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Portfolio Project: Creating Universally Designed

Content for Online Course Delivery

EDUC 765: Trends and Issues in Instructional Design
By: Melissa Smiley

Submitted 09/06/2015
This content would be designed for a specific audience as part of the
University of Wisconsin Colleges Online faculty development series. The
faculty and instructional academic staff at UW Colleges Online consists of
individuals with terminal or masters degrees in their field of expertise. Many
of the faculty and IAS have taught for the UW Colleges in a face-to-face
capacity, though some have taught in the online format for many years. The
faculty and IAS for UW Colleges are located across 13 brick and mortar
campuses and some of the faculty specifically teaching for UW Colleges
Online are located out of the State of Wisconsin and or out of the United
States of America.
This project would be delivered through the learning management (LMS)
system known as Brightspace by D2L (D2L) and would be delivered in an
asynchronous setting with optional synchronous components via Blackboard
Collaborate. This course would be addressing the issue of creating
universally designed content that meets the WCAG 2.0 and Section 508
standards for online course delivery. Furthermore, this course would address
issues relating to creating multi-modal content to accommodate VARK
learning modalities and address student learning preferences. This course
would address Universal Instructional Design (UID) pedagogies and best
practices, creating multi-modal content and recognizing VARK learning
modalities, addressing common learning disabilities and hidden disabilities of
online learners (i.e. dyslexia, comprehension disorders, cognitive, intellectual
and developmental disabilities, etc), and address how to assess content for
usability and accessibility standards using the WAVE tool.
The overall goal of this course would be to not only encourage faculty and
IAS to utilize UID strategies when creating online and F2F content, but to also
use a proactive approach to creating online learning content. Furthermore,
faculty and IAS should be able to recognize Section 508 and WCAG 2.0
standards, and feel comfortable creating multi-modal content for an
engaging and accessible course.


Project Title
Creating an Accessible Online Classroom (AOC 101)

Sponsoring Organization
University of Wisconsin Colleges Online and Distance Education
University of Wisconsin Colleges Online and Distance Education (UWCO) is responsible for the
online course delivery of courses related to the Associates Degree to students in an
asynchronous, online format. UWCO also awards Associates Degrees to individuals who
complete the 60 credit requirements online. The mission of UWCO is an institutional mission
adopted by the Board of Regents and UW Colleges Senate and is stated as follows:
The University of Wisconsin Colleges is a multi-campus institution committed to high quality
educational programs, preparing students for success at the baccalaureate level of education,
providing the first two years of a liberal arts general education that is accessible and affordable,
providing a single baccalaureate degree that meets local and individual needs, and advancing the
Wisconsin Idea by bringing the resources of the University to the people of the state and the
communities that provide and support its campuses1.

Project Description
Lead and section instructors for UWCO work closely with their instructional design consultants
to create online courses for students. However, many courses were designed and put online under
previous leadership that did not follow Section 508 or WCAG 2.0 web accessibility standards.
As a result, many courses have high amounts of accessibility errors that can have a negative
effect on students who use assistive technologies or have other disabilities. By participating in a
5-week professional development course aimed at creating accessible course content, faculty,
IAS, and other academic staff would be able to continue to uphold the mission of the Colleges by
providing accessible and affordable courses for students in an online format. Furthermore,
providing instructors with this course will decrease the amount of web accessibility errors found
in courses and provide an overall better product and experience for students.

To increase instructor practice of Section 508 and WCAG 2.0 accessibility standards in online
courses delivered by University of Wisconsin Colleges Online and Distance Education.

Target Audience
The target audience will consist of a cohort of approximately 15-20 faculty, instructional
academic staff, and or non-instructional academic staff currently under teaching contracts for the
University of Wisconsin Colleges Online and Distance Education. The target audience will have
terminal and or advanced degrees in their academic specialty. The target audience may currently
be teaching in a face-to-face format, an asynchronous online format, or a combination of both
formats. The target audience may be located within the State of Wisconsin, or outside of the
State of Wisconsin or outside of the United States of America. The target audience may have
some prior knowledge of web accessibility standards and will be participating in this cohort as
part of professional development and growth.

