Giving Compass' Take:

• Jennifer Albat and Stephanie Del Tufo discuss some of the accessibility challenges and accommodations for distance learning in colleges during coronavirus. 

• Setting up local wifi hotspots has been one of the most significant challenges. How can donors help with internet expansion for students? 

• Read more about the digital divide during COVID-19. 

Colleges have long had offices designed to support students who have learning disabilities and to encourage broader accessibility in the classroom and beyond. But now that so many students are taking courses remotely, in improvised environments that may not be especially conducive to learning, it may take some extra effort to redesign instruction, assignments and assessments to address everyone’s needs.

After all, “it's not just enough to put materials in Blackboard if it's not going to be accessible,” says Jennifer Albat, instructional designer at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville.

On the latest installment of our monthly online discussion forum, EdSurge Live, we explored accessibility in this unusual era of emergency remote teaching. We heard from Albat and Stephanie Del Tufo, assistant professor in the School of Education at the University of Delaware, who studies individual differences in learning, language and literacy.

They dug into the principles of universal design for learning, how instructions can use rubrics to empower students to demonstrate knowledge in many different ways, and how to break up class sessions to make it easier for everyone to participate fully. They also addressed audience questions about how to get faculty motivated to adjust their courses to improve accessibility.

Read the full article about how colleges can improve accessibility by Rebecca Koenig at EdSurge.