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Inclusive, accessible design benefits everyone.

As the educational landscape evolves, we must challenge assumptions about how teaching and learning “should” look. Consider the following four questions in your course design:

  • What do I want students to learn?
  • How will I know what students have learned?
  • How can I ensure that all students have an equitable opportunity to demonstrate their learning?
  • Are there Universal Design for Learning (UDL) strategies I can implement in my courses?

Classroom Access

  • Include the required syllabus statement for access on all course syllabi (below).
  • When planning classroom activities, it is important to consider the accessibility and layout of the classroom that is being used. Classroom type, layout, and furniture varies greatly in campus classrooms and can impact whether students have an accessible and inclusive experience.

Accessible Course Materials

With the advent of online, hybrid, and flipped courses; moving a course online or adding online features to a traditional course gives instructors the opportunity to create a class that is not only dynamic but accessible to a variety of students – including those who work full-time, study from a distance, and have disabilities. Though a degree of access can be achieved through accommodations, it is best practice to design an accessible course from the onset.

Exams and Learning Assessments

Consult with Disability Services to ensure all student assessments/exams are accessible. Access and accommodations may look different depending on the situation. Solutions may include:

  • Provide accommodations yourself within the classroom, office or department.
  • Increase time allowed on exams in Canvas.
  • Work with Disability Services to administer classroom exams with accommodations in separate space/classroom.
  • Design student assessment activities that minimize the need for accommodations.

Lecture Content Availability

Course design, instruction and delivery of content is ever changing. As an instructor, you may utilize technology, supplemental resources and other innovative strategies to foster learning and engagement in your classroom. For most students, having access to quality notes as a study aid is an integral part of their learning. Disability Services encourages you to consider instructional design techniques that minimize the need for an individual *note-taking* accommodation by providing notes and resources to all students.

Consider providing instructional and supplemental materials for all students to minimize the need for individual accommodations and so that all students benefit from your good course design:

  • Post PowerPoint slides or lecture notes on Canvas.
  • Assign students to teams and rotate responsibility each week for the team to create a complete set of notes to be shared with the class.
  • Use a workbook to summarize information covered in class and provide classroom time for students to collaborate in completing it.
  • Allow and encourage students to use recorders, laptops and other smart technology apps to capture important lecture content.
  • Record lectures through Zoom and give access to all students through Canvas.

When access to lecture content is still a barrier for a disabled student, Disability Services encourages the student to meet with our office to discuss options.

Syllabus Statement

Disability Services and Academic Accommodations:

Manhattan School of Music strives to provide all students with the educational auxiliary aids and other reasonable accommodations which are necessary to permit a student with disabilities the opportunity to succeed. The Assistant Director of Student Engagement & Coordinator of Disabilities, Crystal Wilson, coordinates academic accommodations for students with disabilities, as well as any other student needs occasioned by disability status. Appropriate accommodations and/or academic adjustments will be provided on a case-by-case basis for students who register a disability with the Assistant Director of Student Engagement & Coordinator of Disability Services. Please refer to the Disability Services and Academic Accommodations webpage.


**These Best Practices were adopted from The University of Arizona

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