Foundations of Online Teaching: Collaborating to Prepare Instructors to Provide Accessible, Inclusive Remote Learning


Presented at 1:30pm in Virtual C on Thursday, January 1, 2020.



  • Jim Stachowiak, Director of Assistive Technology, Northwestern University

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 1-hr
  • Format: Lecture
  • Expertise Level: Beginner
  • Type of session: General Conference


To prepare instructors to teach remotely in Summer 2020, critical campus partners in IT, teaching and learning, the library, distance education, and disability services at Northwestern collaborated to develop and conduct the Foundations of Online Learning practicum. This presentation will discuss the development process and results of the practicum


Northwestern instructors moved to online teaching quickly in Spring 2020, leaving little time to learn effective online teaching practices, while getting up to speed on the basics. To better prepare instructors for teaching online in the summer, Northwestern IT, the Searle Center for Advancing Learning and Teaching, the Library, School for Professional Studies, and AccessibleNU collaborated to develop the Foundations of Online Teaching Summer Practicum. Using a cohort model, this practicum, centered around the principles of universal design for learning, gives instructors the foundations for online teaching and offers a space to collaborate with and receive support and feedback from their peers while they re-conceptualize their courses for online learning. This session will provide a review of the practicum's curriculum, a blueprint for bringing critical campus partners together, ideas for engaging faculty in a process to readjust teaching practices, and the impact on summer learning.


  1. Creating accessible learning opportunities is the responsibility of every instructor.
  2. The shift to remote learning provided an opportunity to rethink how we prepare instructors for that setting.
  3. Collaboration across the university is critical to get instructors developing courses using the UDL framework.

Disability Areas

All Areas

Topic Areas

Accessible Course Design, Faculty Development & Support, Institutional/Campus Change, Other, Teaching about Accessibility in Curriculum, Uncategorized

Speaker Bio(s)

Jim Stachowiak

As Director of Assistive Technology and Assistant Director of AccessibleNU, Jim assists students with determining, using, and troubleshooting assistive technology (AT) solutions for reading, writing, computer access, note taking, organization, and other academic needs. He enjoys keeping up to date on the latest AT tools and figuring out how to best implement them in education settings. Jim has also played a key role in Northwestern's digital accessibility initiative, developing the digital accessibility liaisons program and helping develop Northwestern's digital accessibility policy. Prior to Northwestern, Jim was the Associate Director of the Iowa Center for Assistive Technology Education and Research (ICATER) at the University of Iowa where he taught classes on AT and worked to prepare teacher education students to work with AT in their classrooms.

Jim holds a Bachelor's of Science in Engineering degree in Industrial and Operations Engineering and a Master's of Science in Engineering degree in Biomedical Engineering, both from the University of Michigan. He is also a RESNA certified Assistive Technology Professional (ATP).


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