It’s important for instructors to create learning paths for all students. The key is following the three basic pillars of universal design: provide various ways to REPRESENT essential course concepts that recognize that there are different learning styles; offer various ways to encourage student ENGAGEMENT, as participation is an effective way to learn; and give students various formats for EXPRESSION through which they can demonstrate what they’ve learned.
Student Success Story: Atlantic Cape Community College
Here are a few things to think about to ensure the principles of Universal Design for Learning are incorporated throughout the course:
A syllabus has been made available within the course and is easily accessible for all students. A well-crafted syllabus includes all important course details: description, materials, assignments, tests, instructor contact information, etc. It will enable students to quickly gain an understanding about what the class entails and what the instructor’s expectations are.
The course goals and learning outcomes are clearly defined, either in the syllabus or in the course units themselves. With this information, students can understand precisely what skills and knowledge they will be developing in the course.
Differentiated activities have been incorporated where and when applicable with explicit instruction for all units, assessments, and activities. Giving students options for how best to showcase their knowledge and understanding increases engagement and ensures all learning styles and needs can be met without complex accommodations.
There are opportunities for collaborative learning throughout the class. Collaboration enables students to learn from their peers, and build crucial community, which enables those with diverse abilities to work with and gain and understanding of each other. Collaboration also fosters the teamwork and joint problem-solving skills that today’s employers are looking for.