Syllabus Features

“Disability studies reminds compositionists that our programs, curricula, and classes are designed to work for only some bodies, not for all bodies: This applies to both our students and our professional colleagues.  Re-thinking composition from a disability studies perspective reminds us that we too often design writing instruction for individuals who type on a keyboard and too easily forget those who use blow tubes, that we have a habit of creating assignments for those who read text with their eyes and a related habit of forgetting those who read through their fingertips, that we too often privilege students who speak up in class and too often forget those who participate most thoughtfully via email.”

-From “Multimodality in Motion”

These words remind us that UDL must be implemented from the ground up; before we ever set foot into a writing classroom, we must devise syllabi and lesson plans that accommodate as best as possible every student who wishes to take part in our courses. From disability access statements and writing assignments to participation requirements and presence/absence criteria, composition instructors will best serve their students by drafting course policies through the lens of disability studies and Universal Design for Learning.

Remember the above assertions when outlining your own syllabi, including the reading and essay assignments you intend to require. Additionally, consider incorporating student input into the syllabus creation process; by including individual needs, interests, and desires in your composition course, you will ensure that you are constructing a personal, accessible environment and adhering to the UDL paradigm.

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