Accessible Learning Services
Accessible Learning Services (ALS) is a resource for students, faculty and staff at GBC to support the inclusion of a diverse student population. ALS facilitates equitable access to education for students with disabilities in accordance with the Ontario Human Rights Code.
Accessible Learning Services works within a framework that barriers are not within the individual, but rather within the environment. For example, when information is provided only in an auditory format in a lecture-based classroom environment, a barrier is created. This can limit the participation of all students and their opportunity to access vital information. To ensure full participation, best practices recommends providing multiple ways of accessing information (e.g. electronic format). This limits barriers to learning and promotes inclusion of diverse individuals. Once students register with ALS and meet with their Accessibility Consultant, they discuss barriers to learning and create a customized accommodation plan based on the student’s documented disability, their experience in the classroom and the requirements of the program.
Partnering with Faculty
Accessible Learning Services is multidisciplinary and assigned to specific academic programs which facilitates familiarity with the program, course content and delivery. This allows us to collaborate and support faculty to ensure reasonable and effective accommodations for students as well as ensuring that new barriers are not created. ALS helps faculty to problem-solve around removing barriers within the learning environment by:
- Advising faculty on accessible course materials and providing resources
- Consulting and designing tailor made inclusive classroom environments
- Attending faculty meetings to discuss barrier prevention
Universal Design for Learning
Creating usable, equitable, sustainable and inclusive environments is a shared responsibility. In order to achieve equitable access and reduce barriers, ALS promotes Universal Design for Learning (UDL) as a framework. UDL is achieved through the development of flexible instructional methods, materials, and assessments. To learn more about UDL, see the Library’s webpage on UDL.
If you as a Faculty member have questions about inclusive classroom practices, are looking for some easy to implement strategies that widen access or have been approached by a student who experiences barriers in their learning environment, please feel free to contact the Consultant who works with your department.