UDL for Course Design
The course outline provides students with a first look into what to expect from your course. Thus, it is an opportunity for you to set your class climate, discuss your learning and teaching philosophy, identify learning expectations and discuss options and accessibility.
- Provide multiple means of engagement: Begin by outlining the learning goals and objectives, the relevance of the content, and any opportunities for choice within the course.
- Provide multiple means of action and expression: Based on the learning objectives, explain how the course will be organised (weeks / modules / chapters). Communicate regular routines to establish expectations, outline the timing and format of assessments, and offer resources for the management of information.
- Provide multiple means of representation: Be explicit about the ways in which students can access content (e.g., textbook, slides, course website, videos), where to find background information, and provide multiple examples.
Source: ENACT, 2019
UDL for assessments
To check if your assessments align with UDL principles, read each tip and ask yourself the associated questions.
Align assessment to learning goals
- Are my learning outcomes clear?
- Does my assessment measure the intended learning goals, or are there additional components also being measured?
Offer authentic leaning opportunities for assessment
Helps learners to transfer knowledge and understand the what, how, and why of their learning.
- How do my assessments engage learners in understanding the relevance of the content?
- Am I providing opportunities for learners to apply acquired knowledge to new situations and authentic experiences?
Engagement is essential to the learning process and can support students’ metacognition.
- How am I assessing student engagement?
- What strategies or supports helped a student to persist through a challenge and engage in the learning?
Include frequent formative assessments
Ongoing frequent ways to measure students’ progress towards learning objectives. Examples include: exit tickets, polls, response cards
- How can I use information from formative assessments to guide my teaching?
- If students are not achieving learning outcomes, how will I redesign my instruction?
Eliminate unnecessary barriers in assessments
Remove any barriers that are not connected to intended learning goals.
- What learning objectives are the assessment measuring?
- Is anything preventing learners from showing what they know in my assessment?
Support learner variability through flexible assessments
Consider the three UDL principles (engagement, representation, action and expression) when designing assessments.
- Is it possible to include choice of assessment, how my students can show what they learned, or how they engage in the assessment process?
- How do these flexible options still support the measurement of the learning objectives?
Use rubrics to clarify expectations
Clear communication of expectations through a rubric allows for consistent measurement of the intended goals.
- Is the rubric aligned to the intended skills or knowledge?
- Have components not tied to the learning objectives been removed from my rubric?
- See here to create rubrics for flexible assessments
Involve learners in their learning progress through assessment data
Communicate with students about their progress through formative assessment data, mastery-oriented feedback, and providing guidance for possible adjustments or new strategies that may support the intended skill.
- Have I offered timely goal-related feedback?
- Have I shared options and strategies to help students build the skills necessary to achieve the learning outcomes?
Reflect on summative assessments for future course design
- What kinds of summative assessments am I using to measure learning outcomes? Do they contain barriers to accessibility?
- What are summative assessments measuring and how can they be used to inform future course design?
Build communities of practice
- How do I collaborate with others to design effective instruction and materials to support the learning objectives as measured through my assessments?
- How do I adjust my course after evaluating assessment results/data?
Source: CAST (2015)
UDL for lesson planning
1. Begin each lesson by clarifying:
- What are we going to learn?
- Why is it important?
2. Provide detailed instructions for your students to follow before, during or after class: Write these clearly as steps, for example:
Step 1: Complete pre-reading listed on Leganto
Step 2: Watch Lecture video
Step 3: Listen to Podcast
Step 4: Complete post-reading
Step 5: Complete ‘check your knowledge quiz’
3. Deliver content in creative ways (beyond PowerPoint), but be sure to keep things brief and to the point. For example:
- TED talks
- Audio or eBooks
- Interactive websites
- Virtual labs, tours or demonstrations
Action & Expression:
4. Encourage students to collaborate with their peers via small group discussions
5. Offer an interactive learning task, such as a short quiz, survey or poll, to assist students in recalling foundational information
6. Provide an alternative activity such as a real-world example or case study to engage and focus students