information literacy, asynchronous instruction, Canvas, accessibility, universal design for learning


In the summer of 2020, I embarked on a project to redesign an asynchronous Introduction to Research Strategies course. Historically, the course had been used to supplement face-to-face library instruction for undergraduate college composition and student success courses. The author began by evaluating the accessibility of the course and discovered some issues with readability and consistency. After the outbreak of COVID, the library ceased in-person instruction and moved all library instruction online. The number of requests for synchronous sessions declined, but classes were still using the asynchronous course. As a result, these issues with accessibility and usability became even more pressing, since many students would only be receiving library instruction through the course. I consulted both the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1) and principles of Universal Design for Learning when reworking the course, adding alternative text to images, using headings and lists, creating meaningful hyperlinks, using high contrast colors, and using readable fonts. Rather than finding that these accessibility measures interfered with the aesthetics of the course, I found that these measures enhanced both the appearance and functionality of the course. This is the entire argument for using the principles of Universal Design for Learning: making materials usable to as many people as possible ends up benefitted all people not just those with or without certain abilities.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


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