Preparing Faculty to Design and Develop Accessible Online Courses: A Self-Paced Interactive Online Training

Equity and Inclusion

Brief Abstract

How can we prepare faculty to design and develop accessible online courses? To meet faculty needs, we developed a self-paced online training. Stop by this discovery session to learn how we created and implemented this training, including how we gained administrative buy-in, and share your thoughts on our pilot program.


Kristlyn Thomas is an Instructional Designer at Loyola University Chicago. At Loyola, she works for the Provost's Office in the Office of Online Learning. As an Instructional Designer, Kristlyn supports faculty in the design and development of online courses. In addition to course design and development, she plans and facilitates professional development opportunities for online instructors. Prior to joining the Office of Online Learning, she was a member of the Instructional Technology and Research Support team at Loyola as an Educational Technologist. Kristlyn came to Loyola from Eastern Illinois University where she supported faculty in the Center for Academic Technology and earned a Master of Science degree in Technology, a Master of Science degree in Elementary Education, and a certificate in Training and Development.

Extended Abstract

A benefit of online, blended, and hybrid courses is their ability to reach a diverse student population. However, if an instructor does not design an online course with accessibility in mind, it can alienate part of the student population. Further, course accessibility has become a standard in online course quality assessments, including Quality Matters.  As the demand for online, blended, and hybrid courses grows how can we ensure that faculty are adequately prepared to design and develop accessible online courses? Today faculty seem to have a never-ending workload and many faculty members are never physically present on campus. This presents a challenge when planning faculty development opportunities. At our university, we developed a self-paced online training designed to guide faculty members through how to make their online courses accessible. This training allows faculty to access the training at a time that is convenient for them and review training materials when necessary. 

This presentation will share how we created the training, what the training includes, how we promoted this training, and how faculty have responded to the training. Specifically, I will share information on the training design including training learning outcomes, an outline of the training, and the technology used to create and deliver the training. I will also discuss faculty participation: how we track faculty participation, current participation rates, how we gained administrative buy-in, and other ways we have encouraged faculty participation. Then I will cover our training evaluation results, comparing evaluation results from our pilot to the current version of our training. 

After I share information on the training, I would like to get feedback from those attending the poster presentation. I will ask attendees questions including:

  • How do you prepare faculty to create accessible online courses?
  • Does your university or organization offer self-paced online training for faculty members? If so, have these training sessions been successful? Why or why not?
  • If you were to create a similar training for your faculty, what are some possible roadblocks you may encounter? 
  • What resources would you need to design and implement a similar training at your university or organization?
  • Are there ways we could improve the methods we are using to deliver this training and gather feedback?

Attendees will be able to answer in-person and through online polls using Poll Everywhere. I will display their responses so as attendees move through the poster presentations, they can see their peers’ responses. At this time, I will also answer attendee questions and allow them to provide any general feedback that they were not able to provide in their responses to the previously mentioned questions.

            Attendees will learn more about the self-paced online training we design to teach faculty how to make their course accessible, have the chance to provide feedback, and discuss how they could design and implement a similar training at their institution. After attending this session, attendees will be able to:

  • Identify the goals of our accessibility training
  • Describe how we designed and implemented a self-paced online faculty training
  • Explain how we motivated faculty to participate in the training
  • Analyze how they would design and implement a similar training at their institution

I hope attendees are able to learn from our experience designing and implementing this training and I would appreciate the opportunity to get their feedback on a new training program.