Connecting With Purpose: Proven Techniques For Strengthening Inclusivity

Concurrent Session 4
Streamed Session MERLOT

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Brief Abstract

This interactive session will apply and illustrate how 5 principles for inclusive teaching and learning (adapted from Columbia University’s Teaching and Learning Center) using a Purposeful Learning Framework.   Using examples for adopting OER to applying UDL principles, the outcome of the session is to provide participants a better understanding of inclusivity and to become familiar with tools, technologies, and design strategies that can be immediately adopted to strengthen inclusivity in their own programs


Gerard L. Hanley Ph.D. is the Executive Director of MERLOT (Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching, and SkillsCommons ( for the California State University, the Director for the Center for Usability for Design and Accessibility and Professor of Psychology at California State University, Long Beach. At MERLOT and SkillsCommons, he directs the development and sustainability of the international consortium and technology strategy to provide open educational services to improve teaching and learning and continues to development the US Department of Labor's open repository of educational resources for workforce development. Gerry's previous positions include Assistance Vice Chancellor for Academic Technology Services at the CSU Office of the Chancellor, the Director of Faculty Development and Director of Strategy Planning at CSU, Long Beach.
Specializing in leadership and collaboration efforts for teaching, learning, access/ibility, inclusion, and innovation in higher education. Prior to my position with O'Donnell Learn, I worked for 23 years in the California State University system, leading and supporting student success efforts at campus and system levels. This includes 15+ years teaching experience in Educational Technology, Teacher Education, UDL/Accessibility, and K-12 partnerships. In addition to teaching, I have served in leadership roles in multiple state and national projects, such as EnACT (U.S. DoE) and Access by Design (NSF). The primary focus of these has been on professional development for more effective and inclusive teaching methods, accessibility/UDL, technology, and assessment. For eight years, I led systemwide efforts related to Quality Learning and Teaching (online-blended-flipped-augmented), Universal Design for Learning/accessibility, Supplemental Instruction, and Transforming Course Design. Many of these projects have involved leading Professional Learning Communities toward more effective teaching-learning outcomes and Scholarship of Teaching and Learning outputs. Finally, I am actively engaged in research and dissemination related to professional development, teaching-learning effectiveness, accessibility, inclusivity, and instructional technology. This includes a broad range of pedagogical topics, educational uses of technology, as well as developing effective online resources for broader implementation. Related presentations and consultations have been at the national and int'l levels, including North America, South America, Europe, Middle East, and Asia. Specialties: instructional effectiveness; curriculum & instruction; accessibility; Universal Design for Learning; innovation, instructional technology; online learning; blended learning; diversity, equity, and inclusion; educational leadership; project management; professional learning communities; instructional continuity.
For over 25 years, Carrie O'Donnell has been a change-agent in the education industry, focusing on digital learning solutions for the workplace and higher education, and on using customer insight to build great learning experiences. Her firm, O’Donnell Learn, is a leading learning experience (LX) design agency in higher education. Founded 30 years ago as a virtual company, the team includes hundreds of learning designers who partner with institutions and their faculty to improve virtual or blended learning.

Extended Abstract