Inclusive online courses: Universal Design for Learning strategies for faculty buy-in



Lomellini, A., & Lowenthal, P. R. (2022). Inclusive online courses: Universal Design for Learning strategies for faculty buy-in. In Stefaniak, J. E., & Reese, R. M. (Eds.), The instructional designer’s training guide: Authentic practices and constructive mentoring for ID and ed tech professionals. Routledge.


Record numbers of diverse students are enrolling in online higher education. As a result, institutions find themselves challenged to meet the needs of students with disabilities, English language learners, non-traditional learners, and those without consistent access to the technology required for online learning. Instructional designers have the potential to support institutions to meet this challenge by helping faculty implement inclusive course design strategies, such as Universal Design for Learning (UDL), in the online courses that they develop. Unfortunately, most graduate programs lack courses in designing accessible instruction in general or more specifically on effective ways to address common misconceptions surrounding accessibility. This chapter explores the historical approach to accessibility and proposes a shift to a social model of disability focusing on shared responsibility for inclusive course design. The chapter analyzes common faculty misconceptions about accessibility and presents effective ways to connect process to practice by providing strategies for instructional designers to have difficult conversations that can ultimately garner increased faculty buy-in for UDL-based initiatives.

Keywords: Accessible course design, Accessibility, Inclusive online courses, Online learning