Accessible Learning

"Accommodating diversity benefits everyone."

This site offers practical resources to support UNB faculty in making university instruction more accessible to students of diverse abilities/disabilities, backgrounds, learning styles and interests through instructional techniques based on using a wide variety of:

  • Content presentation modes
  • Learning activities to engage students with the course content
  • Assessment options for students to demonstrate what they know and can do

A bird, a monkey, a penguin, a fish in a bowl, a seal, and a dog lined up in front of a human teacher at a desk, with a large tree behind the animals. The teacher says,

This accessible learning initiative has been undertaken to help implement the 2010 UNB Strategic Plan goals of increasing access to education for under-represented groups and providing a positive learning environment in which all are respected as individuals. By providing variety in presentation modes, learning activities, and assessment options, we accommodate diversity by using methods that benefit all students while maintaining academic rigour.  These instructional techniques are part of what is known as Universal Design for Learning (UDL).Cartoon Credit: Click Media

This page is co-sponsored by the Student Accessibility Centre (SAC) and the Centre for Enhanced Teaching and Learning (CETL). A UNB Accessible Learning Committee has been set up to provide resources and individual or group coaching in using accessible learning techniques. The committee has as members several faculty members with experience using such techniques.

Bringing it home:

Out of 100 students, between 3 and 4 will have a diagnosed disability. You are likely to have 1 student with ADHD, 1 with mental health issues (anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, depression, mood disorder, OCD, panic attacks, post-traumatic stress), and 1 with a learning disability. A fourth is likely to have either a chronic health issue, brain injury, Asperger’s Syndrome, or physical, hearing or visual limitation.  These are the students who have documented disabilities and have registered with the UNBF Student Accessibility Centre - the actual incidence of many of these disabilities is likely much higher.  And of course the entire student body is made up of a wide diversity of backgrounds, learning styles, and abilities.

Click here to view the video below in a larger size with the button functionality intact.

The most frequently occurring disabilities are invisible.

Number (412 students) and type of disability registered at SAC, 2015-2016:

2016-2017 Primary Disability Types Reported: mental health, 39.8%, learning disabilities 28.8%, ADHD 25.7%, Autism Spectrum Disorder 14%, physical 14%, neurological 12%, vision 11%, hearing 10%, temporary 7% and chronic health 6.8%. These add up to much more than 100% because of students with multiple disabilities.

Resources:

It will take us some time (this was posted in August 2012) to create our own online resources, but the following helpful resources have been created by other institutions and are being linked to with permission.

Contact information:

For information, advice or assistance with respect to Accessible Learning, please contact Jody Gorham, Director of Student Accessibility Center or Bev Bramble, Instructional Designer, Teaching and Learning Services.

Resource Portals:

•    CAST: Transforming Education Through Universal Design for Learning

•    Colorado State University Access to Postsecondary Education Through Universal Design for Learning

•    EnACT: Ensuring Access through Collaboration and Technology: Partnerships, Technology and Education

•   National Center on Universal Design for Learning