Universal Design from the Starting Point: Creating An Accessible Syllabus

Concurrent Session 2

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Brief Abstract

You can make your syllabus become a dynamic, accessible guide based on Universal Design principles, by using a few basic tools. We will demonstrate and discuss how to apply these principles easily and practically, using only the HTML text editor included within most LMS systems and any word processor application.


Jonathan Kulp is Director and Professor of Music History and Theory at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette School of Music and Performing Arts. He earned a degree in guitar performance from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where he studied guitar under Mario Abril and composition under Peter Temko. Kulp also holds a Master's degree in Music Theory and a Ph.D. in Musicology from the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Kulp is a contributor to the New Grove Dictionary of Music and to the German music encyclopedia Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart, and has published two articles on Argentine composer Carlos Guastavino (1912-2000) in the Latin-American Music Review. As a composer, Kulp has written for voice, keyboard, guitar, orchestra, and various chamber ensembles. His guitar music is published by Les Productions D'Oz. Dr. Kulp has been on the music faculty at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette since 2001. He is a former competitive skateboarder and has built his own recumbent bicycle. Website and blog: http://jonathankulp.org.
Carey Hamburg is a senior instructional designer in the Office of Distance Learning. His background is in Art, Education, and Technology Integration. Carey is a graduate of UL Lafayette and completed an MA in Communication at the University of South Alabama, with a focus in Multimedia Training Development. He has worked in a variety of educational settings as an instructor of both art and technology. Carey enjoys seeing the connections that emerge as educators and students explore the creative and effective possibilities of educational technology.

Extended Abstract

The principles of Universal Design emphasize flexibility, usability, and equitable access to all. Your syllabus can become a dynamic accessible document based on these principles. We will demonstrate and discuss how to create an accessible syllabus, using only the HTML text editor within most LMS systems and a word processor.

Our conversation will include a demonstration of steps toward building an accessible syllabus based on UD principles. Using basic aspects of HTML tagging, style definition, and hyperlinking the traditional, static syllabus can be transformed into a course guide that is flexible, accommodating, and easily navigated. These are some of the essential elements we will present:

  • Designing a good course syllabus with these principles in mind: HTML (flexible for use with mobile devices, best for accessibility across all platforms and OSs (UD principles 1-2)
  • Using a style guides (CSS) to generate HTML accessible section headings, linked table of contents ( UD principle 6)
  • The liberal use of hyperlinks within the document (UD principle 3) to external resources (textbook site, reading lists, library, disabilities office, privacy policies, student handbook, other resources). Having links makes it easy to follow the information trail, especially on mobile devices where it's a pain to type in web addresses.

Participants will be able to ask questions, speak from their own experience, and contribute to a resource and tip document that will be collaboratively shared for later reference.