Many recent principles for designing instruction and instructional environments to address student diversity have been based on the principles of Universal Design (UD). UD represents a cohesive approach to promoting inclusion, one that considers, on an ongoing basis, how curriculum, instruction, and assessment can be designed to meet the learning needs of the greatest number of students without compromising academic rigor. The concept of universal design offers a more comprehensive approach to good teaching.
From a neurological standpoint, people learn in distinct ways regardless of their backgrounds. People recognize, strategize, and affectively process information using many different strategies, and no two people have the same strengths and weaknesses in their learning styles. In short, people do not have one general learning aptitude, but many learning abilities; thus, a disability or challenge in one area may be compensated for by extraordinary abilities in another.
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is an instructional method that can address the diverse learning needs in today’s classroom. The framework of UDL consists of instructional approaches that provide students with choices and alternatives in the materials, content, tools, context, and supports they use. The three basic principles of UDL are: multiple means of representation and presentation, multiple means of strategic engagement, and multiple means of expression. Multiple means of representation refers to multi-modal teaching, relying on a mixture of mediums (e.g., lecture, video, group discussions) to relay concepts. Multiple means of strategic engagement refers to maximizing student learning through motivation and relevancy so students have opportunities to interact with and learn the content. Lastly, multiple means of expression allows students to demonstrate their learning through multiple assessment opportunities (e.g., multimedia projects instead of written papers, or three quizzes and a project instead of one final exam).
The UDL framework challenges educators to rethink the structure of their curriculum and empowers them with the flexibility to serve a diverse population of learners.
UDL in HigherEd, https://udloncampus.cast.org/page/udl_landing
Applications of Universal Design in Postsecondary Education, https://www.washington.edu/doit/programs/center-universal-design-education/applications-universal-design-postsecondary-education
Below is some guidance on ensuring individuals are engaged in meaningful and positive ways.
Events are one of the key elements in maintaining the MSU Denver community. They’re a great way to connect and engage with one another, share and gain knowledge, and even have some fun. At the same time, access and inclusion are core values for MSU Denver in all its endeavors. It is, therefore, important to ensure that events are free of barriers so that all participants can experience an event to its fullest. This document aims to provide information and recommendations to ensure that every MSU Denver event is inclusive and accessible for all participants.
All university events – including all programs, meetings, exhibits, tours, etc. – must be accessible regardless of when, where, or how they are presented. This includes events taking place off campus or in virtual settings. Event planners should ensure accessibility and inclusion considerations are encompassed in every part of the planning process, including budgeting. Planners who believe an event cannot support the cost of an access consideration should discuss alternative funding sources with their supervisor or advisor. Planners should also make every effort to consult with the Access Center and other applicable university leadership prior to foregoing any access considerations.
Including access in all event preparations not only helps lower or eliminate associated costs, but also provides the best possible experience for all participants. Planning for access in the beginning is much easier than trying to make last-minute changes, and is far less stressful!
The Department of Cool and Exciting Stuff aims for inclusive, accessible events that enable all individuals, including those with disabilities, to engage fully. We kindly request that participants refrain from wearing strong fragrances to be respectful of those with allergies and environmental sensitivities. Live captioning will be available. This event will contain some flashing images. Participants requiring accommodations should contact Alex Person at [email protected] or (303) 555-5555 by Wednesday, January 1, 2020. Requests made after this date will be provided to the best of our ability.
At a minimum, the following statement should be included:
[name of department or sponsoring party] aims for inclusive, accessible events that enable all individuals, including those with disabilities, to engage fully. Participants requiring accommodations should contact [designated contact person] at [email, phone number] by [specific date, at least 10 days before the event]. Requests made after this date will be provided to the best of our ability.
The Instructional Accessibility Group (IAG) has many helpful guides on creating accessible materials, including video content. Additionally, the IAG holds a wide variety of workshops on topics such as Social Media Accessibility and Posters and Presentations. Visit the IAG website, or contact them via email, [email protected].
The Access Center provides leadership to the university community to ensure that qualified students with disabilities have equal access to University programs, services, and activities through academic accommodations and collaboration in order to advance MSU Denver’s commitment to inclusive excellence. The Access Center works with students who have disabilities and/or health conditions that effect a wide range of major life activities. In addition to serving students with physical and sensory disabilities, the Access Center works with students who have:
While this is not an exhaustive list, it does represent common reasons that a student might work with the Access Center. It is not uncommon for students to be unaware of the Access Center as many students did not engage with resources in K-12. Faculty or staff are often the first people who students share health conditions and/or struggles related to disabilities in interactions. Below are some examples of when to refer a student to the Access Center to see if we can be a resource for them.
If you have questions about whether the Access Center is and appropriate resource please contact our front desk at 303-615-0200 or by email at [email protected] to get connected with an Access Center coordinator.
If a student directly discloses a disability, health condition, and or pregnancy to you
Example: a student shares with you that they are depressed and on medication
Students discloses receiving past accommodations or services, either as a transfer student or in K-12
Example: a student shares they previously had extra time on an exam in another course or school and they want to have extra time on exams at MSU Denver.
If you see a student who is struggling, you engage with them directly and share campus resources available to them, including the Access Center.
Example: A student tells you they are struggling in their Biology course, so you provide them with information on multiple campus resources including the Tutoring Center and the Access Center.
Example: If a student asks for help completing forms related to your department, you can assist the student rather than referring to the Access Center for assistance.
Example: A student is a caretaker for a family member who has a disability. The Access Center serves MSU Denver students who have disabilities, not their family members.
Example: A student needs to make up an exam, but is not registered with the Access Center, and has not mentioned having a disability or accommodations. Students can make up non-accommodated exams in the Office of Testing Services. ***not available for Fall 2020 semester
When making a referral by email, it is helpful to cc: [email protected] so we can follow with an outreach directly. If a student shares information with you about a disability, making this direct referral is not a violation of confidentiality; rather, you’re giving them the resource who can best help them explore options:
Students right to self-disclosure & confidentiality
Remember that our students are adults; they may respond best to private conversations in which you use an inquiring and supportive approach and share information about the existence and location of the Access Center office. Only the student can decide to disclose their disability, or to pursue information about services available in the Access Center. Therefore, it is essential that disability information be kept confidential as it falls under FERPA. Again, making the direct referral to the Access Center is not a violation of the student’s confidentiality but at no time should other students be informed that a student has a disability, except at the student’s request.
The Access Center works closely with the Instructional Accessibility Group (IAG) within the Center for Teaching, Learning and Design (CTLD) to support faculty and staff in creating inclusive courses and materials. The IAG is an excellent source for information and training on ensuring accessibility of a wide variety of content. Their website hosts a wide variety of helpful guides, a calendar of trainings and workshops, and information on their Proactive Accessibility Certification Workshops.
The Supporting Students on the Autism Spectrum Booklet was created by the Faculty Learning Community (FLC) on Supporting Learning for Students on the Autism Spectrum in 2020 to help faculty working with autistic students.
The CTLD’s Ready page houses a wealth of tutorials, best practices, and support information to help faculty in designing their Canvas courses.
Hours of Operation for Summer 2022
Main Office: Monday - Friday, 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Accommodated Testing: Monday - Thursday, 8:30 am - 4:30 pm