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ACCESS Conference Highlight: Universal Design

One of the benefits of assembling the ACCESS Conference was being able to bring in presenters who were new to the group.  One of these guests was Dr. Don Finn , who presented about the use of universal design in online education and training. 

Universal design derives from the efforts within architectural design to eliminate barriers to access, particularly for those with physical disabilities.  (Curb cuts are one of the classic examples within the physical world.)  When applied to the learning environment, universal design becomes a framework to develop instructional practices and educational environments that are accessible to a wide variety of students with various abilities, strengths, challenges, and difficulties.  As he presented tips for applying universal design principles to online education -- from simple things like captioning online photos and video to more detailed efforts like guided notes or alternative assignments -- it was clear that such approaches do not merely benefit those with physical or learning challenges, but can help promote better learning for everyone.

In addition to the materials found on Dr. Finn's website , you can also find a brief introduction to universal design at an article he penned for Regent University's E-News publication.

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