Inclusive environments

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When designing an inclusive educational environment, it is necessary to consider many aspects so that all students have equitable access to learning. This requires an understanding of some principles.

" ... understanding of inclusive design is one that includes universal design principles. It also advocates inclusion of social factors, such as language and culture, and other learner characteristics, such as age" (Dyjur, 2004, p. 3). Taken from Inclusive practices in instructional design.

Physical on-campus environments
These have evolved over the years and have thankfully become more inclusive for students with disability and specific physical needs. For example, access to classrooms and around the campus for wheelchairs, note takers who can record notes in a lecture for students unable to do so, and desks that can be configured more easily.
Online learning environments
Using universal design principles to incorporate educational technology is necessary here. For example, ensuring that the online interface is easily readable for students who are colour blind requires a consideration of the colours that are used. Software applications are available for students with sight impairments so that the text is read to them as audio. However, this does require that care is taken with the size and fonts that are used.
Also, the formats of files and other material need to be universal to enable as many people as possible to open or download them. Free open source software has developed to help accomodate this. For example, Adobe reader for pdf (portable document formats) files, mp4 and mp3 for video files.