Universal Design for Instruction and Learning
ALL ABOUT UNIVERSAL DESIGN
Universal Design, in a nutshell, means designing an environment that is universally ideal for everyone (as opposed to just certain individuals, such as those with disabilities).
Examples of universal design solutions that benefit everyone include:
- sliding glass doors
- curb cuts where sidewalks abut intersections
- closed captioning on video screens (especially in places like restaurants or airports).
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and Universal Design for Instruction (UDI) are frameworks that are devised to optimize teaching and learning for diverse groups of students based on scientific insights into how people learn best. Research has found that successful classes are those which employ the 3 tenents of Universal Design: multiple modes of presenting information, multiple ways to actively engage students, and multiple means of assessing knowledge. UDL’s goal is to maximize access for all diverse learners and to minimize the need for individual adaptations or accommodations.
This website provides information about UDL in Higher Education, and here's an explanatory video series that addresses "What is Universal Design for Learning?"
These resources were created by Marni Jones created for Dickinson faculty:
- How Dickinson Professors can create Inclusive and Accessible Syllabi and Moodle Pages
- Incorporating UDL In Your Classes
And here are additional UD resources:
- "UDL on Campus" -- Video inspiration and a vast collection of resources from CAST (the conceivers of UDL)
- How Universal Design for Learning Can Help You Break Up Your Lectures (A great podcast interviewing Tom Tobin -- you could skip the first 9 minutes)
- UDL Implementation and Research Network (another treasure trove of UDL resources)
- Using UD to teach College Students with Learning Disabilities
- UD and Specific Types of Disabilities + Types of Application (Labs, Fieldwork, Group Work, Writing Assignments...)
- WebAIM: Easy checklists for implementing the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) to ensure that your online content is accessible for all.
- Landmark College professor and researcher Manju Banerjee, a neurodiversity and UDI/UDL expert, was a past Clarke Forum guest speaker. Here is a video of Manju and others discussing How to Get Started Using UDL.
There is an abundance of helpful guidance from colleges and universities across the US that are successfully incorporating UDL/UDI in their curricula. Here are two great examples:
This page is managed by Marni Jones, who is available to provide guidance on Universal Design.
If you have any questions or suggestions, please email her at email@example.com.