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Make a More Inclusive Syllabus with Tulane’s Accessible Syllabus Project

small packages of useful things

Ok, I know it’s still June and so probably a little too early to be thinking about your fall syllabus. But if the alternative is thinking about #Brexit–or, worse, reflecting that “what is the EU?” is a top Google search *in* *England* today–maybe it’s not such a bad thing? I’m teaching a class this fall for the first time in a couple of years, and so I’ve been stealing a few minutes here and there to think about it.

Via Gerry Canavan, a syllabus-design resource that’s new to me is Tulane’s Accessible Syllabus site, which pulls together resources for syllabus design (including text and images) and policy that can make your syllabus more accessible, inclusive, and engaging. From the philosophy page:

This website is dedicated to helping instructors build a syllabus that plans for diverse student abilities and promotes an atmosphere in which students feel comfortable discussing their unique abilities. Countless instructors complain that students don’t read the syllabus. We believe students would use the document more effectively if it were designed more accessibly.

Accessibility is necessary for all learning, and disability studies provides a key lens through which to question our classroom practices and resources. To create more inclusive teaching, instructors must plan for diversity in the classroom and adapt to the immediate needs of students.

The resources assembled by Anne-Marie Womack and her team are super-helpful, and range from relatively familiar advice (make sure your web-available documents work with screenreaders; present information in different modes; don’t rely on hue to differentiate information) to things that were legitimately new-to-me, like Twitter’s Alt Text Bot, which will, if you feed it an image, try to give you an ALT text description for your website. Cool!

Even if you’re not ready to face your syllabus yet, it’s a good resource to bookmark! How about you? Do you have preferred resources for designing an accessible syllabus? Let us know in comments!

Photo “Help Remedies Kit” by Flickr user Juhan Sonin / Creative Commons licensed BY-2.0

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