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How many times have you used a cut-out curb to pull a suitcase, move a cart, push a stroller or ride your bike across an intersection? Do you prefer the ease of use and aesthetic of lever faucet handles? We all benefit from Universal Design of physical spaces and the same is true of learning spaces. If you apply the three simple design principles of Universal Design for Learning to your course materials, you will not only accommodate students with disabilities but also the learning preferences for all of your students.
Universal Design for Learning Principles
The three core principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) are easy-to-implement strategies. Using these strategies each time you develop course materials is a proactive way to address accommodation needs of students, make your materials more accessible to all students and reduce the need to retroactively adapt your materials should you have a request from SDS (Student Disability Services) to do so.
The principles are:
- The What: Represent information in multiple ways. Provide students with different ways to acquire information or knowledge. This may include multiple modalities to represent information or flexible formats that allow students to enlarge text or access captions.
- The How: Give students options to demonstrate they have met learning outcomes. This may include allowing the use of different media and communication tools, designing assignments that provide choices for action or expression, and providing alternatives that accommodate the use of adaptive technologies, such as screen readers or adapted keyboards.
- The Why: Offer multiple aproaches for student engagement. This includes providing choices, making information relevant and relatable to a variety of learners.
View the UDL on Campus website to explore examples of UDL in higher education.
Difference between UDL and Accessibility
Read more about supporting evidence for UDL on the UDL Guidelines website.
The theory, pedagogy and neuroscience behind UDL are discussed in these books:
Equity by Design by
Publication Date: 2020-08-20
When it comes to the hard work of reconstructing our schools into places where every student has the opportunity to succeed, Mirko Chardin and Katie Novak are absolutely convinced that teachers should serve as our primary architects. And by "teachers" they mean legions of teachers working in close collaboration. After all, it's teachers who design students' learning experiences, who build student relationships . . . who ultimately have the power to change the trajectory of our students' lives.
Equity by Design is intended to serve as a blueprint for teachers to alter the all-too-predictable outcomes for our historically under-served students. A first of its kind resource, the book makes the critical link between social justice and Universal Design for Learning (UDL) so that we can equip students (and teachers, too) with the will, skill, and collective capacity to enact positive change.
Inside you'll find:
- Concrete strategies for designing and delivering a culturally responsive, sustainable, and equitable framework for all students
- Rich examples, case studies, and implementation spotlights of educators, students (including Parkland survivors), and programs that have embraced a social justice imperative
- Evidence-based application of best practices for UDL to create more inclusive and equitable classrooms
- A flexible format to facilitate use with individual teachers, teacher teams, and as the basis for whole-school implementation
"Every student," Mirko and Katie insist, "deserves the opportunity to be successful regardless of their zip code, the color of their skin, the language they speak, their sexual and/or gender identity, and whether or not they have a disability." Consider Equity by Design a critical first step forward in providing that all-important opportunity.
"Our calling is to drop our egos, commit to removing barriers, and treat our learners with the unequivocal respect and dignity they deserve." ~Mirko Chardin and Katie Novak
Design Ed by
Publication Date: 2019-09-10
Design Ed provides a foundation for the science of learning and shows how to apply design thinking strategies to drive engagement for digital age learners. Researchers in learning sciences are pioneering instructional technologies that have the capacity to revolutionize the educational system. By combining design thinking methodology with strong theoretical frameworks in the learning sciences, educators can improve learning to help students thrive. This book lays out the intersection between theory, design and reflective practice to help educators understand individual learner differences and the impact of context upon learning. With this foundation, you'll develop the skills you need to design powerful and effective learning experiences, particularly when using digital technologies. Topics covered include: Educators as learning designers Shaping experiences for digital age learning through digital media and digital environments Design and format of educational interventions The role of reflective practice and evaluating the impact on student learning Throughout the text, the authors emphasize the "why" behind the use of technology and the "how" to enact learning design for all digital age learners.
Reach Everyone, Teach Everyone by
Publication Date: 2018-10-01
Advocates for the rights of people with disabilities have worked hard to make universal design in the built environment "just part of what we do." We no longer see curb cuts, for instance, as accommodations for people with disabilities, but perceive their usefulness every time we ride our bikes or push our strollers through crosswalks. This is also a perfect model for Universal Design for Learning (UDL), a framework grounded in the neuroscience of why, what, and how people learn. Tobin and Behling show that, although it is often associated with students with disabilities, UDL can be profitably broadened toward a larger ease-of-use and general diversity framework. Captioned instructional videos, for example, benefit learners with hearing impairments but also the student who worries about waking her young children at night or those studying on a noisy team bus. Reach Everyone, Teach Everyone is aimed at faculty members, faculty-service staff, disability support providers, student-service staff, campus leaders, and graduate students who want to strengthen the engagement, interaction, and performance of all college students. It includes resources for readers who want to become UDL experts and advocates: real-world case studies, active-learning techniques, UDL coaching skills, micro- and macro-level UDL-adoption guidance, and use-them-now resources.
