What is Univeral Design?
The NDA, National Disability Authority, Center for Excellence in Universal Design states that "universal design is the design and composition of an environment so that it can be accessed, understood and used to the greatest extent possible by all people regardless of their age, size, ability or disability".
Universal design originates in barrier-free design and architectural accessibility. According to the Center for Universal Design, “Universal design is 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.”
Ron Mace of North Carolina State University Center for Universal Design stated "The design of instruction of products and environments to be usable by all students, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design."
What is an example of Univeral Design?
Universal design (close relation to inclusive design) refers to broad-spectrum ideas meant to produce buildings, products and environments that are inherently accessible to older people, people without disabilities, and people with disabilities.
What is Univeral Design for Learning?
Universal Design for Learning is a set of principles for curriculum development that give all individuals equal opportunities to learn.
UDL provides a blueprint for creating instructional goals, methods, materials, and assessments that work for everyone--not a single, one-size-fits-all solution but rather flexible approaches that can be customized and adjusted for individual needs.
What are Universally Designed Products?
(University of Washington)
They are products that accommodate individual preferences and abilities; communicate necessary information effectively (regardless of ambient conditions or the user's sensory abilities); and can be approached, reached, manipulated, and used regardless of the individual's body size, posture, or mobility. Application of universal design principles minimizes the need for assistive technology, results in products compatible with assistive technology, and makes products more usable by everyone, not just people with disabilities.
Why use Universal Design in Instruction?
- Multiple means of representation- Gives learners various ways of acquiring knowledge
- Multiple means of expression- alternatives for demonstrating what they know
- Multiple means of engagement - taps into learners’ interests, increases motivation, offers appropriate challenges
Principles of Universal Design
(University at Buffalo, Principles of Universal Design)
- Equitable use
- Flexibility in use
- Simple & Intuitive
- Perceptible Information
- Tolerance for Error
- Low Physical Effort
- Size and space for Approach and use
- UDL on Campus
- Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
- Course Design - Plan and Design Curriculum with variability in Mind
- Media & Materials - Using Digital media to create flexible learning environments
- Accessibility & Policy - Ensure learning opportunities are inclusive of all
8 Examples of instruction that employ principles of UD
Class climate. Adopt practices that reflect high values with respect to both diversity and inclusiveness. Example: Put a statement on your syllabus inviting students to meet with you to discuss disability-related accommodations and other special learning needs.
Interaction. Encourage regular and effective interactions between students and the instructor and ensure that communication methods are accessible to all participants. Example: Assign group work for which learners must support each other and that places a high value on different skills and roles.
Physical environments and products. Ensure that facilities, activities, materials, and equipment are physically accessible to and usable by all students, and that all potential student characteristics are addressed in safety considerations. Example: Develop safety procedures for all students, including those who are blind, deaf, or wheelchair users.
Delivery methods. Use multiple, accessible instructional methods that are accessible to all learners. Example: Use multiple modes to deliver content; when possible allow students to choose from multiple options for learning; and motivate and engage students-consider lectures, collaborative learning options, hands-on activities, Internet-based communications, educational software, field work, and so forth.
Information resources and technology. Ensure that course materials, notes, and other information resources are engaging, flexible, and accessible for all students. Example: Choose printed materials and prepare a syllabus early to allow students the option of beginning to read materials and work on assignments before the course begins. Allow adequate time to arrange for alternate formats, such as books in audio format.
Feedback. Provide specific feedback on a regular basis. Example: Allow students to turn in parts of large projects for feedback before the final project is due.
Assessment. Regularly assess student progress using multiple accessible methods and tools, and adjust instruction accordingly. Example: Assess group and cooperative performance, as well as individual achievement.
Accommodation. Plan for accommodations for students whose needs are not met by the instructional design. Example: Know campus protocols for getting materials in alternate formats, rescheduling classroom locations, and arranging for other accommodations for students with disabilities.
- Universal Design in College Instruction, University of Oregon
- AHEAD - Association on Higher Education and Disability
- National Center on Universal Design for Learning
- Resources for Differentiated Instruction and Universal Design for Learning, Delaware Department of Education,
- Howard Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences, Northern Illinois Univ.
- Classroom Climate, Cornell University
- Connecting with Your Students, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
- Inclusive Classrooms, George Mason University
- Inclusive Teaching Strategies, Princeton University
- Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST)
- Washington University, Center for Universal Design in Education, Application of Universal Design in Postsecondary Education
- North Carolina State University, Center for Universal Design (CUD)
- The Center for Accessible Society
- National Center on Universal Design for Learning
- NDA, National Disability Authority, Center for Excellence in Universal Design
- UDL On Campus, Universal Design for Learning in Higher Education
- University of Washington, DO-IT
- Harvard, The Importance of Universal Design for Learning: ELIMINATING BARRIERS IN THE DESIGN OF THE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT TO MAKE CURRICULUM ACCESSIBLE FOR ALL
- Teaching Naked, José Antonio Bowen (2012) describes applying principles very similar to those from UDL as he advocates using technology—for information delivery, engagement, and assessment. Available at UNC Charlotte CTL Library