In 2014, the state of Tennessee mandated that digital content be made accessible for all students in order to remove barriers to learning. Inspired to build on that mandate, the team at Chattanooga State Community College set out to make post-secondary courses accessible. In the process, the team discovered that removing learning barriers involved more than simply increasing accessibility. It evolved into an examination and embrace of Universal Design for Learning (UDL). In researching accessibility and UDL, Chattanooga State Community College collaborated with stakeholders across campus as well as with other colleges and universities across the state. The original focus centered on the creation or redesign of traditional and online classrooms. The discovery of tools, technologies, and options for content presentation allowed us to meet accessibility standards and implement the three principles of UDL to improve student experience and success (UDL Center, 2016). The team was guided by the concept of Systematic Learner Variability as we learned about options for presenting course material (CAST, CAST UDL Exchange, 2016). Finding non-traditional options for submitting work encourages ownership and engagement among today’s tech savvy students.
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