The secret of education lies in respecting the pupil. –Ralph Waldo Emerson
Recently, Remote learning has become the norm for many students, but how can remote learning be done in a way that honors the diversity of student learning that occurs in one college classroom? One way is to apply the principles of Universal Design to the college classroom. But, first we must know . . .
Universal Design is defined as"the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design."
While Universal design was originally used for the design of products and the remodeling of buildings and structures with the purpose of benefiting everyone, some have begun to show how specific teaching and classroom methods could also be seen as "products" that can also be designed in a way so as to benefit all learners.
"With a deliberate application of UD principles during the instructional design process, instructors can proactively develop courses that address the needs of diverse learners. UD principles can be taken into consideration when making determinations about various course elements and pedagogical practices for an online course, including decisions about how to use both asynchronous (e.g. course management systems) and synchronous technologies (e.g virtual classrooms via web- conferencing)."
---Kavita Rao, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
a. Creating welcoming classrooms
b. Determining essential components of a course
c. Communicating clear expectations
d. Providing timely and constructive feedback
e. Exploring use of natural supports for learning, including technology
f. Designing teaching methods that consider diverse learning styles, abilities, ways of knowing, and previous experience and background knowledge
g. Creating multiple ways for students to demonstrate their knowledge h. Promoting interaction among and between faculty and students."
How UID Can Improve Remote Learning for All!
The following examples are taken from: www.washington.edu/doit/sites/default/files/atoms/files/Universal%20Design%20in%20Higher%20Education_Promising%20Practices_0.pdf
Solutions (based on UID principles A, B, C) :
A. Personalized introduction
B. Consistent and organized use of CMS (Course management system).
C. Provide clear syllabus and rubric
Solutions (based on UID principles E, F, G):
A. Provide multimodal sources of information
B. Include digital texts and audio files for reading assignments
C. Provide assignment choices with alternate ways to demonstrate knowledge
Solutions (based on UID principles A, C,, D, E, F, G):
A. Include synchronous class meetings
B. Have short, frequent lower-stakes assignments instead of larger high-stakes assignments
C. Provide timely feedback from instructor on all assignments