Bridging the Accessibility Gap to Online Engineering Courses

Concurrent Session 6
Streamed Session

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Session Materials

Brief Abstract

How did the creation of two online graduate programs in Engineering create an accessibility challenge? How can we make equation heavy content and complex analytical figures accessible? This session will highlight techniques and resources to create accessible math via assistive technologies and universal design for learning principles.


In her role as Learning Experience Designer, Summer partners with campus colleagues to design learning and development experiences that maximize active learning techniques. Through empathy, inspiration, design, and assessment she creates a more holistic and user-centered approach focused on principles of instructional systems design. Prior to the Hub for Innovation in Learning and Technology, Summer trained thousands of faculty, staff, and students with MSU IT on topics ranging from technical skills to emotional intelligence. Her passion for learning is fueled by the years spent as a fourth grade classroom teacher to adjunct faculty at community college. Summer earned a B.A. and M.A. in Education from the University of Michigan-Dearborn. When she’s not spending time with her husband and 3 boys you can find her livin’ la vida loca.
Mrs. Bradley is the Media Production Specialist at Michigan State University, where her team collaborates with faculty, staff, and students to create video content for MSU events and curriculum. In addition to consulting with clients, producing video, and managing projects, she also provides training to members of the community who want to learn more about creating their own video content. Prior to her position at MSU, she worked in university marketing where she worked on ad campaigns and produced the creative for them. For the past 8 years she has been working extensively as a visual artist, specializing in videography, illustration, design, and photography. Currently, she is using these skills in partnerships with independent filmmakers, where she has worked as a 2nd unit cameraperson and art director.

Additional Authors

Breana Yaklin is an Instructional Designer for the MSU Hub for Innovation in Learning and Technology and for Teaching and Learning Technology with IT Services. She supports faculty to design strong student-focused learning experiences, and has been conducting interviews with undergraduate students to gather student voice and better inform curriculum design. Lately, she has been working closely with academic advising units to support proactive advising and student success change initiatives.

Extended Abstract

The field of accessibility has grown with the rise of technology. Our world is becoming very complex and aspects of it have become unusable by a portion of the population. Some people with disabilities might feel left out of the highly experiential world that surrounds them and end up not pursuing careers in engineering. When our team of learning experience designers and a student representative partnered with the engineering department to develop two new online graduate programs at a R1 research institution, we discovered many inaccessible online course materials and teaching practices. 


In this session, participants can expect to learn about accessible math, assistive technologies, and universal design for learning strategies. Our team will share some of the simple strategies and extensive changes we applied to a wide variety of courses to ensure an accessible course experience for all. 

Throughout this presentation, we will encourage participants to empathize with students and the barriers they may encounter in a complex engineering course. Participants will engage in facilitated discussions about the how math content is presented, and will also receive helpful resources including:

  • A quick tips accessibility checklist 

  • Accessible video strategy 

  • Basic accessibility strategies when developing course materials 

  • A deeper understanding for the complexities of accessible math 

Join us for a collaborative and reflective session on developing engineering courses accessible to all students.