Steps to Creating Accessible Courses

Dr. Sandy Saperstein and Sacha St-Onge Ahmad

(Sponsored by Department of Counseling, Higher Education, and Special Education)

2021 Disability Summit
April 13, 2021 – 2:10 PM-2:40 PM


We received a UMD Teaching Innovation Grant in Summer 2020. Our project had two aims (1) to revise an existing face-to-face course into an accessible online course and (2) develop course content to teach students how to create accessible materials, a skill that could be used in their future work as public health professionals. To guide our work, we assembled an Advisory Board consisting of faculty and staff who had experience in accessibility and universal design for learning as well as students with disabilities. We also conducted interviews and usability testing with students with disabilities to learn about their experiences learning online and to get their feedback on the planned redesign. In this presentation, we will share findings and lessons learned from our project as well as the results of an end-of-semester satisfaction survey from students who took the redesigned course. We found that students were very positive about the redesign and they reported increased knowledge and confidence in their abilities to create accessible materials. We hope to encourage other faculty to take steps in creating accessible courses.

Presentation (PPT)


Dr. Sandy Saperstein (she/her)


Sandy Saperstein is a lecturer in the Department of Behavioral and Community Health and currently teaches classes in public health informatics, digital health, and social media. Prior to earning her PhD in Public and Community Health, Dr. Saperstein worked for over ten years as an occupational therapist, primarily with adults who had strokes and head injuries.

Sacha St-Onge Ahmad (she/her)


Sacha St-Onge Ahmad is a third-year doctoral student in the Department of Behavioral and Community Health. Her research interests include developing information and communications technologies to make pregnancy and childbirth safer in resource-poor settings. Prior to beginning her graduate studies, she worked as a public health practitioner in Pakistan for 5 years.