Delivery Options
This course will be delivered in an asynchronous online format, located within UWCOs learning
management system known as Brightspace by D2L (D2L). All of the participants in the course
will have access to course materials as an enrolled student, removing any instructor, lead
instructor, or administrative privileges they may hold in other areas of D2L.


Instructional Need
As shown by the current Online Web Accessibility Analysis for UW Colleges
Online, courses within the LMS offered by UWCO contain web accessibility
errors and usability alerts that may make courses inaccessible for students
with disabilities. Usability alerts create issues for assistive technologies and
require additional accommodation services or alternative material formats in
order for students to properly and fairly have access to the same course
materials that non-disabled peers have. Trends within the Colleges have
shown that faculty and instructional academic staff (IAS) rarely have a full
understanding of Section 508 and WCAG 2.0 standards, often times
submitting course materials to instructional designers that is inaccessible by
web accessibility standards. The instructional designers then, to the best of
their abilities, work with the content to upload accessible content into online
courses. However, instructors often times add, modify, or adjust the content
based upon the instructional needs of the students and deviate from best
practices of instructional design and neglecting web accessibility standards
altogether. With a comprehensive professional development course,
instructors can learn about web accessibility standards, why they are
important, and how to efficiently apply these standards to their course
content, free of charge. Currently, faculty and IAS cannot teach for UWCO
unless they have successfully completed another professional development
course offered by UWCO entitled Teaching an Online Course 101 (TOL 101).
UWCO also provides another professional development course entitled
Designing an Online Course 101 (DOC 101), which does cover some web
accessibility standards and practices. AOC 101 would provide more in-depth,
comprehensive study of web accessibility standards, HTML 5, CSS, and a
continuous discussion of how online accessibility benefits all online learners,
regardless of self-reported disabilities.
UWCO currently provide two professional development courses (TOL
101 and DOC 101) and this additional course would be a new
professional development series that would compliment the additional
series, but could stand alone from the other series as well.
Currently, courses running for UWCO have numerous accessibility and
usability errors and alerts that will hinder the success of students with
self-reported disabilities and students with hidden or non-reported
In order to continue to uphold the mission of the Colleges and promote
the Wisconsin Idea, UWCO faculty and IAS must be able to practice and
apply web accessibility standards in order to provide a quality product,
increase retention rates, and provide student-centered course design
and delivery.

Ideally, as more faculty and IAS participate in and complete the AOC
101 course, the annual Online Web Accessibility Analysis would show
fewer accessibility errors and usability alerts, thus creating more
accessible courses for online delivery.


Learner Analysis
Primary Audience
Faculty holding current contracts for teaching with UW Colleges
Instructional Academic Staff (IAS) holding current contracts for
teaching with UW Colleges Online
Non-Instructional Academic Staff working in support staff positions
throughout the 14 UW Colleges campuses
Secondary Audience
Librarian staff on current academic term contracts
Administrative staff who participate in development of online
Instructional designers and LMS administrators lacking Section 508
and WCAG 2.0 training
General Learner Characteristics
Education: Terminal and or advanced degree completion
Work Experience: 1-2 years teaching an asynchronous, online
Technology: Basic knowledge and usage of a Windows based or Mac
based operating system
Entry Characteristics
Some participants may have helped design an online course, but
not practiced web accessibility standards
Some participants may be motivated to take web accessibility
course to provide accessible courses in both online and F2F formats
Some participants may participate with the belief that web
accessibility is irrelevant to their work

Contextual Analysis
Orienting Context
Participants want to learn more about web accessibility standards and
how to apply the standards efficiently

Participants who complete the course will be able to practice web

accessibility standards in online courses and reduce the need for
accommodation services for students
Participants will be able to produce better instructional content for
online courses, providing a better quality product for students,
increasing retention rates
Participants may believe that web accessibility is something that just
happens or is the sole responsibility of the instructional designer

Instructional Context
5 week course that offers a new module each week with a final 6th
week of review and participant led question, answer, and peer
Course will be housed in D2L
Course will consist of text based, video, audio, and additional material
delivery options
Course will be in an asynchronous format, with weekly end dates for
Participants are required to have a personal computer or laptop,
webcam, microphone, and speakers or headset
Additional software licenses needed for participant course completion
will be provided by UW Colleges Online
Transfer Context
Ideally, participants will have just completed TOL 101 or DOC 101
within the past academic year and are scheduled to redesign an
existing course or develop a new course within the coming academic
Participants are expected to work with Online Course Support Specialist
to conduct minor course revisions to correct current accessibility errors
within courses
Participants will work with instructional design consultants and online
course support specialist in order to practice skills learned upon
completion of course


