Tips to Make Your Course More Accessible (Teaching Tip)

Students work together during Disability Awareness Week

This week, Iowa State University has been observing Disability Awareness Week, a week devoted to educating the Cyclone community about the experience of individuals with disabilities. As an instructor, you have a direct impact on a student’s experience and ability to grow and thrive at ISU. Consider these tips to increase accessibility and improve all student learning experiences.

  • Present information in multiple formats: A disability may impact a student’s ability to access specific forms of communication. Provide course content in a variety of modalities to eliminate this barrier, and allow all students the ability to access materials through the platform most beneficial to their learning. Create captions and transcripts for videos and audio recordings, include audio descriptions of images, diagrams, or maps, or include a simulation or hands-on experience.
  • Consider how students will engage with course materials and each other: Can you identify any barriers to or within the meeting location(s) or learning environment? Have you selected learning technologies accessible to students with disabilities? Support students by being flexible and providing alternative options for engaging with course materials and each other. Allow students to participate in person or virtually. Give them the opportunity to voice questions and comments, type them within a chat, or provide anonymous feedback via Qualtrics. Encourage students to work together using alternative formats including virtual rooms, team chats, discussion boards, or online interactive apps.
  • Use assessment for learning ownership: Identify alternative mechanisms students may utilize to demonstrate acquisition of knowledge and skills indicated in your learning objectives. Provide a variety of options for students to demonstrate their skills that allow for various strengths, preferences, abilities, and student disabilities.

Contact Lori Mickle (ldmickle@iastate.edu, 515-294-5299) for more information about course accessibility or email celt-help@iastate.edu with any questions.

Above photo courtesy of Alexandra Kelly/Iowa State Daily

Full Teaching Tip

View the published CELT Teaching Tip: Resources for Success (October 28, 2021 – Constant Contact) page.

Prefer a Print Version?

To view the Teaching Tip as a printable document with web addresses, download the CELT Teaching Tip for October 28, 2021 (PDF).

Winter Course Design Institute 2022 (Teaching Tip)

Four people using laptops

Registration is open for the 2022 Winter Course Design Institute (CDI). The CDI is open to 40 faculty or staff with teaching responsibilities. All disciplines are encouraged to participate.

The CDI provides a space for faculty to build community, review effective assessment, active learning techniques, and overall course design. Attendees will have the opportunity to design or substantially revise their online or hybrid courses. The presenters for the 90-minute sessions 2022 CDI are Drs. Lesya Hassall (CELT), TJ Stewart (School of Education), Cristina Bonaccorsi (Department of Chemistry), and Monica Lamm (Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering). Topics include course design elements, building community, effective assessment, and active learning techniques.

This year, the CDI will be offered January 4-7. Each day will feature a 90-minute session discussing different components of online or hybrid learning environments. The sessions will take place from 9-10:30 a.m. each of those days and will conclude with an optional 30-minute guided discussion and individual, scheduled consultations.

Registration will be accepted until November 30 through this Qualtrics survey. Those who fully engage in the four-day CDI and complete a self-evaluation of your course (materials provided by CELT), will receive a $500 professional development stipend from the Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost.

Full Teaching Tip

View the published CELT Teaching Tip: Resources for Success (November 11, 2021 – Constant Contact) page.

Prefer a Print Version?

To view the Teaching Tip as a printable document with web addresses, download the CELT Teaching Tip for November 11, 2021 (PDF).

CyThx recognizes those who make others feel valued (Inside Iowa State)

Now in its third year, CyThx gave Iowa Staters a chance to thank the faculty, staff and graduate teaching assistants who make them feel like a valued member of the ISU community. The initiative is a partnership of the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, ISU Learning Communities, Multicultural Student Affairs, Student Government and the Graduate and Professional Student Senate. The 2020 version drew 227 submissions, honoring recipients from 102 university units — some of them multiples times. Each message was shared with the recipient and the recipient’s unit leader. Go to the CyThx website to see the recipients and the messages that submitters chose to make public.

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