Life of the Mind Interrupted by
Publication Date: 2017-10-16
Academia isn't an easy place to be if your brain isn't quite right. Colleagues carelessly call each other "schizo" and "bipolar." Another colleague is fired--easy enough to do these days, when most college teachers no longer have tenure--for "instability." In these ways and many more, psychiatrically disabled people working in higher education are reminded every day that their privilege, their very livelihoods, can be stripped away by the groundless suspicions of others. Their lives can be, in an instant, interrupted. The essays in this book cover topics such as disclosure of disabilities, accommodations and accessibility, how to be a good abled friend to a disabled person, the trigger warnings debate, and more. Written for a popular audience, for those with disabilities and for those who want to learn more about living a disabled life, Life of the Mind Interrupted aims to make higher education, and the rest of our society, more humane. "Katie Rose Guest Pryal is one of the foremost writers of disability and higher education we have today." --Catherine J. Prendergast, Ph.D., Professor of Disability Studies
UDL Now! by
Publication Date: 2016-09-01
In this revised and expanded edition of UDL Now! Katie Novak provides practical insights and savvy strategies for helping all learners meet high standards using the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL). UDL is a framework for inclusive education that aims to lower barriers to learning and optimize each individual's opportunity to learn. Novak shows how to use the UDL Guidelines to plan lessons, choose materials, assess learning, and improve instructional practice. Novak discusses key concepts such as scaffolding, vocabulary-building, and using student feedback to inform instruction. She also provides tips on recruiting students as partners in the teaching process, engaging their interest in how they learn. UDL Now! is a fun and effective Monday-morning playbook for great teaching.
Universal Design in Higher Education by
Publication Date: 2010-01-01
Universal Design in Higher Education looks at the design of physical and technological environments at institutions of higher education; at issues pertaining to curriculum and instruction; and at the full array of student services. Universal Design in Higher Education is a comprehensive guide for researchers and practitioners on creating fully accessible college and university programs. It is founded upon, and contributes to, theories of universal design in education that have been gaining increasingly wide attention in recent years. As greater numbers of students with disabilities attend postsecondary educational institutions, administrators have expressed increased interest in making their programs accessible to all students. This book provides both theoretical and practical guidance for schools as they work to turn this admirable goal into a reality. It addresses a comprehensive range of topics on universal design for higher education institutions, thus making a crucial contribution to the growing body of literature on special education and universal design. This book will be of unique value to university and college administrators, and to special education researchers, practitioners, and activists.
A Practical Reader in Universal Design for Learning by
Publication Date: 2006-10-01
In this first UDL Reader, Anne Meyer and David H. Rose bring together a collection of articles on the practical, classroom dimensions of the UDL revolution in education. Universal Design for Learning (UDL) stands at the forefront of contemporary efforts to create universal access to educational curricula for all students, including those with disabilities. The "universal" in UDL does not mean there is a single optimal solution for everyone. Instead, it underscores the need for flexible approaches to teaching and learning that meet the needs of different kinds of learners. The authors offer insights on learner differences, the capacities of new media in the classroom, and effective teaching and assessment practices. The volume also includes lessons from teacher professional development workshops, classroom-based research, and UDL practitioners themselves. A highly readable volume aimed particularly at school teachers and administrators, this book is also an uncommonly accessible introduction to UDL for all readers committed to creating improved and universal access to educational materials for all students.
The Universally Designed Classroom by
Publication Date: 2005-10-01
This book addresses crucial questions about how to create full access to the general education curriculum for children with disabilities. Based on years of research and innovation at CAST (The Center for Applied Special Technology), the book provides a helpful overview of the digital solutions that are at the forefront of efforts to create universal access. It also looks closely at the major policy and practice issues connected to this initiative. The book appears at a pivotal moment in special education policy and practice. The recent reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), together with the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and a general trend toward more inclusive education policies, has laid the groundwork for fully addressing the educational needs and abilities of children with disabilities of many kinds. Complementing these legal and social trends are remarkable new technologies designed to facilitate the education of those same children. Universal Design for Learning, or UDL--a network of methods, technologies, and materials developed at CAST--stands at the vanguard of this new era of initiatives and possibilities in special education. The Universally Designed Classroom offers a concise and useful introduction to this burgeoning field. A book for teachers, administrators, scholars, policymakers, parents, and citizens, it will be required reading for all who are committed to providing the finest education for all students.
Universal Design for Learning by
Publication Date: 2005-01-06
For courses in Universal Design and Inclusion, and a supplement for use with general and special education courses on curriculum and methods, technology, and assistive technology. This brief, supplementary text, a collaborative publication between CEC and Merrill Education, offers education professionals a conceptual framework to create flexible, equitable, and accessible instructional techniques that accommodate individual learning differences in a classroom setting. Aimed toward instructors in education classes as a means of informing current and future teachers about the basics of universal design for learning (UDL) and the ways it can be implemented in schools and classrooms, the goal of this publication is to inform teachers of the basis for effective teaching practice and to remind them of the various instructional resources available for them to create a UDL environment in their own classroom.
Teaching Every Student in the Digital Age by
Publication Date: 2002-05-01
Ensuring that all students achieve the same high standard of learning would be much easier if you could quickly and easily customize lesson plans and curriculum materials to each student's needs, interests, and skills level. Here's a book that explains how to make that ideal a reality. Explore the concept of Universal Design for Learning and how it can help you meet standards while you address the unique needs of each student. Drawing from brain research and the power of digital technology, the authors explain how to - Set appropriate goals for every student. - Choose the teaching methods and materials that give every student optimum instructional support. - Ensure the fair and accurate assessment of every student's progress. A school case study, a set of templates, and links to online resources get you started in applying the concepts to your classroom. A companion website offers interactive experiences, classroom videos, lessons, online discussions, interviews with experts, student case stories, resource links, and more in-depth information.