Application of Learning Theories
This course would focus on a series of projects and assessments that would
allow participants to compile an online portfolio showing the application,
understanding, and practice of web accessibility standards. Participants
would be expected to participate in low-stakes collaborative discussions that
would be designed to enhance collaboration, critical thinking, and analytical
application of the module outcomes and materials. Participants will find
relevance in the materials as they will be required to use their current online
course materials for practicing of web accessibility standards. Since the
course will not be required of all faculty and IAS prior to teaching an online
course for UWCO, participants will be actively enrolling on their own
motivation and desires to learn the content, thus, a desire to improve online
course delivery, the student experience, and continue to promote the
mission of the Colleges.

Application of Motivational Theories

The primary audience for this course are adult learners, typically with a
terminal or advanced degree. In this instance, following the principles of
andragogy will be exceptionally crucial. Andragogy states that adult learners
learn best when they know why they need to learn something, that the
learning is exponential, that they will be solving a problem, and that the
topic is of immediate value. Appealing to a combination of intrinsic and
extrinsic motivation strategies will be important when designing the content
for this course. For this course, the principles of andragogy will be applied in
the following ways:
Web accessibility is important to learn to create content that not only
creates an inclusive learning environment but also complies with
federally mandated standards
Learning will comprise of a series of hands-on tasks that involve
creating web accessible content for course delivery and a series of
activities and examples that show what a disabled learner might
experience in an online classroom
Problem-solving strategies will be used in a variety of collaborative and
independent means of activities, including, but not limited to
understanding hypothetical accessibility issues in online learning
Immediate value of the course will be shown through course
development in the LMS through independent sandboxes, where the
participants will be able to display and share their work in D2L with the
facilitator and their peers

To motivate a variety of adult learners who have potentially reached the end
of their degree progression, I will need to practice intrinsic and extrinsic
motivation strategies to promote learning and keep the participants
engaged. A majority of the participants, if not all of the participants, will be
completing the course while teaching either face-to-face or online courses, or
a combination of both. Therefore, this content will be competing with strong
outside variables that are demanding of the participants time and attention.
This course will need to be facilitated in an exciting way, particularly as the
content is, by nature, rather dry and technical. Furthermore, facilitation will
need to involve a strong outreach to get to know the participants and remain
flexible to their time demands. The course will need to implore several reallife or hypothetical examples that keep the content relevant and engaging
for the participants so they can fully understand how the material affects
online learning for students. The course will utilize several cooperative
learning activities and hands-on activities that allow students to engage with
their peers and colleagues, and receive feedback beyond what the facilitator
has to offer as feedback. This course will also set goals and expectations that
are realistic for the participants. Many participants may have never been
involved in the design of an online course, and as a result, expectations of
the participants cannot exceed skill level. Furthermore, as stated previously,
participants will have varying competitions for time and cannot feel
overwhelmed by participating in this course. Since the course will not be
given for credit, but a completion certificate for professional development,
emphasis on grading will be low-stakes with greater emphasis on feedback,
peer collaboration, and formative assessment strategies that allow for
continued development of learning. It will also be important to provide
constructive feedback and praise to participants so that they do not lose
interest in the content or material. As they continue to learn the content,
they may feel less motivated as they gain knowledge and do not see the
praise or feedback in response. Therefore, it will be important to provide
verbal feedback in both the public setting (i.e. discussions) and privately via
email or phone conversations. Finally, participants will be able to choose a
variety of activities that fit their personal learning styles and time they can
commit to the course. Since I already know the content, my goal isnt to
continue to prove my knowledge, rather, I want to engage the participants in
a series of activities that allow them to feel most comfortable with the
material. Assessment activities may range from choosing between hands-on
activities for portfolio projects, engaging in collaborative discussions, or
writing reflections of the materials they learned. Collaborative activities will
consist of choosing between providing a group document for Section 508
standards in an online collaboration tool or in-depth small group discussions.
This can provide the participants with a more active learning experience and
giving them more control over how to be assessed for the materials.

