Part 10: Fall 2019 Labs

191 Accessibility and Universal Design for Learning — 09.20.2019

On September 20, 2019, participants of another highly-attended Active Teaching Lab discussed Accessibility and Universal Design for Learning (UDL). The focus was on Big and Small Picture components of Accessibility and how to approach the planning and implementation of course components that reach the highest number of students.


  • Even small adjustments in course design can open doors towards increased student interaction–baby steps are okay!
  • Build content with accessibility in mind. A 5-minute video not only reduces cognitive and attentional demand vs. a 20-minute video but also chunks the information into a package that can be easily accessed and digested on the go. Smaller pieces of material encourage students to spread out learning with time for reflection and synthesis (distributed learning) rather than cramming studying into marathon sessions (massed learning).
  • Plan for the extremes. Before the semester starts: investigate the physical orientation of your classroom; brainstorm alternative methods of assessment for learning goals (is a 5-paragraph essay the only way students can demonstrate mastery of course objectives?); also consider the financial costs associated with your course as a potential obstacle for students.
  • Variety! Universal Design for Learning is grounded in Multiple Mean of Expression-Representation-and-Engagement.
  • You’re not alone on campus — numerous campus resources exist to help you plan and implement your course : LSS, McBurney, colleagues, DoIT-AT, Active Teaching Lab colleagues. Do not hesitate to reach out and ask for help! 

For more information visit the session’s activity sheet.


The Active Teaching Lab is a Faculty Engagement program with sessions held on Wednesdays from 1:00-2:00pm and Fridays from 8:30-9:45am in the Middleton Building (1305 Linden Dr.), room 120. Check out upcoming Labs or read the recaps from past Labs. We build interdisciplinary conversations that are more emergent than a presenter and more dynamic than a panel — a conversation with colleagues sharing challenges, solutions, and experiments on topics selected by a variety of stakeholders.

Sign up for regular Lab announcements by sending an email to


Active Teaching Lab eJournal Copyright © 2016 by DoIT Academic Technology and the UW-Madison Teaching Academy; Jennifer Hornbaker; John Martin; Julie Johnson; Karin Spader; Margaret Merrill; Margaret Murphy; and Jeffrey Thomas. All Rights Reserved.

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