The University of Central Florida is committed to providing all students with equitable access to the best possible opportunities for academic success. UCF’s Office of Student Accessibility Services (SAS) works with faculty members on a regular basis to facilitate accommodations, but as more faculty members innovate to incorporate web-based media into their online and face-to-face classes, we must be diligent to ensure that accessibility remains a top priority.
As per the recommendations of Universal Design for Learning, faculty members are encouraged to design accessible courses from the outset. Faculty members should also work actively with SAS, CDL, and FCTL upon notification of specific course accessibility and specific student accessibility needs for a given course. If you have any questions, please contact Adam Meyer, director of Student Accessibility Services, by calling 407-823-2371 or by e-mailing Adam.Meyer@ucf.edu. See also the SAS website at https://sas.sdes.ucf.edu/faculty/. Feel free to contact the Faculty Center at 407-823-3544 or email@example.com if you have any additional questions.
Universal Design for Learning
Universal Design refers to efforts to ensure accessibility for all, such as the design of entrances and exits to buildings that support access for wheelchairs, walkers, and strollers. While the concept of universal design originally applied to architecture and product design, it is now being used to design more accessible classroom content, particularly content for online courses. For example, you can include “text equivalents” (i.e., descriptions and captions) of all non-text content in online courses, such as photographs, tables, and figures. You can also add closed captions to online videos or create transcripts for videos and podcasts. By making such material available, you ensure that all students have appropriate access to course content and can meaningfully participate in learning activities. UDL scholarship has suggested that content accommodations should be incorporated into the beginning stages of the course design process, rather than as additions to existing course content (Rowland et al., 2010).
The following videos provide brief introduction about practical ways to introduce universal design for learning in your classes:
UCF Accessibility Resources
UCF Student Accessibility Services considers accessibility and inclusion paramount. SAS provides resources for students and faculty members including perspective on inclusive language, assistive technology guidance, accommodation testing, the Accommodation Letter Request Form, and the Report a Physical Access Barrier Form. SAS coordinates with the Center for Distributed Learning for captioning and provides consultation on making audio or video components accessible.
The Center for Distributed Learning provides assistance in accessing and managing new technologies for online courses, including tools for navigating and implementing assistive technology and accessible online course materials. CDL can help caption videos from provided transcripts and develop text-based materials that are accessible for students who are visually impaired. They provide guidelines and support for making online media accessible. They will consult with faculty members on accessibility strategies during course development (such as ensuring the use of ALT tags on images) and course delivery (such as methods to allow extra time during assessments for students with learning disabilities). Online faculty members should work directly with their assigned instructional designer to access support resources and may contact Online@UCF Support for appropriate routing or direct assistance by calling 407-823-0407 or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
At UCF we offer many resources that will assist in making the classroom as inclusive and accessible as possible. SDES oversees departments such as SAS, CAPS, Career Services, First Year Advising and Exploration, Office of Student Involvement and much more. SDES is a centralized resource that can provide specialized assistance and works in collaboration with its many departments to provide the best resources and services possible to faculty and students.
Counseling and Psychological Services provides many resources on the UCF campus for both students and faculty. CAPS provides free counseling and services to all enrolled UCF students and encourages faculty to recommend CAPS as a resource as they see fit, understanding that students may feel more comfortable confiding in faculty members than counselors. CAPS is well versed in culturally sensitive practices and counseling and prides itself in being a diverse and inclusive agency dedicated to working with faculty to help students succeed in the classroom.
UCF’s Multicultural Student Center is a place that faculty can recommend that students be a part of as a way to raise awareness about the importance of diversity and inclusion. The MSC provides many activities and events that promote diversity on the UCF campus, and it would be of benefit to faculty and students to become involved and aware of activities, events, and resources.
UCF has created the Just Knights Response Team in the event that a faculty member or student witnesses an injustice on campus. The JKRT has partnerships with the proper organizations that deal with crimes against students or staff. The JKRT provides forms and intervention in the occasion that an injustice has occurred.
The Office of Student Involvement is a great resource for faculty to recommend to all students because of its inclusive nature and the vast array of programs it provides for students. The OSI makes sure that all of their events and services are accessible, providing assistive technology and all written materials in braille.
The UCF Student Academic Resource Center is equipped with faculty, staff and students dedicated to providing assistance for all students in need of extra help. SARC provides tutoring, academic advising, retention programs and supplemental instruction. SARC is an excellent resource for students; it is recommended that faculty endorse SARC as a means for student academic improvement.
UCF offers students the ability to become more marketable in their career search by visiting Career Services. Career Services offers specialized help to students seeking immediate employment as well as employment after graduation. Faculty members are encouraged to recommend Career Services as a means of help to students that may need assistance looking for a career after graduation. Career Services offers many services including mock interviews, resume/CV help, and a list of possible employment opportunities.