A Collection of Digital Pedagogy Examples from the Amherst Classroom

Examples compiled by the Academic Technology Services team

Amherst faculty are integrating inclusive practices with technology in many different ways to meet the learning needs of the college’s diverse student body. Through the application of the Universal Design for Learning principles, these pedagogy practices aim to lower the barriers to education, and foster greater engagement. In the collection of examples below, faculty have gone beyond the requirement of meeting accommodations, and have prioritized approaches that benefit all learners. In some cases, faculty are discussing important topics related to disabilities in their courses.

Share with us an “inclusive practice with tech” that you have used and/or observed in a fellow faculty/staff member at Amherst college. Email ats@amherst.edu.

Last Updated - Spring 2023


portrait of Elizabeth Aries
Elizabeth Aries: Quizzes for Self-Regulated Learning

When the Moodle quizzes were low-stakes, open-book, and flexible in the number of attempts allowed, it helped to allay anxiety for the students. Untimed assignments (where appropriate) eliminate the need for time-based testing accommodations. This intentional pedagogical approach also creates transparency in terms of class expectations, and benefits all the learners in that class.

Michaela Brangan portrait photo
Michaela Brangan: The Four-Role Discussion Forum to Promote Critical Analysis

An asynchronous online forum can help provide an accessible discussion experience for all students, especially for students who find in-class discussions challenging. Referring back to the forum posts as part of class discussion is a great way to engage students who otherwise may not get an equal voice during class.

A portrait photo of C. Rhonda Cobham-Sander
Rhonda Cobham-Sander: Close Reading by Integrating Digital Media

Perusall digital annotation activities allowed students to demonstrate critical reading in a variety of ways. Students could use multiple means of communication, i..e, visual (add their own images to present an idea) or auditory (text to speech) to cognitively process the assigned reading, and participate in peer discussions.

a portrait of Jeffers Engelhardt
Jeffers Engelhardt: Amplifying Community Voices

The course Soundscapes of the Connecticut River Valley has been taught at Amherst since 2009. During each iteration, students produce and post documentary video and audio essays about a wide variety of Valley musicians and communities. The website currently hosts material for over 30 student projects. By meeting web accessibility guidelines, it serves as a good model for reaching all types of users, including keyboard-only users.

portrait of Kate Follette
Kate Follette: Increase Student Engagement with Otter AI

The course Introductory Astrophysics met via Zoom during Fall 2020. Professor Follette used Otter AI to create transcripts of all class Zoom sessions and provided these to students throughout the semester. This proved to be a simple method to let students review what was discussed in class, without having to record and upload videos of each meeting. 

Carmen Granda portrait photo
Carmen Granda: Using Infographics to Develop Linguistic and Cultural Proficiency

In the Fall 2021 course Advanced Spanish Language and Culture, students created visual representations of information gathered from conversations with partners in Spanish-speaking countries. Since infographics are inherently not digitally accessible, students learned to provide alternate accessible versions of the information. This helped students deepen their grasp of digital literacy and develop an accessibility mindset, seeing themselves as capable creators of accessible/inclusive documents.

Darryl Harper portrait photo
Darryl Harper: Multiple UDL Practices from the Music Classroom

Professor Harper incorporates the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and inclusive practices with technology into his teaching and grounds these practices in dialogue with students. His thoughtful use of options includes consideration for students with disabilities, with digital and physical accessibility given careful consideration. 

Nick Horton portrait photo
Nick Horton: Ensuring Accessibility in Statistics

In the Spring 2017 course Introduction to Statistics via Modeling, Professor Horton ensured that a student who was blind could fully participate in the course by providing alternative paths to completion of assignments.

Kannan Jagannathan
Jagu Jagannathan: Fostering Mutual Respect in the Classroom with NameCoach

Professor Jagu Jagannathan used the introduction of the NameCoach as an opportunity to reflect on how nuanced pronunciation of a name can take years to learn. 

Chris Kingston
Chris Kingston: A Flipped Approach Using Video-Based Lectures

Professor Kingston used the tool Explain Everything to create video-based learning materials for his courses. This strategy allows students to review a lecture as many times as they choose before class, and then class time is used for hands-on practice and analysis.

Trent Maxey
Trent Maxey: Participation by Reading Live Transcripts

In the Fall 2020 course History and Memory of the Asia-Pacific War, Professor Maxey used Otter AI to provide a crucial accomodation for a student who was hard of hearing. This transcription tool provided the student with a live transcript of the class discussion and a transcript that the student could save and refer back to after class. As a result, the student was much more relaxed and clearly better able to follow what others were saying.

Pat O'Hara portrait photo
Pat O'Hara: Foster Collaborative Learning with the Moodle Wiki

The Moodle wiki project provides students with opportunities to demonstrate learning in multimodal ways. By allowing students to present their project through writing or visuals or digital media, etc, Professor O’Hara is attempting to reach all learners and account for variability in learning.

Pooja Rangan portrait photo
Pooja Rangan: Developing an Accessibility Mindset through Audio Description Projects

In the Fall 2019 course Disability Media, students gained hands-on experience in making visual media accessible to people with visual disabilities. Using audio description as an accessibility technique, students added a narrative audio track to the video to make it more accessible to people with visual disabilities.

Sean Redding
Sean Redding: Augmenting Class Notes with Meeting Transcription

Professor Redding used Otter AI to provide class transcriptions in the Fall 2020 course Proseminar in History: Writing the Past. This provided an accomodation for a student with a hearing impairment, but also served as a valuable resource for all students to supplement their own class notes. Otter AI transcriptions of one-on-one meetings also proved useful for a thesis student. 

Paul Schroeder Rodríguez portrait photo
Paul Schroeder Rodríguez: Digital Portfolios as Metacognitive Practice

Students developed digital portfolios using google sites. The students took simple steps to ensure that the sites would be accessible to all users, including students with disabilities. The Google Sites platform has many built-in accessibility features, and the students added alt-text for images as needed.

portrait of Jeffers Engelhardt
Jeffers Engelhardt: Technology, Experiential Learning, and Interdisciplinary Thought

Employing methods of interdisciplinary thought, students use technology to analyze and manipulate sound, learn about captioning, and investigate perception.  Students learn experientially with a class visit to the UMass Amherst anechoic chamber and through the practice of a research methodology technique of sound walks that foster developing deep listening practices. 


Additional Articles about Inclusive Practices with Technology

Last Updated - Fall 2022

Photo of Eniola Ajao
My Accessibility Journey: A Student Perspective

Featured Student: Eniola Ajao, '21

students talking
Create Inclusive & Connected Learning Communities with NameCoach

Featured Faculty: Harris Daniels, Nick Horton, Jagu Jagannathan, & Austin Sarat