ION | Illinois Online Network

Making the Virtual Classroom a Reality

Universal Design Principles for Online Learning

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In this hands-on course you will discover how principles of Universal Design can help you create course content that can be accessed and used by anyone, including people with disabilities. By the end of the course, participants will have a good understanding of Universal Design Principles for Online Learning, know potential accessibility/usability issues that need to be considered in course design, and be able to create more accessible/usable course content.


Online faculty members, instructional designers, and support staff interested online learning programs


  • Universal Design principles
  • Accessibility/usability issues for users with different disabilities
  • Creating usable/accessible HTML-based course content
  • Creating usable/accessible Microsoft Word documents.
  • Creating usable/accessible Microsoft PowerPoint presentations.
  • Creating usable/accessible Adobe PDF documents.
  • Understanding accessibility issues with multimedia content and potential solutions for them.



Participants will improve in understanding and functional design skills that can be applied to creating and delivering more accessible and usable course content and online content.



The course is eight weeks in length.


Participants should have familiarity with with Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Adobe PDF programs.


  • Read the instructor's introductions and assigned articles from the Web.
  • Answer weekly discussion questions.
  • Engage in positive and meaningful dialog with classmates concerning the course subject matter.
  • Complete the assignments in each module, reading and providing feedback to the assignments of other participants.


The course has a modular structure consisting of somewhat separate units. Each unit is individually assessed, but successive units build on previous information. The course pedagogy is based on collaborative learning and group participation. Content in the form of active asynchronous and synchronous chat participation, direct email, postings of materials, Web resources, and instructor notes are presented. Content in the form of student participation in discussion forums and comments on the ideas and work of others will also be present. Links to outside sources are required through which students will acquire more in depth information on some topics.


This is an intensive course requiring about 8-10 hours a week. The time commitment will vary depending the individual's input, needs, and personal study habits. Students are required to log on to the course a minimum of 3 times a week.

Credit Options

Continuing Education Credit (CEU Credit)

8 Continuing education units (CEU credit) are available for this course.


A fee is incurred for anyone enrolled in an Advanced Online Seminar, although there is a discount for ION members. (Only Diamond level ION partners are exempt.) The fee is determined by the number of contact hours and online discussion requirements for the course. To view the fee schedule for a specific section of this course, visit the Schedule and click on the link for that section (e.g. TM1051).

Taking a course for Graduate Credit through the University of Illinois at Springfield (UIS):
Most MVCR courses [not the Advanced Online Seminars] may be taken for graduate credit through UIS. You do not pay twice if you choose this route. You pay only the tuition and fees associated with UIS enrollment. If you choose to enroll through UIS, you need to follow the instructions. You do not register through this site.

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Taking Courses for Academic Credit

Most 8-week MVCR courses can also be taken for academic credit through the University of Illinois at Springfield.

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Suggested Tracks

Instruction Centric

  • Online Learning
  • Instructional Design
  • Student Assessment
  • Encouraging Comm.
  • Elective
  • Practicum

Technology Centric

  • Online Learning
  • Technology Tools
  • Instructional Design
  • Student Assessment
  • Elective (Multimedia or Sims, Labs, Games, and VR)
  • Practicum

Support Professional

  • Online Learning
  • Instructional Design
  • Student Assessment
  • Universal Design
  • Elective (Supporting Students, Copyright, Global eLearning, Blended/Hybrid, Librarians Collaborating, Multimedia Principles)
  • Practicum

COLA - track

  • Administration Seminar
  • Quality Assurance
  • Issues and Strategies in Faculty Training
  • Supporting Students Online

Choose one of the following three for your elective:

  • Administration of Online Programs
  • Copyright
  • Blended - Hybrid Learning Design and Instruction
  • Practicum for Administrators
What They're Saying
"The more I learn about online instruction, the more I see what can be applied in the traditional classroom."     

MVCR Participant

Award winning courses

The MVCR program won the Award for Excellence in ALN Faculty Develop-ment (in conjunction with other ION programs) from the Sloan-consortium in 2002. One of our instructors won the WebCT Exemplary Online Course Award for an MVCR course as well.

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