UDL- student with tablet December 15, 2017

UDL: How to Improve Satisfaction and Retention for Students at All Learning Levels [Transcript]

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Universal Design for Learning (UDL) isn’t just for students with disabilities, it can help all students be better learners.

The increased (and increasing) diversity of students at colleges and universities means learning needs to be flexible enough to accommodate that diversity. A one-size-fits-all approach to teaching doesn’t take students with different abilities or learning styles into consideration. But that’s where UDL comes in.

Universal Design for Learning provides students with more choices about and control over how, and even when, they learn. Whether it’s choosing the way they get the information you offer, having options for staying engaged, or choosing how they show just how well they learn, UDL gives all students a better chance to be successful.

This transcript, based on an online seminar by Thomas J. Tobin, will help you:

  • Improve interactions with students by using UDL
  • Implement campus-wide UDL at your college or university
  • Use UDL to increase access for students on mobile devices
  • Create interactions that will encourage students to stick with a course and return next semester
  • Structure your courses to include at least one alternative way of learning
  • Advocate for the adoption of UDL at the administrative level of your institution

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UDL framework for learning November 16, 2017

Applying Universal Design for Learning Principles

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When creating course materials, it is important to be as inclusive as possible. A common way of working to ensure that materials respond to different approaches to learning is to use Universal Design for Learning (UDL), which proposes inclusive course design. It is a framework that helps to make content, activities and assignments, and instruction accessible to students at different levels, with different abilities, and who take different approaches to learning. While this sounds straightforward and relatively simple, when one dives into the UDL literature and works to implement its guidelines, the task quickly starts to feel overwhelming—at least that’s how it made me feel.

Last year, I attended a year-long faculty working group in which we focused on implementing UDL in our courses. Here’s what made this a daunting task. A course that is truly adhering to UDL guidelines makes every aspect of the course as inclusive as possible, including the syllabus, lectures, and any online components such as videos, PowerPoints, etc. It can mean creating closed captioning for videos and ensuring that all documents are created and saved in a manner that is screen reader ready.

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college student watching videos on laptop. February 9, 2017

Creating Accessible Video for the Online Classroom

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Videos are being integrated more and more into the online classroom. However, they can create barriers for learners with hearing problems. If a student asks for an ADA accommodation for a video, you will be scrambling at the last minute to create a text supplement. That’s why it’s good practice to create a text supplement at the same time that you create a video.

Many faculty use separate transcripts to add text for hearing-impaired students. But this makes it challenging for a deaf or hard-of-hearing student to absorb the visual and auditory information simultaneously, as they need to shift back and forth between the images and text. The better way to create accessible video is with captions that appear within the video itself, allowing learners to read the text with the images. While captioning takes time, the steps are not difficult to master, and there are a variety of options for adding captions to online videos.

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