Insights Panel #1

UDL and Student Engagement in Higher Education: A Pilot Project

Anna Barrafato

What happens when we redesign courses with Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles? We will present findings of a UDL pilot project conducted at Concordia University in 2017-2018. This project measured student engagement in intervention (UDL) versus comparison groups. Faculty from the intervention group redesigned their courses using UDL principles. Students from both groups filled in a survey on student engagement. We will discuss results, as well as strategies for generating buy-in from faculty and administrators in higher education.

Anna Barrafato is a licensed psychologist and a Disability Accommodation Specialist at the Access Centre for Students with Disabilities (ACSD) at Concordia University in Montreal. A part-time faculty member at Concordia University, she has taught courses in inclusive education, educational psychology, diversity, and self-management strategies.  

20 Years of Adaptech

Laura King

Adaptech will present, along with interactive activities, how 20+ years of Adaptech studies can inform future practices and research. We will focus on students with disability, technology, accessibility, post secondary education, academic success and pedagogy.  The presentation will include three aspects: research and its implications, our online FANDI resource and accessible PowerPoints. 

Laura King works as a teacher-researcher at Cégep André-Laurendea. She has taught English as a second language for over 25 years. She began working and doing research on students with learning disabilities (LD)  in 2000, and has recently completed a three-year study on the use of technology in teaching among exemplary teachers. She offers workshops and lectures on student success, screening and accommodation, and ICTs for students with reading problems, LDs and other disabilities. Her other areas of interest include applied linguistics, reading and writing, universal-design instruction, transitions for students with disabilities from high school to college then to university and to the workplace.

Insights Panel #2

Do My Online Courses Meet Accessibility Guidelines? What’s a reasonable web accessibility standard?

Charles Altman, Concordia University

Find out about The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) recommendations for making Web content accessible for everyone.

Charles Altman, B.Comm, M.Ed spends his day bringing students with disabilities closer to their school, teachers and discipline. A Concordia University accessibility advisor, he has designed discussion-based workshops that promote inclusion, technology adoption and self-reliance. Before joining the Access Centre for Students with Disabilities in 1998, he promoted HIV/AIDS community health and psychosocial support initiatives in schools and prisons.

Differential Delivery of Courses, Convergence and Inclusivity

Ryan W. Moon, CEGEP À Distance

Discover how various approaches to delivering courses, such as distance education, active learning and Digital Learning Resources (DLRs) share a common thread. We will also take a glimpse at what the future may hold once we harness the numerous possibilities that technology affords us along the way.

Ryan W. Moon is an Education Advisor and IT Representative working for the English Sector at Cégep à distance, an organization that has a provincial mandate for distance education development at the college level in Quebec. Over the last decade, Ryan has worked with a variety of learning platforms and completed various consulting mandates over the years to help colleges adopt new approaches to differential delivery of training.

Student Roundtable

Student experience with accessibility in the classroom and its online environments is at the heart of this knowledge exchange. This round table brings together four students from various background and levels of post-secondary to share their experiences, ideas, and advocacy on how to remove barriers and improve accessible learning experiences for students with disabilities. It will also shed light on how practices of educators and others in the post-secondary system can facilitate successful and supportive relationships and accessible pathways for different learners. 

Eileen Mary Holowka is a writer, game dev, and PhD student. Her current research focuses on feminist social media practices, "sick women," and vulnerable acts of resistance. She has published on self-imaging, Instagram, online affective labour, and the intersections of media and trauma. Her most recent project, circuits (2018), is a digital narrative about the difficult act of narrating sexual trauma within institutional spaces and can be played for free online.

Eli Lumens (they/them/theirs) is a graduate student in an online MPA program through UNC Chapel Hill in the US. They are interested in working with minority populations, such as individuals with disabilities and the LGBTQIA+ community. They led a group for students with disabilities during their undergraduate career. In their very limited spare time, Eli enjoys drinking too much coffee, blogging, and adventuring around the city- when it is not super cold or snowing! Eli first became interested in accessibility after a rough first semester of university almost caused them to withdraw from the term. However, upon meeting with representatives from their university’s Disability Resource Office, they were given accommodations that allowed them to succeed. Eli saw how difficult the process of obtaining accommodations was and wanted to make it easier for other students. They joined a group for students with disabilities and spent 3 years educating students, staff, and faculty about accessibility and universal design. Personally, due to their own disabilities, Eli found it easier to take online classes than physical ones, which led to them choosing a solely online program for graduate school.

Christine Vo is a Computer Science student at Concordia University. She is also a research assistant at Adaptech Research Network. Having worked on an on-going database of software with Adaptech called 'FANDI' (Free And Inexpensive computer technologies), accessibility is important to her because many tools and technologies that are currently available in the market are limited or unknown to many people with and without disabilities. Accessibility is an important factor for her because she is a student with disabilities, thus she knows how difficult it can be to function on the same level as her non-disabled peers. 

Menna Hegab is a graduate student in the Educational Studies program in the Department of Education. She is an international student from Egypt who is passionate about social justice and progressive activism. She subscribes to the social model of disability as a way of validating everyone’s experiences and helping to eliminate rather than overcome socially imposed boundaries, particularly in the case of invisible disabilities.

DesignJam: Accessible Gamepad Challenge

On April 25th, in the context of accessXchange, Education Makers and #MilieuxMake students are organizing a design jam. 


Participants will be involved in a team building and a socratic activity about accessibility and gamepads. This will be followed by a design jam during which participants will build prototypes of accessible gamepads for people with various disabilities. During this hands-on design jam, participants will learn about the process of designing for accessibility by combining existing Universal Design for Learning concepts with empathy and the co-creative process of building prototypes. They will iterate playfully with a variety of materials including microcontrollers, basic electronics, polymer, cardboard and masking tape! 


This is experiential learning at its best for Next-Gen learners!

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