Accessibility Awareness Training for Educators
Human Resources provides leadership by coordinating the fulfillment of Nipissing University’s legal obligations to the Ontario Human Rights Code, the Employment Equity Act and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.
For more information about the AODA or if you have any questions about the training module, please contact Jodee Brown Yeo, AODA Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org
Goal of the Training
- To provide Nipissing University employees who are responsible for the design, delivery and/or instruction of courses with strategies to enhance accessible teaching methods.
- Nipissing University is committed to ensuring accessibility to our services, programs and courses.
- Provide an overview of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (2005) and the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulations and their impact on program and course design, delivery and instruction.
- Identify barriers that students with disabilities may face in accessing education.
- Provide strategies for improving students’ learning experience.
- Outline the principles of Universal Design for Learning as a framework for accessible education that prevents and removes barriers in the learning environment.
- Provide resources to assist in increasing accessibility in the classroom.
Please view the message from the former Lieutenant Governor of Ontario The Hon. David C. Onley:
- Committing to Accessibility
- Supporting Students with Disabilities
- Moving from Accommodations to Accessible Education
- Considering Universal Design for Learning as a Framework for Accessible Education
- Resources on Accessible Education
Committing to Accessibility
This training will begin with a brief overview of legislative requirements under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (2005). The first section will highlight the following:
- Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), 2005
- Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (IASR), 2011
- Section 16: Training to Educators
The Ontario government enacted the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) in 2005.
It lays the framework for the development of province-wide mandatory standards on accessibility in all areas of daily life.
The province seeks to ensure a fully accessible Ontario by 2025.
This law moves from the concept of accommodation, where we make alterations on a per-person basis depending on that person’s disability to one of accessibility where process, procedures, and policies are designed to improve access to our staff/faculty, goods and services.
The Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (IASR) harmonizes the customer service standards, that became law in 2008, with accessibility standards in the areas of information and communications, employment, and transportation. Businesses and organizations are required to meet compliance deadlines beginning in 2011 until 2025.
The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) and the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (IASR) focus on establishing accessibility standards to prevent and remove barriers to access.
Supporting students with disabilities:
- Equal opportunities for and access to learning
- Access through individualized accommodations
Students with a documented disability qualify for services. Their disability has been “documented” if you have been diagnosed by your family physician, psychiatrist, optometrist, ophthalmologist, medical specialist, licensed psychologist or psychological associate.
Medical documentation criteria:
- Acquired Brain Injury
- Blind or Low Vision
- Chronic Illness/Systemic/Medical
- Deaf, Deafened, Hard of Hearing
- Learning Disabilities
- Mental Health
- Temporary Conditions
The IASR uses the definition of disability contained in the Ontario Human Rights Code.
A disability may be:
- Visible, invisible, temporary or permanent
- Any degree of physical disability, infirmity, malformation or disfigurement caused by bodily injury, birth defect or illness
- A condition of mental impairment or a developmental disability.
- A learning disability or a dysfunction in one or more of the processes involved in understanding or using symbols or spoken language.
- A mental disorder.
- An injury or disability for which benefits were claimed or received under the insurance plan established under the Workplace Safety & Insurance Act.
The fundamental principles underlying the IASR support : the right to equal opportunities for and equal access to learning.
Dignity: Each student is able to maintain privacy, self-respect and respect of others.
Equal opportunity: All students have the same opportunity to benefit from the learning experience.
Independence: Each student can undertake learning tasks without the unnecessary help.
Integration: Every student is able to benefit from the same education, in the same place and in the same way as others.
Students with disabilities have the right to academic accommodations tailored to their individual needs.
As required by the Ontario Human Rights Code, universities already provide individual academic accommodations to give students with disabilities equitable access to the same education as others in their program of study
Examples of academic accommodations include:
- Extending the time allotted for a test.
- Arranging for a note-taker during classes.
- Using Assistive Technology software (i.e. Kurzweil) translating text-to-voice for course materials.
Nipissing University offers services to provide individual academic accommodations to students with disabilities.
Students do not need to disclose the nature of their disability to their professor in order to access individual academic accommodations.
Make a statement on your syllabus or at the beginning of each semester to:
- Inform students that Nipissing University provides services to students with disabilities who require individual accommodations.
- Direct them to contact Student Accessibility Services if they require assistance.
- Student Accessibility Services is located in B210 (Student Development and Services).
Accessible education builds on principles of effective teaching and learning, many of which you may already use.
Universal Design for Learning is one example of an effective framework for accessible education.
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a set of principles for curriculum development that give all individuals equal opportunities to learn.
Individuals bring a huge variety of skills, needs, and interests to learning. Neuroscience reveals that these differences are as varied and unique as our DNA or fingerprints.
Accessible education allows students with disabilities to focus on learning in an inclusive environment.
Accessible education complements good teaching practices to enhance student learning.
Proactive approach toward identifying and removing barriers in the learning environment before they affect students.
- Offer multiple ways for students to contact you.
- Provide all students with accessible, properly formatted handouts.
Create an accessible education:
- Be accessible and fair.
- Provide flexibility in use, participation and presentation.
- Be straightforward and consistent.
- Ensure information is plainly presented and readily perceived.
- Provide a supportive learning environment.
- Minimize unnecessary physical effort or requirements.
- Ensure the learning space fits students’ needs and instructional materials.
- Use verbal, text, images, audio.
- Ensure PowerPoint materials are easy to read.
- Provide accessibility-checked course website.
- Offer collaborative learning opportunities.
- Review drafts of assignments.
- Ensure space accommodates mobility and communication needs.
- Develop concept maps for complex topics.
The National Centre on Universal Design provides many resources to assist faculty members in course development and design:
- Represent information in multiple formats and media (Representation);
- Provide multiple ways to engage students’ interest and motivation (Engagement), Provide multiple pathways for students to demonstrate knowledge of material (Expression).
- UDL Guidelines graphic organizer; and
- Checklist for Educators.
Faculty using UDL use multiple ways to engage and motivate students.
Emphasizes multiple methods of presenting material so students have several ways to access the information.
Provides for multiple means of expression to give students alternatives for demonstrating what they know.
UDL taps into using new and emerging technologies to enhance learning for all students.
Technology provides many opportunities for incorporating UDL principles into teaching and learning.
Research has determined that active learning can increase a student’s understanding of the concepts.
Resources on Accessible Education
Rose, D. & Meyer, A. (2002). Teaching Every Student in the Digital Age: Universal Design for Learning. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
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