Universal Design for Learning

Through Avila University's Community Values, we are committed to applying universal design for learning principles in our online course offerings so that all students have access to course content.

Community Values
  • Excellence in teaching and learning
  • The Catholic identity of the University
  • The sponsorship and contribution of the Sisters of St. Joseph
  • The worth, dignity, and potential of each human being
  • Diversity and its expression
  • Commitment to the continual growth of the whole person
  • Interaction with and service to others
This site provides guidelines and resources for Avila faculty and instructional designers engaged in creating online content.

For more information, contact Mark Eaton, Ph.D., Associate Vice President for Instructional Technology.

ANGEL and 508

ANGEL has a 508 compliance mode where students can create accessibility profiles. The YouTube video shows how a profile is created and used.

While ANGEL provides a basic 508 compliance capability, it generally only works with content that has been authored within the course using standard HTML tags. Content such as PowerPoint, Word, PDF documents, and YouTube videos may not be 508 compliant; however, these content items can be created for accessibility by following basic standards and simple guidelines.

508 Profiles in ANGEL


Logo and link for Section508.gov.
Section508.gov is the federal government website that provides 508 standards. These standards are used by federal and state governments to improve website accessibility. Universities are encouraged and sometimes required to comply with these standards for online courses and other websites.

Real Connections: Making Distance Learning Accessible to Everyone

Accessible PDF Documents at Avila

UDL Guidelines - Version 2.0

National Center of Universal Design for Learning logo.
UDL website that defines UDL and explains the three guiding principles for UDL
  1. Provide multiple means of representation.
  2. Provide multiple means of action and expression.
  3. Provide multiple means of engagement.

Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST)

Center for Applied Special Technology Icon
The Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) is a nonprofit research and development organization for UDL.

The mission of the center is to expand learning opportunities for all individuals, especially those with disabilities, through the research and development of innovative, technology-based educational resources and strategies.

Teaching Every Student book cover.

An excellent resource on UDL and learning styles is Teaching Every Student which can be purchased or surveyed on the CAST website.

Web Accessibility Evaluation Site

Web Accessibility Evaluation Site Icon
This is a website you can use to evaluate your course website for accessibility.

The DRM WebWatcher

Web Design Icon.
Disability Resources Monthly (DRM) lists resources web designers can use to improve accessibility of their websites. These guides equally apply to online course design at Avila University.


Canvas Implementation

According Daniel Fusch, Director of Publications & Research in his blog Improving the Accessibility of Online Course Materials at Academic Impressions, there are two things we can do to improve accessibility. 1) Vet Potential Vendors and 2) Coach Faculty.
In our choice of Canvas as our replacement learning management system we have selected an environment that recevied Gold certification from the National Federation for the Blind. This means the design of the system considers accessibility.
But now we must ensure that academic content added to the site meets minimum accessibility standard. Information Services will provide faculty training in the Spring. Follow the implementation progress of Canvas at blog.avila.edu/canvas.