Accessible Education

Accessible education is the process of designing courses and developing a teaching style to meet the needs of learners from a variety of backgrounds, abilities and learning styles.

The term accessible education has been adopted by the University of Guelph in order to capture the value of the following two frameworks that are recognized and used for improving the accessibility of university education:

Accessible education:

  • Takes into account a variety of student characteristics within the student body, including ethnic backgrounds, race, abilities, disabilities, age, gender, and language abilities
  • Does not compromise academic rigour
  • Is a proactive and inclusive way of teaching and designing courses and curriculum for students
  • Identifies and clearly expresses the essential course content—while recognizing that there is flexibility—or multiple methods in the way that students can express understanding of the essential course content
  • Is consistent with universally recognized principles of good teaching
  • Is consistent with the spirit of the Accessibility of Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), 2005

Brightspace (by D2L) is the learning management system (LMS) used at the University of Guelph. Referred to as CourseLink on campus, this learning environment is compliant with the World Wide Web Consortium's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0), an industry standard for creating accessible web content.

There are many built-in features of the LMS that can be adjusted to improve access for individuals with disabilities. If you are an instructor, there are some accessibility best practices that you can follow when designing your CourseLink course, including the setting of special release conditions, organizing content in a more accessible style, and using available accessible HTML templates.

For more information about accessibility and other recommended practices, visit D2L's Accessibility Resource Center or contact CourseLink Support.

Learn more about D2L's Accessibility Standards Compliance.

Accessibility Resources 

Accessibility Initiatives

OpenEd works with other departments at the University of Guelph to provide accessibility support and guidance on campus. We are active participants in various University accessibility committees and initiatives.

Accessible Instruction

With accessibility in mind, the University has put together links to a wide range of resources for course development, writing course outlines, and creating lectures.

Visit the University of Guelph Accessible Instruction Resources page for more information.

OpenEd Accessibility Brochures 

The University of Guelph has created a series of brochures that offer helpful tips for teaching students with:

Accessibility Events

Accessibility Conference

Directed towards attendees from the public and private sectors—including educators, IT managers and providers, web managers and content providers, course designers, and individuals who create and disseminate information—the conference raises awareness of information and communication accessibility issues and provides practical tools and strategies to incorporate accessibility into the real-world environment.

Please visit the Accessibility Conference website for more details.


Students with learning disabilities can face many unique challenges in the university setting. Pre-Flight attempts to help ease this transition with a week-long, jam-packed summer preparation program geared to give students the skills and information they need to be successful at university.

Learn more about Pre-Flight.

Accessibility Resources

OpenEd also provides accessibility consultation for faculty. Please contact CourseLink Support for more information.