UDL Integration

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) involves a proactive process of designing learning in order to achieve the highest level of functionality and positive learner experience for the widest audience possible. In order for UDL to be effective, it requires purposeful consideration and strategy in all areas of course planning and design. The end result will be online learning that allows students to access, interact, and learn in a variety of ways, addressing the learning styles and learning needs of a wide variety of students.

The questions, resources, and checkpoints highlighted below serve as a guide for developing a Universally Designed course and are organized by the phases of the course development process as followed by the Office of Distance Education and eLearning Digital Scholarship team. Checkpoints followed by an asterisk (*) should be considered necessary to meet basic accessibility standards.

Use the UDL and Accessibility Perspectives site to help with imagining your course from a variety of perspectives.

Preparation

Questions to Inform Design

  • What technologies/tools are you most familiar with? What would you like to bring into the course content/activities?
  • What accessibility challenges do these tools/technologies pose for:
    • Students with visual disabilities?
    • Students with auditory disabilities?
    • Students with cognitive disabilities?
    • Students with motor disabilities?
    • Students with English as a second language?
  • How does the desired format post both benefits and/or challenges for accessibility?
  • What prior knowledge/skills with technology will be needed?
  • How might student characteristics impact the design?

Resources for Support

Common Technologies/Tools:

Checkpoints for Universal Design

  • New technologies are evaluated for accessibility challenges/concerns alongside the Web Accessibility Team.*
  • Viable alternatives or solutions for course technologies that pose accessibility challenges are determined.*
  • Accessibility challenges of common/supported technology tools are addressed and will be considered in design.*
  • Implications of student characteristics to design are assessed.

Course Learning Outcomes

Questions to Inform Design

  • What course goals, skills, concepts (if any) may be an obstacle for students with:
    • Students with visual disabilities?
    • Students with auditory disabilities?
    • Students with cognitive disabilities?
    • Students with motor disabilities?
    • Students with English as a second language?

Resources for Support

Example: The learning outcome below would not be accessible for all learners and may require further discussion within the college/program:

Students will assess visual aesthetics in filmography.

This would require conversations within the college about what options exist for students with visual impairment or whether this outcome must be adjusted to allow for a wider variety of aesthetics to be considered.

Checkpoints for Universal Design

  • Any fundamental challenges to accessibility based on course outcomes have been addressed with the college.
  • If further consultation is needed, requested consult with web accessibility team.

Assessment

Questions to Inform Design

  • How can I provide students with multiple options for demonstrating their learning and taking part in activities?
  • How can I give students an opportunity to include their own critical thought, research, and opinions in the assessments?
  • Which course assessments or aspects of course assessments, if any, may be challenging for:
    • Students with visual disabilities?
    • Students with auditory disabilities?
    • Students with cognitive disabilities?
    • Students with motor disabilities?
    • Students with English as a Second Language (ESL)?
  • What technology and/or resources needed for completion of assessments may pose accessibility challenges?

Resources for Support

Checkpoints for Universal Design

  • Assessments allow the student a broad range of choice of topic, research, and presentation.
  • Technology or materials needed for completion of assessments are accessible.

Online Teaching-Learning Strategy

Questions to Inform Design

  • How am I maintaining consistency within modules and activities?
  • How am I taking into account different learning styles?
  • How am I ensuring students have adequate time to complete activities/assessments?
  • How can I allow for adjustment of instruction based on student feedback and needs?

Resources for Support

Instruction should be straightforward and predictable in that it eliminates unnecessary complexity through inconsistency (Burgstahler and Cory, 2011). With this in mind you might:

  • Maintain consistent expectations.
  • Create a consistent schedule for assignment due dates and formats.
  • Provide material in a consistent and regular basis, giving students plenty of time to digest before being assessed.

Checkpoints for Universal Design

  • Assessments and activities follow a consistent structure/routine throughout the course.
  • Students have adequate time to complete activities and assessments.
  • Student activities are varied and take into account different learning styles.
  • Activities allow for adjustment based on student feedback and need.

Multimedia Content

Questions to Inform Design

  • How am I maintaining consistency within multimedia?
  • How can I make key points clear and stand out?
  • How can I best highlight the most crucial information?
  • What potential accessibility challenges does the multimedia pose for:
    • Students with visual disabilities?
    • Students with auditory disabilities?
    • Students with cognitive disabilities?
    • Students with motor disabilities?
    • Students with English as a second language?

Resources for Support

Accessible Classroom Technologies at OSU

Accessible PDF and PDF from Word and PowerPoint

Alternate Text for Images in Two-Minutes or Less

Media Accessibility

Twelve Tips for Creating Effective Presentations

YouTube and Mediasite for Video Captioning

Checkpoints for Universal Design

  • Multimedia elements contain consistency in structure and design.
  • The most crucial information is highlighted.
  • For video, synchronized captions are included.*
  • Descriptive text is included when video demonstration is not coupled with audio.*
  • For audio, a text transcript is provided.*
  • For images, alternate text is included (if image is decorative and has no meaning related to the content then a null attribute is included).*

Learning Plan

Questions to Inform Design

  • How can I provide students with options for how they interact with the content and how content is presented?
  • How can I make key points clear and stand out?
  • How can I weave in my students’ personal experiences with the course content?
  • How can I encourage students to take ownership of their learning?
  • How can I encourage an instructor-student connection and provide options for interaction?

Resources for Support

Creating Effective Collaborative Learning Groups in an Online Environment

Six Strategies for Differentiated Instruction in Project-Based Learning

Checkpoints for Universal Design

  • Course content/activities allow for differentiation depending on student need.
  • Opportunities exist for students to weave in critical thinking, opinion, and personal experience into course activities.
  • Course content/activities allow for multiple options for how students may choose to access material.
  • Course materials are clear and key points highlighted.*
  • Multiple opportunities for interaction between instructor-student and student-student are provided.*
  • Course materials are accessible or equivalent alternatives are provided (see media accessibility checks below).*
  • Assessment instructions are clear and described in simple, level-appropriate, consistent and familiar terms (avoid ambiguous words and excessive wordiness).*
  • Multiple models or examples of performance are provided as additional guidance for students.

Media Accessibility Checks

  • Video: Synchronized captions are included. Descriptive text is included when video demonstration is not coupled with audio.
  • Audio: Text transcripts are provided.
  • Images: Alternate text is included (unless image is decorative and has no meaning related to the content).
  • Word Docs: Correct formatting is followed, including use of appropriate headings. Images include alternative text.
  • PDF Docs: Correct formatting is followed and reading order is touched up as needed. Images include alternative text.
  • Visual Design:
    • Color alone is not used to denote meaning.
    • Blocks of text have adequate spacing (1.5 times line spacing is ideal
    • Images and text have an appropriate contrast ratio of 4.5:1
    • Font size and color is readable.