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Increasingly, learners are pursuing degrees and professional development through online studies. According to a 2016 report 29% of Canadian university students are enrolled in at least one online course (Global Affairs Canada & Educonsillium, 2015, p. 52). At the same time the number of students in higher education with disabilities in also increasing. This growth combined with legislation such as the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), Section 508 of the U.S. Rehabilitation Act and the Special Education Needs and Disabilities Act (SENDA) in the United Kingdom, makes accessible and inclusive practices in educational environments an essential part of online course design and delivery.

This can be a daunting task to those not formally trained in course design or AODA standards. However, Universal Design, the idea that products and the environment should be accessible for all users, can help. Applying the principles of Universal Design to the online environment can serve as a guide and help make education accessible and usable for all users.


The materials on this site have been created to support course developers and course design teams to apply Universal Design best practices in the Design, Development, Delivery and Evaluation of online courses. This resource was developed and is hosted by Open Learning and Educational Support (OpenEd) at the University of Guelph.


This project was funded by eCampusOntario.

About eCampusOntario

eCampusOntario is a not-for-profit organization whose membership is composed of all publicly-funded colleges and universities in Ontario.

Their mandate is to promote access, collaboration and innovation in online and technology-enabled learning to enhance the student experience, support faculty development and extend Ontario's global reputation as a leader in teaching and learning through technology. Learn more about eCampusOntario.

Licensing Information

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) license.

This means that you are free to:

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  • Adapt - remix, transform, and build upon the material 

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

Accessibility Information

All materials have been designed to meet WCAG 2.0 AA accessibility standards. For more information, please email our main office.


Global Affairs Canada and EduConsillium. (2015). Online and distance education capacity of Canadian universities: Analysis and review. Retrieved from http://www.tonybates.ca/wp-content/uploads/ANALYSIS-AND-REVIEW-of-Canada-Distance-Education-2015-EN-final-1-1.pdf