Module 3: Access and Equity Considerations

In this Module we address access and equity considerations in designing and teaching fully online or hybrid classes. We will also address questions about technology as it relates to Universal Design of Learning principles.


Participants will:

  • Review and consider UDL guidelines
  • Consider the role of engagement, action and expression, and representation for achieving the course learning goals
  • Update or revise an accessibility statement in your syllabus
  • Share and reflect on learning

Community Building Activity

Share a quote that answers the question below.  Consider sharing a visual quote, if that’s more interesting for you. What lessons are you learning from this entire Covid19 experience?

Explore the Resources

Getting To Know Accessibility

For discussions and activities in this Module, we ask you to familiarize yourselves with Universal Design for Learning (UDL) for Accessibility principles.

Consider This

What are any questions or concerns you may have regarding the way we understand accessibility?

Pratt Faculty Voices

Click here to view more responses by Pratt faculty who participated in the RTO.

Shifting from the mindset of accessibility as a reactive thing to a proactive one seems very important.

Faculty Member

Different levels of technological knowledge presents problems, so my thinking is more around expanding our notions of accessibility to understand how broad of a concept it can be.

Faculty Member

How to create, facilitate and sustain an environment in which students are able to continue supporting each other enthusiastically despite the remote learning environment?

Faculty Member


AAC&U (The Association for American Colleges and Universities) has created and posted their new guide to a liberal education.  This guide points out that while the new Liberal Education has to address the most compelling issues of our lives,and prepare students for work, citizenship and life – it also has to do it in ways that serves ALL of our students, and thus renewing our Democracy (preserving justice, liberty, human dignity, equality of all persons).

→ What does ‘Inclusive Excellence’ look like to you? What does it look like in an online class?

Pratt Faculty Voices

Click here to view more responses by Pratt faculty who participate in the RTO.

Find ways to include as many modalities as you can not only in terms of the content, but also in terms of how the message is delivered and understood by different types of learners.

Faculty Member

Equalizing the resources, because students have different access to resources

Faculty Member

Add a wider range of examples to study which might open students’ minds to different perspectives and experiences without putting that burden on individual students.

Faculty Member

Explore the Resources

Continue exploring and applying Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles to your lessons online.


Reconsider a Lesson using UDL principles.

  • Keep in mind one lesson from your online course. 
  • Use the Lesson Planning guidelines review this lesson in terms of UDL principles.
  • Is your lesson addressing all of these aspects of ‘access’? How should your online lesson change to address these principles?

Pratt Faculty Voices

I never had a visually impaired student in my class, but UDL asks us to consider that. It has made me think of adding a listening component to my online lesson plan. I have always taught that “listening is an all-important aspect of an actor’s work” and have taught that in conjunction to them listening to what their scene partner is saying and organically responding off of that. But, given this UDL principle, I should consider creating an online exercise that requires listening, and also would address the needs of a visually impaired person.

Faculty Member

Somewhat accidentally this term when my class went to Zoom, students took more liberties in their presentations (via screen sharing) – so photography students are making work that has sound elements – video games, performing music, designing installations in their bedrooms with a sound component. In the future I will take this more into consideration – explicitly stating this as an option for a project response.

Faculty Member

Consider This

Part 3 of the QM Emergency Rubric,  focusing on Teaching Effectively in an Online Environment, addresses access and equity considerations.

Develop additional components of the remote course to enhance the learning experience. Design learning units or create online-specific activities, materials or assignments.


  • Create short multimedia pieces or interactive video content and make sure students have easy access to them
  • Organize your course and materials into a learning path (or multiple paths) to help students progressively navigate their learning
  • Plan for active learning opportunities, using interactive tools and technologies
  • Provide appropriate citations and permissions for the materials you are using

How do the CTL Pratt Guidelines address these issues? (Specifically Section 5 – Universal Design and Accessibility)


Reconsider an Assessment through UDL Principles.

In this activity we’ll ask you to study the UDL for Assessment considerations. Then, using their guides, consider the following questions for one of your selected assessments in your online or hybrid course:

  • Title of your assignment
  • What are possible barriers to engagement?
  • What are some options (based on UDL) that you are considering to increase engagement?
  • What are possible barriers to action and expression?
  • What are some options (based on UDL) that you are considering to address action and expression?
  • What are possible barriers to representation?
  • What are some options (based on UDL) that you are considering to address representation?

Pratt Faculty Voices

Finally, see how other Pratt faculty who participated in the RTO considered their assessments: 

Elise Kaufman: Paraline synthesis: invented complex forms and creating contextual space(s)

Damon Chaky: Weekly Review Assignments

Anne Gilman: Test Line Etch Printing

Aditi Sharma: UI/UX Program Assessment

Consider This

How do you support all of your students?  Consider these prompts to see what you  can do to be inclusive of all students in your online or hybrid classroom:

Click here to view all prompts.

Quick Links

Below you will find additional resources regarding equity and access considerations.

Indiana University recommends recording Zoom classes then making them available on Canvas to support international students. 

Yale recommends recording Zoom sessions so students who can’t participate in a live session can later view it.

The Zoom Gaze: Thinking about the power of looking, seeing, and being seen.

“There has been a lot of talk about not forcing students to turn cameras on and I advocate for this. I advocate for this out of an attempt to create equitable spaces as I know that not everyone can show their face/space. That video takes more bandwidth and so there is a technical inequity that privileges those with speedy internet and fancy equipment. Also, it is cultural in that we don’t just show our faces but we show our places and sometimes that is problematic for a variety of reasons.”

An Affinity for Synchronous Learning

Synchronous meetings can become:

      • Biased against time zones
      • Culturally unaware
      • Biased against families and busy people
      • Elitist for audiovisual people
      • Heavily rely on linguistic capital

Learning Online in a Hurry – Episode 4

Online Learning in a Hurry  –  Video

Tips for how to use video more equitably:

      • Consider the benefits of async tools and pedagogies and balance sync and async based on their affordances and limitations.
      • Don’t require attendance in your sync session
      • Stay flexible in terms of what students share (For example: Let students turn off their video so they can at least hear the material and share their audio if they desire)
      • Invite and plan interaction

You might consider using the UDL typology to talk about the different tools, assignments, or assessments in your class.

Chronicle article: Inclusive Teaching Online 

Ways to be inclusive on Zoom

Pratt-specific resources

Resilience Practice


Can you think of a time when you remained within your WOT in the face of something stressful or distressing?

Triggers – Signs – Outcome: Describe this moment in detail below, including what triggered you (e.g., someone cut me off in traffic), what happened in your mind and body (e.g., felt calm, thought that this person must be in a rush), and what the outcome was (e.g. no negative effects, the event was an insignificant blip in my day).

We suggested completing this Worksheet as ‘homework’.


Based on what you’ve learned about accessibility – specifically, how it intertwines with pedagogy and technology – please consider writing an addendum to your official ‘accessibility’ and/or ‘equity and diversity’ statement which are probably already on your syllabus. Consider writing a short paragraph, or even a brief letter to your students in which you talk about access and equity in your online class.

Pratt Faculty Voices

Click here to view responses by Pratt faculty who participate in the RTO.

Frank Millero School of Design | Industrial Design

Jane HaimesFoundation

Sam Bennett School of Design | Interior Design

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