Impact of a Diverse Audience on Instruction

Through collaboration with colleagues who have worked with the general
faculty and instructional academic staff (IAS) throughout the 13 UW Colleges,
I know that the general audience will be exceptionally diverse in many ways.
Some of the participants will have terminal degrees in their general field of
expertise; some will have a Masters degree in their field of expertise. As for
referring to analytics about the participants in our professional development
series, we do not collect a pool of metrics to determine the following qualities
of the learners: self-reported disabilities, hidden disabilities, preferred modes
of learning, intrinsic or extrinsic motivational cues, technical knowledge and
practice, or any other related metrics to analyze the participants. Generally
speaking, we know the participants names and disciplines, and we can get a
sense of how long they have generally been teaching with the Colleges, their
traditional mode of teaching, and any leadership roles they have undertaken
while with the Colleges. Therefore, AOC 101 must be designed to
accommodate various adult learning styles. With an average completion rate
of 50% for the additional two professional development series, creating
materials, assessments, and modular content that is engaging, motivational,
and clearly states the purpose of why this content is important and relevant.
Our audience has shown that there are a series of different attitudes
regarding web accessibility standards and often times, we are asked why do
I have to do this? Occasionally, we have participants who understand what
web accessibility is, who it serves, and the purpose behind learning web
accessibility. Collaboration with colleagues will be an important component
to this course as the participants will be able to draw off of each others
professional and personal experiences, attitudes, and even experiences with
disability discrimination.


Accessibility standards in online learning is an important issue in higher
education. Faculty and instructional academic staff (IAS) often times are
unaware of the importance of this issue or do not fully understand web
accessibility legality issues. Furthermore, it is rarely communicated the
importance of creating inclusive online classrooms to promote the mission of
the institution, that includes access and all-inclusive learning environments.
Students with disabilities are disadvantaged by their learning environment
when designers, faculty, and IAS are not practicing web accessibility
standards. Providing professional development opportunities for online
instructors and designers is important for institutions to remain on the
proactive end of accessible learning content and activities. As a result, a
professional development course that is similar to typical asynchronous
online eLearning can help faculty and IAS develop the skills necessary to
provide accessible content to students. Through a series of hands-on
activities, faculty and IAS will better understand how to implement web
accessibility standards and practice these standards when creating content
for eLearning.

Task Analysis Method

Utilizing a developer modeling method, the analysis is explained through the content in the topic
analysis and demonstrating the steps in the procedural analysis. Furthermore, this methodology
allows for a check of understanding and interpretation of the content by the designer, allowing
for adjustments to be made to identify additional learning needs or adjustments of tasks to ensure
the performance has a strong correlation to the learning objectives.

Task Analysis
Learners will know:
What is web accessibility, Section 508, and WCAG 2.0 standards
What is differentiated instruction
What is VARK learning modalities
What are adaptive technologies
What assessments strategies promote inclusive eLearning
How to evaluate online content for web accessibility
Learners will be able to:
Define UID pedagogies and best practices
Create content that is designed using UID pedagogies and web
accessibility standards
Apply technologies and tools to create multi-modal content supporting
VARK learning modalities
Articulate differentiated instructional strategies and integrate projectbased learning methods to support learning objectives


Create assessments that promote differentiated instruction strategies

and utilize feedback as an assessment tool
Utilize technologies and tools to assess content for Section 508 and
WCAG 2.0 compliance
Learners will understand the following:
Overarching goals and benefits of universal instructional design and
web accessibility standards
Implications of inaccessible web content and disadvantages to the
student experience
Impacts of learning modalities in online learning pedagogies
Conceptualize differentiating content does not compromise content
depth and impact
Usability and accessibility implications on content absorption and the
ability for students to meet the learning objectives
Need for differentiated assessment strategies and utilizing feedback as
an assessment tool



