UDL Check-In Quiz - June 16, 2020

Question 10 pts

Rate Your Understanding

Rate your understanding of Universal Design for Learning (1 - I could teach it; 5 - I don't understand it at all)

I would give myself a 2 right now.  I feel that I understand the core concepts quite well: the goal is to create learning materials that simultaneously activate multiple aspects of the brain, and then to do this over time in ways that will allow the individual lessons to connect with each other and with each student's prior experiences, with full recognition of the fact that each student will be applying this learning in different ways and to difference experiences.  Hence, I see that it's not about "teaching the student," it's about providing the resources and guidance so that each student is individually able to learn what they need from the materials.  And we do this by putting together materials that offer visual, verbal, and (if possible) haptic engagement, providing opportunities for both independent and social rehearsal of skills, and then a sense of purpose that students can connect to their real lives.

Okay, so I feel have a very solid grasp of UDL.  I'm not quite as good yet when it comes to creating the materials.  I don't think I could teach this yet because I don't as confident with my usage of the terminology, and I'm nowhere near memorizing the UDL map that CAST has produced.  Not that I need to "memorize" it, but some more familiarity with the spaghetti streets of London seems necessary before I get a license to ferry people on a taxi through the urban canyons of UDL.

Course Structure

How do you feel about the way the course is structured? How might the course be structured differently to improve/enhance your learning?

Overall, I think the course is well structured — I like how the readings and videos are integrated directly into the lecture pages, and the videos about neuroscience and the recent brain studies are really eye-opening for me.  I've also been interested in neuroscience for a long time, so I was surprised by how much I didn't know before watching the videos.  I did know about the brain regions and the scale of neural connections and how synapses function, but I wasn't aware of the word map of the brain or of the degree to which the the hippocampus changes due to outside stimulus.  Also, the connections between sight and touch were something I've thought about, but I hadn't previously considered how this might help in a teaching environment.

Your Progress

How do you feel about your progress thus far in this online certification course? Positive, so-so, negative - and why?  What has been the most challenging and the most rewarding part of this online certificate and why?

Overall, I feel positive about my progress.  In some ways, I feel the material seems "too easy," but I think it's that the concepts are straightforward but implementation will be complex.  In thinking about my online English 101 course, I'm already seeing areas that I thought were well-done in terms of UDL (they worked really well for the Alternative Delivery Certification because I've integrated headings, videos, formative worksheets, and discussions), but I'm thinking more about how well my materials will hold student attention, especially with scaffolding they key concepts in rhetoric, genre, and multimodality.

Tips for Other Faculty

If you were going to explain to another faculty member how to be successful in this online certificate, what would you tell him/her (please be specific)?

I think the best advice I could give is to simply follow the materials in the most comfortable manner that works for you.  For me, I like reading and skimming quickly, and the re-reading interesting paragraphs as I go.  I like the Screencastify videos because they let me bump up the playback speed to 2x, and then I listen to them on my phone while I brew my coffee or make lunch.  Something that held me back before was this sense that I had to read and study everything to "master" these concepts as I go, and that kind of perfectionism actually delayed my participation (especially once coronavirus hit and the world went sideways.)  I think the estimate for the course only needing 16 hours might be accurate — I think it could be completed in 16 hours, if someone tried.  One reason that folks spend more time on it is because you've provided enough additional interesting information that we want to spend more time learning these concepts.  Also, as a group, college faculty tend to be in the crowd of "must understand everything fully in order to say I understand anything!"  Not that this is wrong or anything — it's just how many of us are.  But I'm likely somewhat different because I'm in creative writing, and so I'm constantly researching a wide variety of unrelated topics in order to better understand the scenes and situations I'm writing about, so I tend to do my research in a less linear fashion than most.  At least, that's my theory — with UDL, I'm only more convinced that every one of us would (and should) approach the course differently.

Additional Comments

Please feel free to use this space for any additional comments, concerns, or questions you would like to privately share with me at this time.

Overall, I'm enjoying this a lot — it's giving me a great deal to think about, and I think it complements the ADC course really well.  I'm not sure if this would be a good idea or not, but I think it would interesting to put together a kind of "neurodiversity working group" that might put together sets of common course materials at a department level.  For example, rather than having each English 101 instructor come up with all their own materials for how to teach a term like "rhetoric," you might have a group of instructors create a kind of extended module with quiz activities that would provide the multiple options of representation, and then each individual instructor throughout the department would decide whether they wanted to incorporate some of those directly into their own course.  I think this could kind of ease the burden of producing effective multimodal teaching tools — it is pretty hard putting together effective teaching videos, and what I'm thinking would be a step well beyond that.  More like a coordinated learning experience where a student has the combination of videos, discussions, scaffolding quizzes — a really compressed experience, like having a watch party for Game of Thrones, except by the end you know ethos, pathos, and logos.  And then individual instructors could just take those whole modules and drop them into their own Canvas shells, if and where desired.  Maybe even make them a kind of optional tool for students who are struggling with the key concepts, and then skip the tool for those students who've clearly had prior experiences with the concepts.

Does that make sense?