By the end of this module you should be able to:
- Recognize basic Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles
- Know the basics of making a Word document accessible
- Find other City College and CUNY accessibility resources
- Understand why accessibility matters
- Tell if a PDF is accessible
Universal Design for Learning (UDL)
This section will cover the basics of Universal Design for Learning and its importance and implementation in the college classroom.
What is UDL?
UDL is a principle of curriculum design that provides all students with equal opportunities to learn regardless of ability, disability, age, gender, and cultural or linguistic background.
UDL makes learning better for everyone, not just those who need accommodations. An example of universal design in everyday life is seen in the curb cut pictured below. The curb cut doesn’t just make it easier for people in wheelchairs to use the sidewalk, but also individuals with limited mobility (temporary or permanent), mothers with strollers, delivery personnel with carts and dollies, people on bikes/roller-blades/skateboards, and more.
UDL in the Classroom
The UDL Guidelines (2012), whose foundation includes over 800 peer reviewed research articles, provide benchmarks that guide educators in the development and implementation of UDL curriculum. These Guidelines serve as a tool with which to critique and minimize barriers inherent in curriculum as educators aim to increase opportunities to learn. — About UDL from CAST, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0
According to CUNY’s Accessibility training, UDL practices of instruction include:
- A syllabus statement inviting students to meet with the instructor to discuss learning needs
Multiple delivery and assessing methods that motivate and engage all learners
Examples that appeal to students with a variety of characteristics with respect to race, ethnicity, gender, age, ability, disability, and interest
Regular, accessible, and effective interactions between students and the instructor
Allowing students to turn in parts of a large project for feedback before the final project is due
Awareness of processes and resources for disability-related accommodations
UDL builds flexibility into the classroom. By providing students with multiple personalized reasons to engage with knowledge, multiple ways to access that knowledge, and multiple ways to demonstrate what they've learned, we can increase student success.
This module was created by Julia Brown. Portions of the content were adapted from: