DO-IT Prof: A Promising Practice in Making Postsecondary Instruction Accessible to Students with Disabilities

Date Updated

The DO-IT Prof project applied lessons learned by DO-IT and other researchers and practitioners nationwide to implement a comprehensive professional development program for college faculty and administrators. It was funded by the U.S. Department of Education (grant #P33A990042) and led by the DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology) Center at the University of Washington in Seattle.

DO-IT Prof was designed to improve the knowledge and skills of postsecondary faculty and administrators in order to make them better prepared to fully include students with disabilities in academic programs on their campuses. Responding to the diverse content and scheduling needs of faculty and administrators, the DO-IT Prof team created and delivered six models of professional development.

  • Model 1: A 20-30 minute presentation to introduce participants to basic legal issues, accommodation strategies, and resources specific to their campuses.
  • Model 2: A 1-2 hour presentation with special focus on providing accommodations to students with a variety of disabilities.
  • Model 3: A tailored workshop for more in-depth training on topics selected for a specific audience.
  • Model 4: A televised instruction option using a series of videos shown online, on site, and on public television.
  • Model 5: A distance learning "anytime-anywhere" course that provides lessons and discussion delivered via email.
  • Model 6: Self-paced, web-based instruction in The Faculty Room.

The DO-IT Prof team included faculty, disabled student services staff, and administrators at institutions of higher education in twenty-three states. The nationwide recruitment process was highly competitive, attracting more than one hundred applications. DO-IT's Academic Advisory Board selected applicants that had the potential to contribute to project efforts and to create a team with diverse characteristics.

Project team members chose institutional partners in their states. If a team member was from a four-year institution, the partner school was a community or technical college; if the team member is from a community or technical college, the partner school was a four-year school.

DO-IT Prof team members created and disseminated a comprehensive set of multi-media materials that can help instructors make their courses welcoming and accessible to everyone. Titled Building the Team: Faculty, Staff, and Students Working Together, these materials are freely available online or purchased using the order form. The project team also created a comprehensive website The Faculty Room that complements materials for other stakeholders in the AccessCollege collection. They created a checklist, Universal Design of Instruction (UDI): Definition, Principles, Guidelines, and Examples that suggests universal design strategies that can be employed by instructors to make their courses welcoming and accessible to students with disabilities. This and other useful publications can be found in The Faculty Room and also in The Center for Universal Design in Education.

Evaluation results of DO-IT Prof presentations and materials suggest that the comprehensive set of interventions it employed not only increase awareness of accessibility issues, but also result in specific actions taken by faculty to enhance the accessibility of their courses. It is hoped that efforts like this will ultimately increase the postsecondary academic and career success of individuals with disabilities.

For details about the implementation of DO-IT Prof, consult the publication DO-IT Prof: A Project to Help Postsecondary Educators Work Successfully with Students Who Have Disabilities.

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