Drasin: M8 UDL

  • In your own words, describe your interpretation of accessibility and Universal Design for Learning (UDL), include the three networks in your brief response.

UDL reminds me of 508 compliance rules for web site design, but it goes a level deeper. Like 508, UDL is a framework of improving the accessibility of learning delivery, e.g. captions on photos, using pictures to represent concepts, and not relying on audio to indicate focus of the lecture. However, it goes beyond that in trying to make learning delivery more accessible by other types of learning, rather than strictly addressing disability issues.

  • Describe a few things that you think you could do to increase accessibility in your classes. (It’s a work-in-progress, do not feel like it’s something that will happen all at once).

With the visuals I use in presentation, I have tried moving more towards visuals, but I should (like I did in the video we made) try and visually focus on what I’m speaking to. In addition, adding captioning would help. At a more foundation level, I could structure my lectures in such a way that they are more easily broken up in their delivery so that they can be consumed as a large, or a collection of smaller, assets.

  • What are some questions that you have about this topic?

I would be interested to see research on if some of these activities actually improve delivery. In addition, I’m curious if it may detract from the lecture focus by trying to increase the universality. For instance, are some types of knowledge most effective in a way that is not easy to make universal. I’ve seen this in the 508 accessibility compliance area where some sites become less usable overall in order to make them more accessible to all.

  • Take some time to think about where you’ve been, where you’ve come and where you’re going pertaining to teaching in an online/blended classroom. Use images, videos and type of multi-media to tell your story. Describe what resources you have access to and what you think you will need to be successful.

This course has been an excellent course both reminding me of things I had been taught before, but also applying those principals in a practical manner. I did not go through a traditional doctoral program where I taught, nor am I an educator by trade, so I really enjoyed developing a syllabus, course structure, and mini-lecture. It’s also helped me realize just how much more I have to learn and I have to balance this with other needs. As timing would have it, I spent this weekend with a number of friends who are on tenure tracks and we discussed some of the principals in this class. While they all wanted to be better teachers, they also made it clear that their tenure progress was basically independent of their teaching quality. One even said that teaching awards can be looked down on because it means you are spending too much time on teaching and not enough time researching. This of course depends on the type of university you are at.


26 thoughts on “Drasin: M8 UDL

  1. I found your connection to 508 compliance rules for a website very interesting. It made me think that a summary of compliance rules might be a helpful place to start as one thinks about making a course accessible, as it can be difficult figuring out what is helpful if you haven’t had experience with complying with accessibility requirements before.

  2. With 508 there are a lot of tools and methods for validation and compliance. It would be nice to have such a tool for UDL.

  3. I am on the same page in regards to your statement: “I would be interested to see research on if some of these activities actually improve delivery.” I have my own thoughts on this, but I am concerned I am influenced by what have seen in the past or know to be common tools. We always use ppt for presentations, right?

  4. Mackenzie, I think most of us have had far fewer good examples than bad examples. PowerPoint, in my experience, is a very poor (and poorly used) tool. I did have a Coursera class on social-psychology where I thought the instructor did have some innovative and UDL-inspired methods which were pretty good.

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