikipedia: Universal Design for Learning
  5. Wikipedia: Universal Design for Learning
  7. Wikipedia: Americans with Disabilities
  8. Wikipedia: alt attribute
  9. Wikipedia: World Wide Web Consortium