Final thoughts on UDL in higher education
Thank you for joining us in this coffee course over the past week and for your many contributions, conversations and the ideas and thoughts that you have shared. Today we are going to reflect on the three Universal Design Principles and also look at some tools and resources that you can use to help in the development of your courses and assessment activities.
For those that can make it we will be meeting for coffee at the ‘Inclusive teaching: Making it happen’ event that is on today during the morning tea break. This is being held in the 3rd floor teaching room of the Science and Teaching Building, 136.
As we have seen over the last few days the UDL principles provide a framework for making courses more accessible. One of the difficulties in working within online environments, particularly fully online, is that those accessing our courses are often invisible to us. We cannot see or may not have met our students so that makes it harder for us to develop courses for them in a specific way that addresses any accessibility issues they may have. The idea of building in ‘structures’ as outlined in Day 1 of the course that ultimately benefits the needs of all participants, such as building a bridge over a river, is something we need to keep in mind. Thinking about the type of bridge to build, a bridge that can take as many types of users as possible, from pedestrians and bikes up to semitrailers requires us to have a knowledge of the tools and technologies available that will help achieve this. The goal of UDL is to allow learners to move through a process where they become more “resourceful, knowledgeable, strategic, goal-directed, purposeful and motivated learners”
The following video ‘UDL in Higher Education ‘ gives a quick overview of why UDL is important within this context. This video is from the site UDL on Campus: Universal Design for Learning in Higher Education’ and is worth looking through the many resources located within it.
Tools for building bridges
Today we are going to look at and provide some links to practical resources for implementing UDL. There are plenty of ideas and resources out there to help you find tools and technologies that can be used. The National Center on UDL has a page on UDL Guidelines: Examples and Resources which provides an extensive list of tools that can be used for each guideline and checkpoint and how they work in relation to UDL as well as this list of free learning tools that can be used.
‘From Theory to Practice: UDL Quick Tips’, developed by Colorado State University is a brief guide that covers each of the three guidelines and provides suggestions for benchmarks, instructional materials , teaching methods and assessment.
The ‘UDL Strategies’ website has ideas that can be implemented for each guideline and checkpoint. Not all of these are relevant to the higher education context but it is a great interactive site with many ideas that could be used and applied to the tools within Moodle and the adult education context.
Many of you are using Moodle as your LMS platform, and this is the case for ANU participants, and you may be thinking about the tools available within Moodle that could be used and how you could use them. The article ‘Universal Instructional Design Principles for Moodle’ looks at some of the UDL principles and examines how Moodle accommodates these.
UDL Four Critical Elements
“Universal Design for Learning (UDL) represents a paradigm shift in education that has the potential to improve outcomes for a broad range of students. MITS, with collaborative partners, has identified four critical elements intended to serve as a foundation for implementation and further research. Instruction aligned with the framework of UDL must minimally include each of the four critical elements shown below” (“UDL Critical Elements”, 2017).
· Goals and desired outcomes of the lesson/unit are aligned to the established content standards
· Teachers have a clear understanding of the goal(s) of the lesson and specific student outcomes
· Goals are communicated in ways that are understandable by every student in the classroom, and can be expressed by them
|Inclusive, Intentional Planning
· Intentional proactive planning addressing distinct student needs
· Addresses individual differences in background knowledge, affect, strategies, etc. (Consider what students know, strengths and weaknesses, and what engages them).
· Recognizes that every student is unique and plans accordingly, paying attention to students in the margins (i.e., struggling and advanced) in anticipation that a broader range of students will benefit
· Addresses the instructional demands including goals, methods, materials, and assessments while considering available resources including personnel
· Maintaining rigor of the lesson while providing necessary supports
· Reducing the barriers in the curriculum by embedding supports during initial planning
|Flexible methods and materials
· Teacher uses a variety of media and methods to present information and content
· A variety of methods are used to engage students (e.g., provide choice, address student interest) and promote their ability to monitor their own learning (e.g., goal setting, self-assessment, and reflection)
· Students use a variety of media and methods to demonstrate their knowledge
|Timely progress monitoring
· Formative assessments are frequent and timely enough to plan/redirect instruction and support
· A variety of formative and summative assessments (e.g., projects, oral tests, written tests) are used to assess the learning in the classroom
Developed in Collaboration with Boyne City Middle School, Charlevoix-Emmet ISD, Harbor Springs Middle School, Reese Middle School, and the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST)
MITS UDL Critical Elements by MITS is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
I thought today’s session we could have a hands on activity getting ‘crafty’ and making the ‘UDL Wheel’ that has been developed by by CAST. It is a handy resource for working out ways to incorporate the UDL guidelines into your courses. Download the wheel and print it off to make so that you will have it as a handy resource.
In the forum today discuss how you found the coffee course and any questions that may have been raised for you in implementing UDL.
Thank you for participating in this Coffee course we hope you have enjoyed it and learnt a lot about UDL. We would appreciate your feedback on the course so that we can continue to improve our courses.
Please fill in our short feedback survey.
The following links go to a number of articles and further resources that you can access and use.
- Creating accessible documents by James Cook University Australia
- Rose, D. (2001). Universal Design for Learning. Journal of Special Education Technology, 16 (4), 64-67.
- ‘ Universal Design for Learning in Postsecondary Education: Reflections on Principles and their Applications’
- LearnTechLib – Universal Design – has links to a large number of articles about UDL, a number of which can be downloaded.
- Media access Australia https://mediaaccess.org.au/education/accessible-media-for-diverse-learners/universal-design-for-learning
- Centre for Universal design Australia http://universaldesignaustralia.net.au/category/policy-development/policy-udl/
- ‘Universal Design for Learning: Theory and practice‘ – This book is available through the CAST website. You can become a member to access it.
- ‘Pedagogy and Student Services for Institutional Transformation: Implementing Universal Design in Higher Education‘
- Universal Design for Learning: Technology and Pedagogy
- ANU Access and Inclusion
- ANU Diverstiy and Inclusion