Tolerance for Error in Multimodal Assignments

The Universal Design principle of tolerance for error works to minimize “hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions.” According to the Center for Universal Design this includes providing “warnings of hazards and errors” and “failsafe features” as well as minimizing hazards altogether. For multimodal assignments, this could mean:

  • Providing formative feedback, during the composing process, so that students understand what is necessary to meet the learning outcomes and achieve success;
  • Avoiding error and glitch counting, when evaluating students’ multimodal assignments or presentations of multimodal assignments.
  • Reducing the weight of assessment criteria focused on errors/glitches;
  • Implementing/providing composing tools that do not require a high degree of precision for students to achieve goals. For instance, many video, image, and audio editing softwares require precise user inputs, which can be difficult for students with fine-motor impairments.
  • Implementing/providing composing tools that allow a clear exit strategy when mistakes are made. For instance, using tools that allow users to “undo” their mistakes or to easily correct their mistakes.


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