My name’s Tamsyn Smith and I’m a Learning Designer in the University of Southampton’s Digital Learning team. I’ve created a series of short videos to explore Universal Design for Learning with you. Through the content on this page, we will
- Consider student needs
- Define Universal Design for Learning
- Learn about the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (no.2) Accessibility Regulations 2018
- Consider strategies to help you design a more inclusive learning experience for your students
- Explore accessibility in Office365
- Create an accessibility checklist
- Burgstahler, S.E. and Cory, R.C. (2015). Universal design in higher education from principles to practice. Cambridge, Ma Harvard Education Press.
- CAST (2018). UDL: The UDL Guidelines. [online] Cast.org. Available at: http://udlguidelines.cast.org/ [Accessed 2 Apr. 2020].
- CHEP (2020). Improving the accessibility of online teaching. [online] CHEP. [Accessed 20 Apr. 2020]. (N.B. This is for UoS staff only).
- Dello Stritto, M.E. and Linder, K. (2017). A Rising Tide: How Closed Captions Can Benefit All Students. [online] er.educause.edu. Available at: https://er.educause.edu/articles/2017/8/a-rising-tide-how-closed-captions-can-benefit-all-students [Accessed 3 Apr. 2020].
- Hammershaimb, L. (2019). How Students with Depression Experience Online Learning: Tracy Orr’s Research Offers Pointers for Course Developers. [online] AACE Review. Available at: https://www.aace.org/review/how-students-with-depression-experience-online-learning-tracy-orrs-research-offers-pointers-for-course-developers/ [Accessed 2 Apr. 2020].
- Policy Connect (2018). ACCESSIBLE VIRTUAL LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS Making the most of the new regulations. [online] Available at: https://www.policyconnect.org.uk/sites/site_pc/files/report/1134/fieldreportdownload/appgatreport09-18final.pdf [Accessed 2 Apr. 2020].
- Rose, D.H., Mayer, A. and Gordon, D. (2016). Universal design for learning – theory and practice. Cast Professional Publishing.
- Sathy, V. and Hogan, K.A. (2019). How to Make Your Teaching More Inclusive. [online] The Chronicle of Higher Education. Available at: https://www.chronicle.com/interactives/20190719_inclusive_teaching?cid=cp234 [Accessed 2 Apr. 2020].
- Smith, T. (2019). Accessible Maths from Retrofitting to Inclusive Design. [online] Digital Learning. Available at: http://generic.wordpress.soton.ac.uk/digital-learning/2019/07/02/accessible-maths-from-retrofitting-to-inclusive-design/ [Accessed 20 Apr. 2020].
- Tobin, T.J. and Behling, K.T. (2018). Reach everyone, teach everyone : universal design for learning in higher education. Morgantown: West Virginia University Press.
What is Universal Design for Learning (UDL)?
The effects of privilege
Life isn’t fair, some people are more privileged than others. Consider how differences in privilege impact how easy/hard it is for a student to access education and learn. (For example, lack of money, working, commuting, hunger, caring responsibilities, and so on will all make a difference to someone’s ability to learn.)
It’s important to remember that a wide range of things, not just privilege, affect a student’s ability to access learning. For instance, learning difficulties, physical disabilities and so on.
Differential attainment gaps for BAME (Black and Minority Ethnic) students show that race also affects a student’s ability to access learning and succeed; there is an inherent bias in the system against BAME students as a result of which they are less successful in their studies than their non-BAME counterparts.
Watch this short video and consider whether you are more privileged than others. [You can also take the Buzzfeed quiz, if you want).
Next, watch this short video that introduces the concept of Universal Design for Learning.
Now you’ve started to consider what UDL is, please share some of the accommodations that you make for the diverse learners that you work with.
What do you do to meet the needs of your students?
Legislation and accessibility
Strategies to design a more accessible course
How would you define accessibility?
- What my colour blindness taught me about design
- Dyslexia friendly style guide
- Can you explain a hard idea using only the ten hundred most used words? Try it out at https://splasho.com/upgoer5/
Accessibility features in Office 365
Much of the content that most people use for their courses will be created using Microsoft Office products. Office 365 has many accessibility features that you can utilise to make your resources as accessible as possible.
I’d recommend that you visit the Office 365 website to explore the latest accessibility features and read some case studies:
Office 365 – Accessible by design
Creating a checklist
An overview of Blackboard Ally
Blackboard Ally is a product that lets you know how accessible your online content is. It gives you hints and tips to increase the accessibility of your content and also allows for the creation of alternative formats.
UDL in more depth
- How can we improve accessibility through instructional design?
- Downloadable guidelines from CAST (including versions in Chinese, Japanese, Spanish and other languages)
- Cornell note-taking
The Sleeper by Michael Wesch
- The student didn’t find sessions engaging and the learning was therefore difficult for him to access.
- Once he was given some choice, he had greater motivation to engage, the subject became more accessible to him and he performed better.
If you want to know more, you might want to read my blogpost What is Universal Design for Learning? Why does UDL matter?