TIES Building Engagement with Distance Learning Series


Building Engagement with Distance Learning provides a framework for supporting all students, including those with significant cognitive disabilities, to actively:

  • interact with others;
  • engage with classmates;
  • learn grade-level general education curriculum and other essential skills; and
  • participate in routines and transitions.

Think about distance learning for students with disabilities as happening in phases. TheFirst Phasefocused on getting something going for students, even if it was not perfect. TheSecond Phaseis thinking more holistically about the students, how to embed learning opportunities in their home environments, moving forward with greater collaboration with team members, including parents and siblings, and using online tools to provide greater access and engagement. TheThird Phase,which we are now entering,is when programs integrate the principles of quality inclusive practices and effective instruction into distance learning. And theFourth Phaseinvolves both considering strategies to support hybrid learning as well as ensuring that the knowledge, skills, and collaboration that were gained during distance learning transfer back into the classroom.


March 2021
In publication since February 2021
Jennifer E Sommerness jsomm@umn.edu
Kristin K Liu PhD kline010@umn.edu or +1 612-626-9061
TIES Center: Increasing Time, Instructional Effectiveness, Engagement, and State Support for Inclusive Practices for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities
University of North Carolina Charlotte



  • Education practices (K12 and transition)
    • Inclusive education
    • Instructional strategies
    • Paraprofessional and teacher development