Universal Design

Universal Design

The principle of universal design originated in architecture from the idea that a curb cut or ramp may have been designed to assist a small group of individuals with a specific need, such as wheelchair users, but are actually beneficial to the broader population such as children on bicycles or parents with strollers. The same is true in online courses. If a student in an online course has special accommodations, the student and instructor will work together with Disability Services to ensure that course materials meet the student’s needs. This may include transcription of audio content or conversion of written materials to MP3. However, just like a ramp is useful to bicyclists, closed captioning helps English language learners and those who prefer to read rather than listen to lecture content. 

Below are resources on building Universal Design into your course. For additional assistance contact facline@umass.edu. If you have a student who requires specific accommodations, please contact Disability Services

General information

Specific information for your course


Navigating Course Pages in Blackboard Learn using Window-Eyes (screen reader).


Alt Text: Two Key Elements for making your PowerPoint Accessible