Available for free to help all of us think more about Universal Design for Learning and how we can make our courses more accessible to and engaging for all, particularly through the use of technology and online tools, is the UDL Toolkit!
This Toolkit was designed by folks at the Center for Applied Special Technologies and the University of Michigan, along with funding from the National Science Foundation.
It allows you to do two things. First, you can get in as a “guest” student, and poke around, experiencing what some of these design features are like for students.
Second, you can use the open source resources as foundations for your own development of online and web-based teaching materials. (And remember, if that sounds terrifyingly techie to you, you don’t have to do this! You can just be a student and poke around to see what’s what!).
Colorado State University’s “Access Project” helps other in higher education think about Universal Design for Learning, and how we can improve our own teaching practices, especially leveraging the power of educational technology and online tools!
I found the resource called “How Do YOU Teach?” particularly valuable as I thought about my own classrooms, what I might change, and how.
The text Universal Design in Higher Education: Promising Practices, edited by Sheryl E. Burgstahler, can be located at the above link.
The e-book contains an introduction to UDL in higher education and a variety of articles on UDL practices from the field. Contributors have affiliations with a variety of universities and community colleges. The final section contains a useful bibliography of web resources and published articles for those who want to seek out more information.
While all levels of education need to attend to UDL to be in compliance with ADA standards, postsecondary education students have particular abilities and needs.
Check out this website with resources and ideas on postsecondary education and UDL, provided by the National Center for Universal Design for Learning.
Also, you’ll find even more resources at the website “UDL on Campus.”
How can online resources help you develop pedagogy to meet these new guidelines?
We’ll all be hearing a lot more about Universal Design for Learning in the coming months…
for a quick overview, check out this overview video produced by CAST, the Center for Applied Special Technology.
You can learn more at the CAST website.
“Until learning has no limits.”
That’s the motto for CAST, The Center for Applied Special Technology, whose website is loaded with information and resources for educators interesting in Universal Design for Learning (UDL).
As their website states that The Center for Applied Special Technology explores
ways of using new technologies to provide better educational experiences to students with disabilities. As CAST researchers tested and refined their principles, priorities, and vision over that first decade, they came to a new understanding of how to improve education using flexible methods and materials. They called this approach Universal Design for Learning.
This robust online resource includes the group’s history, research, and a wide variety of videos, guidelines, grids, and prompts to help educators at all levels make their lessons and classroom experiences more accessible to all.
UDL, as they define it:
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a research-based set of principles to guide the design of learning environments that are accessible and effective for all. First articulated by CAST in the 1990s and now the leading framework in an international reform movement, UDL informs all of our work in educational research and development, capacity building, and professional learning.
Why not check out their UDL Guidelines as you consider the end of this school year and what innovations you might make for this coming fall?
Universal Design for Learning… this is something that those of us working in online education need to think about more as we design our curricula and lessons.
This TEDX talk, “Universal Design for Learning–A Paradigm for Maximum Inclusion” addresses this in the context of reconciliation. Fascinating. The speaker, Dr. Terence Brady of Oxford, explains UDL and speaks about why he believes it is the best way toward maximum inclusion.