I walked around my office today to see if it incorporated elements of universal design. Although we have a long (long) way to go, I was able to give a couple “thumbs up!”

To enter our office, there is an accessible entrance button that staff and visitors who use wheelchairs can use to automatically open the door. This is also a great feature for people whose hands are full and cannot reach the handle and who need the extra time the door stays open to pull the hand dolly through loaded with boxes.

All of the individual office and bathroom doors have a lever style handle instead of a knob making it easy for anyone to open a door. Our lights have been dimmmed so they are not as harsh (athough I think that may be only because our lazy landlord hasn’t replaced burned out bulbs).

And, we have several rolling computer cart stations that can be raised for those who need more height because of wheelchairs or beer guts!

We have libraries for those who want to get their text fix — lots of books and journals. A couple of our projects have developed on-line learning modules for professionals and parents – they incorporate slides, videos, audio, quizes, etc. We have a smart board – but no one really has been trained to use it! We also have capability to bring people who work off site into staff meetings through phone, video and things like ‘go to meeting’ – again, few take advantage of the technology. We have a fairly static website and I don’t think we put any staff time into our facebook or twitter accounts. We are missing out on reaching new audiences!

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5 responses »

  1. mcmahen says:

    Sound like your building is more accessible than the school I work at go students with disabilities. Is frustrating at times to go to the administration building that is right next door to our school. They have handicap switches for their doors, automatic paper towel dispensers, and automatic soap and water dispensers. We have basic UD but could use more.

    • Fran says:

      Nice Dana. You’ve addressed several of the areas noted among the 7 principles of universal design such as equitable use. How do you perceive technology expanding opportunities in your office under the UDL framework? What types of instructional strategies could improve the process and flow?

      • dvyarbrough says:

        One of the great opportunities we have coming up is moving to a new building. This move in two months allows us a small window to plan for some advanced technology in the new site. Because so many of our staff work off site, I would like to see expanded use of video conferencing; more use of docking stations for laptops, iPads and smartphones rather than big clunky desk top computers every where. I am hopeful that we will expand our use of on-line training that is reformatted to be engaging through use of videos, wikis, etc. We are fortunate that our university has a great center for teaching excellence and who offer lots of free consulting time to staff on the latests and greatest technological instruction strategies.

  2. dgarcia30 says:

    I can’t say the same about our building, sadly but it maybe because it is an old building that was suppose be demolished.

  3. dgarcia30 says:

    I can’t say the same about our building sadly but it maybe because it is an old building that was suppose be demolished.

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