As I’m planning my class, is there anything I can do to make my class more accessible so students require fewer accommodations to participate in my class?

We’re so glad you asked! The more accessible your class is for students with disabilities, the fewer accommodations students will require to participate in your class. As an additional benefit, when your class is more accessible for students with disabilities, it will be more accessible for students without disabilities, too!

The paradigm of Universal Design recognizes that disability is just one facet of an individual’s identity and that disability is neither negative nor an inherent barrier to access. Universal Design asks us to consider for whom an environment, task, item, or program has been designed, and for whom the current or proposed design creates a barrier to access. We are then asked to consider the modifications to the environment, task, item, or program that could be implemented to remove the identified barriers so all who would like to participate can do so.

Shaw, Scott, and McGuire’s 2001 article Principles of Universal Design for Instruction is a good introduction to the nine principles of Universal Design and how they can be applied to increasing the accessibility of your classes and assignments. Lead Disability Specialist, Carolyn Swalina, is available to consult with faculty who would like to discuss increasing the accessibility of their courses and assignments. Faculty can contact Carolyn to request an individual consultation at

Additional infomation on teaching and inclusive design can be found here: Teaching and Inclusive Design