Teaching Towards Access Reading Group

Are all students able to access the learning that happens in our classes? What would it mean to, as the Accessibility Education Center says, be “informed by and responsive to the diverse characteristics and experiences of students with disabilities and variations of ability”?  

The Teaching Towards Access Reading Group invites you to explore questions around designing for access in a friendly, collegial group. We will read and discuss articles and book excerpts, and discussions will provide an opportunity to approach issues around disability and access with curiosity and care, and as co-learners. All UO community members welcome. Feel free to join us every week, or to just drop in for selected conversations. Our first meeting will discuss the new Practitioner Guide: Accessibility, which centers UO student voices. 

Below, please find details about joining us, information about readings, introductions to the facilitators, and a resources section that will grow with your input.

Practical Details

When: Thursdays from 11:00--11:50AM during Winter 2022

Where: Hosted on Zoom 

Who: you, hopefully (all UO community members welcome, including students), and UOO and TEP facilitators Marla Wirrick and Laurel Bastian.

What texts: a detailed calendar will be added soon, but we will start this series on January 6th with the new Practitioner Guide: Access. We are excited to explore both academic articles and selected excerpts from The Inclusive Design Guide, the Inclusive Learning Design Handbook, and Inclusive Spectrums (written primarily by students).

Please consider joining us, and please contact lbastian@uoregon.edu with any questions.


Part of inclusive and accessible learning is collaboration; participant interest will guide our reading selections. Below, please see the readings we’ve identified for our first month together. During our first several sessions, we will invite participant what your interests, goals, questions, or favored resources, and will use that input to guide the remainder of our readings. 

We encourage people to come at the level of preparation and presence that works for you. For most weeks we have included both a very short “insight” (estimated less than one minute reading time) and a substantive one. If you’re interested in attending and were not able to complete the readings for whatever reason, please do still attend. Our goal in coming together is to learn through discussion.  

In addition to the selections you see below and those participants add, we are excited to explore excerpts from The Inclusive Design Guide, the Inclusive Learning Design Handbook, CAST's UDL materials, and Inclusive Spectrums (written primarily by students).

Date Topic Readings
Jan 6 What do UO students say about accessibility? 
Jan 13 What does “disability” mean in our contexts? 
Jan 20 What do “inclusion” and “access” mean in our contexts? 
Jan 27 What is “Universal Design for Learning” in higher education, and what are some examples of it?  
Feb 3 Since every course now uses Canvas, and many courses have multiple web-based components, how do we think about "digital accessibility”? 



Introductions to facilitators

We are choosing to include several-sentence bios here as intersecting identities and interests influence how we come into community. Here are several sentences about each of us; we hope to meet you.

Laurel Bastian is a Faculty Consultant with the Teaching Engagement Program. Prior to coming to UO, she taught writing and communications courses for a decade as a Senior Instructor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She identifies as someone with disabilities. In her first experience as an undergraduate, she dropped out after a year in large part because of access issues, returning ten years later. She is excited to learn more with others about access, disability, strategies like UDL and Inclusive Design, and making UO courses more accessible.

Marla Wirrick is an Instructional Designer with UO Online. Her previous work adapting in-person classes to online courses has given Marla an appreciation for the importance of accessibility, engagement, and inclusion in online learning. How we craft educational materials and the online experience to best serve everyone, regardless of circumstance, is what drives Marla’s interest in access and accessibility.



The growing list of resources below are ones we, or participants in the reading group, have appreciated learning from.

The Inclusive Design Research Center is "an international community of open source developers, designers, researchers, educators and co-designers who work together to proactively ensure that emerging technology and practices are designed inclusively." Three of the tools they've developed and/or supported that we recommend exploring are The Inclusive Design Guide, the Inclusive Learning Design Handbook, and Inclusive Spectrums. All of these are openly licensed.