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Open Education Practices

Learn how Open Educational Resources (OERs), Open Scholarship, and Open Pedagogy benefit faculty, students, and the wider community.

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UDL Introduction

Graphic listing the three aspects of UDL guidelines: Provide multiple means of Engagement, Provide multiple means of Representation, Provide multiple means of Action & Expression

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is an educational framework that incorporates flexibility into the curriculum from the outset in order to avoid time-consuming retrofitting after the fact. UDL helps faculty members and instructional designers plan their curriculum in ways that reduce barriers to learning, facilitate meaningful participation by all students, and reduce feelings of "otherness."

The freedom that comes with OER-enabled pedagogy makes it easier to incorporate UDL practices into your course design.

Universal Design for Learning Principles

UDL is composed of three key principles

Multiple Means of Engagement

  • Affective Networks: the "why" of learning or the motivation for learning.
  • Integrate podcasts/video/video conferencing options for lectures
  • Accept format choice (oral, written, visual) in assignments
  • Create safe, welcoming learning environments
  • Integrate service learning opportunities
  • Allow video, audio, or written options for self-reflection
  • Use individual response system such as clickers or response cards
  • Include scaffolding to support novices
  • Incorporate individual, partner, small group, and large group activities
  • Use rubrics to heighten salience of objectives

Multiple Means of Representation

  • Recognition Networks: the "what" of learning 
  • Provide comprehensive print and electronic syllabus specifying course requirements, course expectations, and due dates
  • Give multiple forms of instructor contact information
  • Include examples or illustrations of all major course assignments or activities
  • Use advanced organizers to highlight essential course concepts
  • Present course content using visual, auditory, graphic, and verbal formats
  • Ensure accessibility of course content and materials by using accessible documents and websites
  • Use captioned videos
  • Select textbooks that offer e-book options
  • Incorporate cooperative group activities
  • Encourage use of software which reads websites and documents

Multiple Means of Action and Expression

  • Strategic Networks: the “how” of learning 
    • Provide options for student response
    • Allow multiple formats for demonstrating knowledge—oral or written
    • Incorporate a variety of assessment formats
    • Establish framework for planning through detailed descriptions of assignments
    • Encourage use of technologies to ensure students accurately express their understanding

Universal Design for Learning in Higher Ed