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Accessibility Training for Teaching Assistants at USC: Universal Design for Learning

Organized and developed by a collaboration between Undergraduate Student Government (USG), Graduate Student Government (GSG) and USC Libraries as a resource for acccessibility training for teaching assistants.

Disability as a Spectrum


Universal Design for Learning


  • Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is an approach to teaching and learning that gives all students equal opportunity to succeed

    • Based on the approach of creating a classroom that uses a variety of teaching methods to reduce barriers to learning, facilitating individual engagement with course content.

    • NOT based on trying to teach ALL students ONE way

  • Making the classroom environment universally accessible benefits all students, not just those with disabilities.


Principles of UDL

1. Engagement

Look for ways to motivate learners and sustain their interest. Here are some examples:

  • Let people make choices 

  • Give assignments that feel relevant to their lives 

  • Make skillbuilding feel like a game 

  • Create opportunities for learners to get up and move around


2. Representation

Offer information in more than one format. For example, the instructor could provide a worksheet along with:

  • Audio, which could be as simple as saying the written directions out loud

  • Video showing how to solve one of the problems

  • Hands-on learning

  • Asynchronous lecture materials


3. Action and Expression

Give learners more than one way to interact with the material and to show what they know. For example, they might get to choose between:

  • Taking a pencil-and-paper test

  • Giving an oral report 

  • Making a video

  • Doing a group project


Making an Accessible Classroom

  • Incorporating breaks for long lectures

  • Facilitating low stakes group work exercises

  • Providing materials in various formats (pdf, Word doc, etc.)

  • Providing lecture materials beforehand

  • Giving students opportunities to choose the format of their assignments (eg group work vs individual work, written paper vs oral project)

  • Providing digital and audio resources (enlargement of text, text to speech)