The video below briefly outlines the content of the Diverse Thinking and Accessible Instruction module:
Accessible Instruction for Diverse Students
Ariela Hellwing, Yael Roitman, and Noa Ragonis - Beit Berl College
Janina Kahn-Horwitz, Shosh Leshem, Jacky Levi-Atias, Tamar Zaffran, and Orly Sela - Oranim College
Rhonda Sofer - Gordon College
Addressing diversity in higher education is part of a global social trend. One of the project's main goals is to provide tools for faculty to enhance their teaching-learning processes through discovering how to deal with diversity in their classes. The faculty will become aware of their responsibility and accountability to diverse students; familiarize themselves with the notion of accessibility and the principles of Universal Design in Learning (UDL), and learn how to use different teaching methods and materials in order to ensure that all students are engaged in the learning process.
Accessibility is defined as: "The ability to reach a place, move and navigate in it, use and enjoy a service, receive information provided within or with regard to a service or place, use facilities and take part in programs and activities, all in an equal, respectable, independent and safe manner" (Accessibility Section of Equal Rights for People with Disabilities Law, 2005). Accessibility in the teaching-learning process focuses on a new perspective on teaching and evaluation methods, together with technological and individualized adjustments.
Universal Design in Learning is a model used by lecturers to promote accessibility in their teaching process. The model comprises three components: representation, expression, and engagement (CAST, 2011; Rose, Harbour, Johnston, Daley, & Abarbanell, 2006; Spooner et al., 2007). The model is the basis for the online course for lecturers presented in this unit.
The main aims of the online course are:
1. Enhancing awareness of different types of learners.
2. Increasing knowledge and familiarity with accessibility concepts, legislation, and policy.
3. Providing the lecturers with tools and skills based on the UDL model for accessible instruction.
The structure of the online course for faculty members allows autonomous learning off campus. Throughout the course, participants will have ongoing support and the opportunity to exchange views with the facilitators of the course.
1. Active Teaching / Pedagogy
The faculty will be active learners in the course and responsible for their own learning process. They will carry out various types of tasks (interviewing, watching videos, reading articles, and submitting a variety of assignments).
2. Internationalization of Teaching
One part of the online course refers to the design of a course syllabus in various forms (face-to-face, seminar, workshop, online). Emphasis is on the field of teaching and learning accessibility. This topic is part of the
principles of syllabus design to meet international standards.
The online course for lecturers incorporates technology in its design and exposes the participants to a variety of teaching methods that can be used with students.
Diversity is the main goal of the online course, as expressed in the course aims.
5. Generation gap
The course structure is an example of bridging the generation gap by using technology, different representations, sensitivity to learning preferences, time, and place. It can provide faculty with food for thought for designing their own courses.
(a) Faculty will recognize various aspects of the institution’s policy regarding diversity (human resources, student population, social and financial needs of various groups, etc.).
(b) Faculty will understand the value of diversity for excellence in their teaching.
(c) Faculty will raise their awareness of their roles, responsibility, and accountability to diversity.
(d) Faculty will be able to implement principles of Universal Design in Learning (UDL).
(e) Faculty will be attentive to student voices and their cognitive, physical, emotional, and social differences in order to successfully facilitate their learning.
(f) Faculty will be able to utilize different teaching methods, in order to ensure that all students are engaged in the learning process.
(g) Faculty will be able to use various forms of feedback for diverse students.
Recommended venue for training
Duration of training
Approximately 20 hours.
The course has six main units:
1. Incorporating the principle of human dignity in an exceptionality-aware academic environment.
2. The Universal Design Model.
3. Applying the Universal Design Model principles to teaching processes.
4. Challenges and dilemmas in teaching in a diverse environment.
5. Elective unit including additional learning materials as enrichment.
6. Summary exercise.
Each unit includes a video excerpt, objectives, assignments, and references. In addition, each unit contains a forum where participants publish their assignments and receive feedback from their peers.
The course assignments include a task at the end of each unit and a more comprehensive assignment at the end of the course.
All the training materials: videos, reading materials and assignments are presented in the Moodle platform of the online course.
Evaluation tool - self-efficacy:
(a) To what degree did the course contribute to my understanding of the institution’s policy regarding diversity in various aspects (human resources, student population, social and financial needs of various groups, etc.)?
(b) To what degree did the course have an impact on my belief that diversity contributes to the excellence of my teaching?
(c) To what degree did the course contribute to my awareness of my role, responsibility, and accountability to diversity?
(d) To what degree did the course contribute to my ability to implement principles of Universal Design in Learning (UDL)?
(e) To what degree did the course contribute to my ability to be attentive to students’ voices and their cognitive, physical, emotional, and social differences, in order to successfully facilitate learning?
(f) To what degree did the course contribute to my ability to utilize different teaching methods in order to ensure that all students are engaged in the learning process?
(g) To what degree did the course contribute to my ability to utilize a variety of forms of feedback for diverse students?