Maintaining Accessibility in the Modern Classroom


Presented at 8:00am in Waverly on Thursday, November 17, 2016.



  • Christa Miller, Associate Director of Services for Students with Disabilities, Virginia Tech

Session Details

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


Faculty can use modern instructional approaches to increase the inclusion of students with disabilities.


Instructional practices currently on-trend in higher education are moving towards learner-centered approaches aimed at greater student ownership of knowledge. Such approaches commonly employ more small group activities and often rely heavily on mobile technologies for participation.

The presentation will examine the intersections of the most common instructional practices and how disability support can work with faculty to integrate students with disabilities into these classroom settings without creating new barriers to learning. When a course is designed with accessibility in mind the implementation of current instructional practices may increase the inclusion of students with disabilities in the classroom.


  1. Current instructional approaches (active, hybrid, flipped) have common activities that create access barriers
  2. Universal Design for Learning is one strategy to remove these barriers
  3. When implemented consciously these approaches improve the experience for students with disabilities

Disability Areas

Cognitive/Learning, Deaf/Hard of Hearing, Mobility, Vision

Topic Areas

Accessible Course Design, Assistive Technology

Speaker Bio(s)

Christa Miller

Christa Miller is currently the Associate Director for Services for Students with Disabilities at Virginia Tech (VT). She has a BS Electrical Engineering (2008) and MS Industrial Systems Engineering (2012) both from VT. She started working in VT's Assistive Technologies group in 2006 as a student employee teaching students how to use assistive and accessible technologies. From 2010 to 2015, she transcribed STEM materials into Braille, and then transitioned into teaching instructors to create accessible educational materials by design.

For the last several years, she's helped VT grow their digital accessibility footprint by helping to establish the centralized captioning fund, building up the campus' Accessibility Network, creating training on PDF accessibility, and leading cohorts of individuals preparing for the IAAP CPACC Certification.

Christa is an active member of regional and national disability and accessibility organizations (AHEAD in VA, AHEAD, ATHEN, and Accessing Higher Ground). When she has the opportunity, her research interests include accessibility in STEM courses and Universal Design for Learning.