Project (Instructional) Goal
By the end of the course, learners should be able to identify pedagogies and
best practices of universal instructional design to provide web accessible
content for an inclusive online learning environment. With the assistance of
modular based learning guides, the participants in this course will complete a
series of learning objectives that are done through activities and evidence
reflected on a portfolio. This final portfolio will reflect concepts of the
instruction, the relationship the learners maintained with the learning
objectives, and the activities that provided the cognitive and constructivist
applications of the content.
1. Goal: Identifying the importance of web accessibility for course content
a. Defining universal instructional design
i. Complete the required readings and view the content
provided for the goal
b. Express why universal instructional design is important in online
i. Participate in small group collaborative brainstorming
1. Discuss diversity of students with disabilities in an
online setting
ii. Explore interactive simulations of what students with
disabilities experience using the Internet and viewing
inaccessible web content
c. Determine the students/learners who benefit from UID
i. Participate in large group discussion
1. Identify barriers that can prevent students with
disabilities from participating in online courses
d. Communicate UID pedagogies and best practices
i. Write reflection piece that incorporates pedagogies of UID
and professional experiences
ii. Provide a table, outline, or graphic diagram explaining the
pedagogies of UID to use as an artifact for the final
2. Goal: Summarize Section 508 & WCAG 2.0 Standards
a. Define Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 & 508
i. Complete the required readings and view the content
provided for the goal
b. State WCAG 2.0 standards
i. Participate in group activity to create a WCAG 2.0 tip sheet
to be used as a portfolio artifact
c. Communicate efficiencies in designing content with accessibility
from the beginning


i. Participate in large group discussion outlining the 7

principals to create accessible content
ii. Write a reflection piece that addresses the 7 principals
from the reading to accommodate the student-centered
aspects of content creation
d. Recognize various adaptive technologies that communicate with
i. Research various adaptive technologies and create a
teach-back piece using a graphic organizer, outline, or
ii. Discuss your findings with peers in a large group discussion
iii. Upload your teach-back piece as a portfolio artifact
3. Goal: Identifying VARK learning modalities to create multi-modal
content for online learning
a. Define VARK learning modalities and understand the
metacognitive theories behind content creation
i. Read the required learning materials and content for the
ii. Participate in the VARK learning inventory and reflect upon
the results you received
b. Articulate strategies for creating multi-modal content
i. Display understanding of the modalities and the mode of
content delivery that can accommodate each modality
1. Create a chart, graphic, or outline that describes
each modality and a method to deliver content in an
accommodating modality
2. Utilize this activity as a portfolio artifact
c. Be able to apply various technologies, software, and tools to
create multi-modal content
i. Small group collaboration to discuss various software, Web
2.0, and content creation technologies to create multimodal content
d. Verbalize and practice communication with colleagues to assist
in the creation of multi-modal content for eLearning
i. Large group discussion to practice communication needed
to promote learning modalities and creation of multi-modal
4. Goal: Create and identify differentiated instruction for online learning
a. Define differentiated instruction
i. Complete required readings and content absorption for the
ii. Write a learner analysis as a portfolio artifact
b. Articulate what tiered assignments are and how they benefit
i. Create an example of a tiered assignment that reflects
concepts throughout the portfolio

c. Communicate how project based learning differentiates online

learning without compromising content or learning objectives
i. Large group collaboration in a discussion setting
1. Provide professional experience or additional
examples of project based learning strategies to
support learning objectives
d. Define differentiated instruction reflections on practice
i. Write a reflection piece of how you have experienced
differentiated instruction and how it impacted your learners
or how you learned the content
5. Goal: To evaluate designed content for usability and accessibility
a. Utilize WAVE tool and how to use it to assess content accessibility
i. Download the WAVE toolbar for Firefox or the WAVE Google
Chrome Extension in the Google Chrome web browser
ii. Practice using the WAVE tool on various web pages
1. Use one piece of assessed content (i.e. screenshot)
as a portfolio artifact
2. Write an analysis of the assessed content listing the
alerts and errors found, why they are important to
accessibility, and the recommendations to correct
the alerts and errors
b. Define usability and accessibility alerts and errors
i. Read the required readings for the module
1. Discussion in a large group the differences between
usability and accessibility alerts and errors and how
they impact the student experience (end-user)
c. Articulate content evaluation strategies based on Section 508
and WCAG 2.0 standards
i. Small group discussion discuss how you will hold your
content accountable using the WAVE tool and how you will
communicate that accountability
6. Goal: How to create assessment tools and practice assessment
strategies that practice UID pedagogies
a. Communicate how learning theories impact creating assessment
i. Large group discussion where students collaborate which
learning theory best supports web accessibility
1. Define social justice learning theory
2. Apply a learning theory to the mission of creating an
inclusive learning environment
b. Define formative and summative assessments
i. Read the required learning materials and content for the
ii. Create an example of a summative assessment and an
example of a formative assessment
1. Utilize these assessments as a portfolio artifact

