ION | Illinois Online Network

Making the Virtual Classroom a Reality

Foundations of Accessibility for Educators

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This instructor-led, four-week, fully-online course introduces the legal landscape of accessibility, universal design for learning, and course design principals. Participants will discover and discus issues in accessibility, and the gains which can be made from a universal design for learning approach.


This course is for faculty and staff who are interested learning about the legal and historical background of accessibility, universal design for learning, and applying these to course design.


  • History of disabilities accessibility laws in the United States
  • Types of disabilities and accommodations
  • Universal Design for Learning
  • Designing Courses for accessibility and the future


  • Module 1 - Overview of US history of disability and legal background to accessibility
  • Module 2 - Types of disabilities and accommodations
  • Module 3 - Universal Design for Learning
  • Module 4 - Course Design and the future



In threaded discussions via an asynchronous online discussion forum:

  • Learners will gain a general understanding of activists and their impact legal cases brought against institutions.
  • Learners will be able to conduct an analysis of institutional policies, state, and federal law.
  • Learners will gain an understanding of the potential work in making their own course content accessible.
  • Learners will be begin the process of thinking about future oriented and accessible course design.


This is a 4 week course.




  • Read the instructor's lesson introductions and linked articles.
  • Answer weekly discussion prompts.
  • Engage in positive and meaningful dialog with classmates concerning the course subject matter.


This course has a modular structure. Each unit is individually assessed, but successive units build on previous information. The course pedagogy is based on collaborative learning and group participation. Course content is delivered through the use of Web-based reading, and discussions between students and the instructor and among students. Discussion questions will form a basis for discussion.


This course requires 4-8 hours of work per week. The time commitment will vary depending an individual's input, needs, and personal study habits. Participants should log on to the course a minimum of 3 times a week..

Credit Options

4 CEUs may be earned through successful completion of 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
"A large part of what has me really jazzed about this online course we're doing is that it has me rethinking HOW I teach in both f2f and online settings."     

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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