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Exploring Accessibility in Online and Blended Learning: Universal Design for Learning as a Lens on Equity in a Post-COVID K-12 Landscape

Exploring Accessibility in Online and Blended Learning: Universal Design for Learning as a Lens on Equity in a Post-COVID K-12 Landscape
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Author(s): Frederic Fovet (Royal Roads University, Canada)
Copyright: 2022
Pages: 20
Source title: Designing Effective Distance and Blended Learning Environments in K-12
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Thomas F. Driscoll III (Bristol Warren Regional School District, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-6829-3.ch001

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Abstract

The covid crisis has created an emergency public health situation in the K-12 sector globally that has imposed an overnight pivot to online and blended teaching and significantly accelerated a shift that had been a decade coming. There have definitely been positive outcomes to this health crisis, and change has been accelerated in schools: technology has had to be rapidly integrated, online teaching developed at lightning speed, blended instruction embraced without hesitation. These changes had faced considerable resistance in the K-12 sector before then. Unfortunately, the positive outcomes have also been accompanied by worrying challenges. Accessibility, in particular, has been set aside during the pivot, and many forms of online and blended teaching developed during the pandemic have been far from inclusive. The needs of students with disabilities have been neglected. The chapter argues that universal design for learning is a convenient, hands-on, and user-friendly framework to guide teachers as they reflect on inclusion within these innovative online learning spaces.

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