Say no to the checklist

Oswal, S. and Melonçon, L. (2017). Saying no to the checklist: Shifting from an ideology of normalcy to an ideology of inclusion in online writing instruction. WPA: Writing Program Administration, 40(3), 61-77.

Writing Studies finds itself looking to outside sources in an attempt to understand disability, differing abilities, and accessibility. As a result, in an effort to make our online courses accessible, we often turned to as varied sources as Universal Design for Learning (UDL), Quality Matters Rubric (QM), and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which we are referring to as checklists, due to their form and instrumental purposes. Programmatically and administratively, we seem to have accepted checklists at face value as something we simply need to adopt and/or implement rather than something to question. With the growing number of students with disabilities in our online classrooms, we argue that such reliance on checklists perpetuates an ideology of normalcy, and we ask, instead, that we start WPA work from the location of disability and accessibility. When we do so, we encourage direct participation from our disabled students and faculty in our theory, in our research, in our curricular planning, and in our pedagogical conceptualizations. Starting with access helps us move toward an ideology of inclusion.