How I Use Universal Design for Learning on the Website
My UDL Project
In addition to helping share resources with my students, this website is part of my planned UDL project for the Heartland UDL Fellows Program. The goal of UDL is to provide materials suited for students across a wide spectrum of personal and academic perspectives. In this site, I'll provide a number of links to outside resources describing UDL in greater detail and how it benefits our students. The UDL Tools Page for Instructors will provide ideas and advice for making your own courses more universally accessible
However, I want to emphasize that I will largely be using my own thoughts on writing and applying them to UDL in a college composition classroom. Hence, I will often use terminology and concepts that differs from more established, research-based sources that define UDL as a conceptual framework. My work centers on teaching writing, and I regularly adapt the general UDL concepts to meet my specific needs as a teacher. Since every classroom is different, please see the links below and to the right for more in-depth information about UDL and student learning.
Some Considerations of UDL
- Every Student Is Unique: Depending upon past educational experiences, some students may have already advanced past the current lesson while others may struggle to engage with new concepts and material.
- Every Course Should Be Accessible: Naturally, all courses must meet the accessibility requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Title IX. However, "UDL emphasizes variability instead of disability," according to David Rose of CAST. UDL isn't about the "shortcomings" in our students -- it's about acknowledging their differences and expanding the available resources to benefit all students.
- Course Material Should Be Engaging for All Students: This requires identifying the key learning concepts of the course and then providing options for students to make personally relevant projects.
- Academic Rigor Is Maintained: UDL does not mean that core concepts are "simplified" or "skipped" in order to "meet needs." Instead, it means that each concept is presented in a variety of ways so that each student has an opportunity to learn the material. Course Concepts Are Never "watered down," and courses continue to provide challenging assignments for every student.