Student Observations of Postsecondary Classroom Instruction

Accessibility Challenges and Collaborative Feedback

  • Yasmine Jassal The University of Texas
  • Dr. Stephanie Cawthon
  • Dr. Sara Schley
Keywords: universal design, deaf, student engagement, pedagogy, higher education, collaboration, accessibility


Extant research suggests that approximately ten percent of postsecondary students disclose that they have a disability. These students often benefit from accommodations that increase the accessibility of classroom instruction. For deaf students, of which approximately half enroll in postsecondary education and training, accessible classroom design is often provided through external services such as interpreters or speech to text providers. A more foundational approach to access, one based in Universal Design for Learning (UDL), seeks to engage students in learning by creating classroom spaces with accessibility integrated into the pedagogical approach. Realizing these goals, however, requires participation from one of the most valuable, yet underused, resources within educational institutions: the students themselves. To this end, this paper seeks to examine a student-faculty collaborative approach to increasing accessibility for deaf students in postsecondary classrooms. Results of this study suggest that observing students are able to provide concrete and constructive feedback on strategies to increase classroom accessibility. In addition, the collaborative nature of this approach provides opportunities for student feedback to faculty about improving pedagogical strategies.

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