2. Discuss how to use feedback as an assessment

strategy to promote pedagogies of UID
c. Articulate student-centered assessment strategies
i. Provide your peers, in a small group discussion post, your
assessment strategies
ii. Respond to peers assessment strategies
iii. Post peer feedback in portfolio artifact on assessment
d. Explain how VARK and learning modalities can impact
assessment creation strategies
i. Write a reflection piece connecting what youve learned
about VARK learning modalities and how that impacts
creating assessments for student evaluation

Terminal Objectives and Enabling Objectives

To identify the importance of web accessibility for course content

o Define universal instructional design
o Express why UID is important in online learning
o Determine who benefits from UID
o Communicate UID pedagogies and best practices

To summarize the basics of Sections 508 and WCAG 2.0 standards

when designing online content
o Define ADA and Section 504 & 508
o State WCAG 2.0 standards
o Communicate efficiencies in designing content with accessibility
standards from the beginning
o Recognize various adaptive technologies that communicate with
web content

To identify VARK learning modalities to create multi-modal content for

online learning
o Define VARK learning modalities
o Articulate strategies for creating multi-modal content
o Application of tools to create multi-modal content
o Verbalize interaction strategies to assist in creating multi-modal

To create differentiated instruction for online learning

o Define differentiated instruction
o Articulate what tiered assignments are and how they benefit


o Communicate how project-based learning differentiates online

o Define differentiated instruction reflections on practice

To evaluate designed content for usability and accessibility

o Utilize WAVE tool and how to use it to assess content accessibility
o Define usability and accessibility alerts and errors
o Articulate content evaluation strategies based on Section 508
and WCAC 2.0 standards

To create assessment tools and practice assessment strategies that

practice UID pedagogies
o Communicate how learning theories impact creating assessment
o Define formative and summative assessments and how to use
feedback as an assessment tool
o Articulate student-centered assessment strategies
o Explain how VARK learning modalities can impact assessment
creation strategies


Title of the unit/module: What is Universal Instructional Design
List Terminal Objective Here: To identify the importance of web accessibility for course
Enabling Objectives:
Define Universal Instructional Design
Express why UID is important in online learning
Determine who benefits from UID
Communicate UID pedagogies and best practices
List Pre-instructional Strategy: Multi-modal content delivery with graphics, textual based
materials, instructor videos and educational videos
Level on
Learner Activity (What
would learners do to master
ure, self-paced,
or small group)
l, or
Comprehension Concept
Independently research web
Discuss in a
accessibility statements from large group
various companies (i.e.
discussion post

of web
y and what
it means
for online

Google, Apple, Amazon, etc)

theory that







Visit the 4 offered

simulations, follow the
directions on the page to
complete the simulations to
experience what individuals
with disabilities experience
when using the Internet

the findings
from the
research on web
statements from
companies of
their choosing.
Discuss in a
small group
how UID is
affected by
disciplines in
the design
process. Are
some courses
more difficult to
adhere to UID
principles than
Reflection write
up to be added
to ePortfolio.
Students should
write about the
experience and
how it changes
their perception
of individuals
with disabilities
using the web.
They should
note any
with the


to create


Create an ePortfolio, and the

first artifact will be the
simulation experience from
the application activity in the
first module

Students will
need to take
screenshots of
their simulation
activity and
post the images
to their
ePortfolio with
the reflection

Pilner, S., & Johnson, J. (2004). Historical, theoretical, and foundational principles of universal
instructional design in higher education. Equity & Excellence in Education, 37, 105-113.
Higbee, J., & Goff, E. (2008). Pedagogy and student services for institutional transformation:
Implementing universal design in higher education. Minneapolis, MN: Center for
Research on Developmental Education and Urban Literacy, University of Minnesota.



Please see the final project rubric at: and the
reflection paper rubric at: