Universal Design for Instruction

Universal design for instruction applies the same originating concept of universal design to the instruction of material. Examples of universal design for instruction include:

  1. Class Climate: Adopt practices that reflect high values with respect to both diversity, equity, and inclusiveness. [UDI 2, 5; UDL 2, 3]
    1. Example: Include a statement in your syllabus that invites students to meet with you for accommodations or other needs.
      1. Review this statement when you go through the syllabus on the first day of class.
  2. Interaction: Encourage regular and effective interactions between students, employ multiple communication methods, and ensure that communication methods are accessible to all participants. [UD 1, 2, 4; UDL 3]
    1. Specific examples:
      1. Assign group work in ways that meet the needs of all students in the group.
      2. Use in-person and digital communication methods to provide information to students.
      3. Communicate directions to assignments both orally in class and in writing on Blackboard or by email.
  3. Physical environments and products: For outside instruction, ensure that facilities, activities, materials, and equipment are physically accessible to and usable by all students and that diverse potential student characteristics are addressed in safety considerations. [UD 3, 4, 6, 7]
    1. Specific examples:
      1. Make sure to address safety procedures and emergency protocols with students, including students with physical, audiovisual, or other needs.
      2. If taking the class on an off-campus excursion, ensure that the location is accessible (e.g., does not include long walks, has ramps, and/or has elevator access).
  4. Delivery methods: Use multiple instructional methods that are accessible to all learners. [UD 2-4; UDL 1-3]
    1. Specific example: Use various modalities to engage students, including in-person lecturing and group work; digital reading and discussion board engagement via Blackboard; and/or other virtual or hands-on methods.
  5. Information resources and technology: Ensure that course materials, notes, and other information resources are engaging, flexible, and accessible for all students. [UDL 1]
    1. Specific examples:
      1. Ensure that scans posted on Blackboard are accessible (LINK)
      2. Post course materials in advance of semester start, in order to allow students time to review and obtain necessary materials, including alt-formatted texts.
      3. When using Zoom, enable automatic live transcript (directions available here). When recording in Panopto, enable automatic captions (directions available here).
  6. Feedback and assessment: Regularly asses students' progress, provide specific feedback on a regular basis using multiple accessible methods and tools, and adjust instruction accordingly. [UD 5; UDL 2, 3]
    1. Specific examples:
      1. Scaffold assignments so that students can progressively build work required for a large product or paper; provide feedback throughout the scaffolding process.
      2. Instead of making one large, high stakes assessment (e.g., a timed cumulative final), consider more low-stakes assessments such as papers or untimed take-home tests.
  7. Accommodations: Plan for accommodations for students whose needs are not fully met by the instructional content and practices.
    1. Specific examples: Ensure you are knowledgeable of DSS protocols and processes, and that you have a plan for accommodation integration in your courses. If you have a question or concern about an accommodation or a student with accommodations, contact DSS immediately to discuss.