week 21: accessible educational design

So grateful for Soraya’s talk! Here is the framework she shared: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1lN2nkvySK7wQ2R8rGo97gXbAHv4bXGBBD-AAiXNf7ME/edit

Remember, she asked not to be recorded so please share your notes in the chat for others to benefit from.

For this week’s discussion, let’s talk about:

  • What strategies do we use to make our teaching and resources inclusive? What stress factors and experience levels do these work for?
  • What stress factors have we encountered that we don’t know how to teach to?
  • How can threat modeling help us with inclusive design?

When I ran a threat modelling workshop for our teen volunteers we didn’t actually use any tech other than post-its and sharpies. I’d deliberated with myself about including a few privacy tools but in the end it didn’t seem worth planning for when I wasn’t even sure how the teens were going to answer. I’ve seen teen’s different levels of comfort with tech concepts turn some folx off and decided the conversation was more important than using a device. In the end it was great because their threat models were really interesting; their phone, their diary, their artwork/portfolio, their siblings, friends e.g. It’s all of a piece I think and important to consider that threats to privacy exist beyond digital stuff and beyond our library resources too.

As far as stress factors I can’t teach; for one I’ve got to at least get handouts translated into a few languages other than English because this is relevant for everybody. I do have colleagues I could work together with on a workshop sometime? Gotta get it together. EDIT Not suggesting anyone’s first language is a stress. As I get out and talk to folks it’s clear it’s important to do whatever it takes to reach as many as possible. We have translation services through city hall but as I recall I have to budget for it.


Soraya mentioned using multiple modalities in instruction as a method to make teaching and resources inclusive. This can mean providing instruction using text, audio, video, discussion, tactile, etc. I see this as a way to make instruction engaging and accessible for a variety of people. I think another strategy is the ability to be flexible, and switch up the strategy, when one approach isn’t working. Part of the challenge to teaching in libraries (or community colleges) is that you won’t often be able to anticipate who is going to show up to workshops and what their level of need might be, or what might be their specific stress factors. The stress consideration really depends on the nature of the workshop/instruction. I think it would be helpful to sketch out or brainstorm potential stress consideration based on the topic as part of one’s planning and designing of instruction. It might also be good to team teach or pair up attendees/students to help one another (only if it’s not invasive). Provide activities that give them the ability to practice, and materials to review during and after the session. If one method doesn’t work, try another, and offer follow-up help in a variety of modes. Maybe a video or one on one is what they need. Perhaps provide homework (e.g. flipped classroom model) such as a video or a handout a few days before the instruction session to give students some time to digest or seek out what they will need (e.g. phone settings) for the class session. I know this won’t work in all or many scenarios, but it could work in some.

This was probably one of my favorite sessions because of the content and the delivery. It was fun to be able to do some hands on work during the session. I also appreciate Soraya’s emphasis on stress considerations.


What strategies do we use to make our teaching and resources inclusive? What stress factors and experience levels do these work for?

I’ve been really interested in readability the last few years, mostly because I want our website to be accessible for a wide range of reading levels, and I’ve been trying to apply it to what we handout to students as well. I use the Hemingway app to get a baseline of the readability of text. It’s not perfect, but it does make me re-think if text is accessible or not. I believe this is necessary for when we’re teaching something complicated as ensuring users’ privacy. I find this especially helpful for incoming students and freshman, especially those where this is their first time in a library.

What stress factors have we encountered that we don’t know how to teach to?
Before I went to library school, I taught elderly adults on real basic Internet tech. Things like instant messaging, web email, and chat rooms (this was in the early 2000s). One factor that I’ve been more mindful of that experience is just the use of the mouse. I think that translates to using touch interfaces. I’m also very mindful of students who aren’t used to using Macs which can be an easily overlooked stress factor.

How can threat modeling help us with inclusive design?
I think this is a great question! I think threat modeling can be used to get a better idea of who our users our. If we know who we are designing a course/handout/workshop for, we can better tailor to their needs and make a more inclusive module. I think it requires empathy to develop module that doesn’t make users adapt to it, but is designed with the intention that requires the module to adapt to the user. Michele already mentioned some of those strategies, like multimedia, group work when it’s appropriate/acceptable, and the flipped classroom. I also think in the context of threat modeling, this is a little tricky too, because maybe participants don’t want to explicit state what their threats are.


YUP! Thanks for this. I think it’s especially important to have this type of mindset or understanding b/c sometimes digital platforms can function like diaries for some teens or adults, and maybe even speaking about idk a secret tumblr or livejournal is just too exposing in a workshop in a public setting.

  1. strategies for inclusive education techniques/resources: understanding the ways that neurotypical people have so much privilege in higher ed and all aspects of life can help in understanding the importance of developing resources and lesson plans that don’t follow or privilege one model for learning. (this is a helpful lecture that helped me understand neurotypical privilege: http://www.bufubyusforus.com/nottodaynotever). I am still very new to teaching, so I am working on a lot in regards to my approach, but this is something I will always consider.

  2. stress factors i’ve encountered that i don’t know how to teach to: teaching to folks who are experiencing intimate partner violence + trying to do harm reduction with digital privacy stuff.

  3. threat modeling and inclusive design: by trying to understand the threats faced by the people we are working with or teaching to, the design of materials and lesson plans can better fit and serve everyone’s needs.


Some of my best workshops have been like these! I love how it shifts the power dynamics of the conversation, and it can really help inform future workshops that are more tools-focused because you just get such a better understanding of what people are actually concerned about. I’d be interested to see the outputs of this workshop if you captured them.

What languages do you need to get translated? We can always upload our resources to Tor’s Transifex portal. It can be a little slow depending on the language, but the translators are actual humans and the quality is very good.

Definitely! And so how do we become agile enough in our teaching environments to switch things up as needed, and how do we recognize when that needs to happen? I’m thinking a lot about a combination of what Mallory taught us in NYC with what Soraya shared last week.

It’s a kind of threat modeling!

You could set this expectation in advance so it’s less invasive, and that way you’d have an alternative prepared for anyone who didn’t want to do it that way.

Yay! Soraya is awesome.

So necessary, especially for technology. We do this with Tor documentation too. It’s surprisingly challenging to really get things at a baseline level of readability. Especially important for English-language learners too.

I often think about how not inclusive the term “threat modeling” is. “Concerns” seems better than “threat”. But it’s challenging to get the language right. We want a balance between understanding people’s unique needs and risks and not invading their privacy while we’re trying to help them protect that privacy.

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I forgot, Junior, what it was like to first use a mouse! Using a mouse for the first time, or a Mac when one is used to a PC, are great analogies of just basic tech stress factors that could be easily overlooked.

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Thank you for the link, Michelle. It is really helpful. I am new to teaching as well, so I don’t have examples of strategies for inclusivity and stress factors as of yet. Soraya’s handout is super helpful to work through some of these issues in advance as well as hearing all of your strategies and stress factors you’ve encountered. This will give me a great framework to build off of when creating workshops. As MIchele had mentioned, team teaching is really appealing to me, particularly if I hold workshops at the public library since I am used to working with students. My intention though is to start by working with the student group that I advise and library staff in the spring.

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