For this week’s edition of Magna Mondays, we chose part two of a three-part series of 20-Minute Mentors by Dr. Thomas (Tom) Tobin: “How Can I Implement UDL in the Next 20 Days?” We highly recommend watching the full video in 20-Minute Mentor Commons in the Chapman University Magna Campus. See last week’s edition of Magna Mondays about part one of this series.
What is UDL?
UDL stands for Universal Design for Learning. UDL is…
- finding multiple ways of keeping people engaged.
- presenting information in multiple ways.
- providing multiple ways of taking action.
“[UDL is] providing choices for all of the interactions that students have with the materials, with each other, and with the instructor.”
-Dr. Tom Tobin
Why Do UDL?
A common misunderstanding is that Universal Design for Learning is only for learners with disabilities. Universal Design for Learning minimizes barriers and maximizes learning for all students by creating unique pathways for all students based on their preferred method of learning. Research shows that implementing UDL in a small, well-defined way reduces student questions and confusion and leads to greater student persistence, retention, and satisfaction.
How Can I Implement UDL in My Course in the Next 20 Days?
Dr. Tobin recommends taking 20 days to carve out two learning pathways through your course: a media path and a text path.
First, take an inventory of the media elements that you currently have in your course (e.g. audio podcasts, YouTube videos, Panopto videos, etc.) and ask yourself how you can add to those existing media elements to create a media path through your course. For example, perhaps you could add:
- A welcome video at the beginning of the course and/or a video introduction to each unit of the course
- Video instructions for assignments
- Audio/video study guides for quizzes/exams
- Images that will serve as “signposts,” showing students where they are in the course
- Short instructional videos on key concepts
- Media feedback on students’ work
It is super easy to incorporate more media elements into your course using Canvas and other tools that are integrated with Canvas (such as Panopto)! Click on the links above for resources.
Next, take an inventory of the text-based elements that you currently have in your course and ask yourself how you can add to those existing text elements to create a text path through your course. For example, perhaps you could add:
- Agendas that help students prepare for what’s coming next in the course
- Checklists that help students stay on track with assignments
- Regular announcements and emails
- Written instructions for all course assignments that are consistently detailed
- Written feedback on students’ work
Canvas makes it super easy to incorporate more text elements into your course, too! Click on the links above for resources.
Finally, during these 20 days, Dr. Tobin recommends thinking about the assessments in your existing course. How can you give students more choices for assessments? For example, maybe for a reflection assignment, you could give students the choice to submit either a reflection paper or a video reflection using Flipgrid.
“UDL is all about options, convenience, and access based on students’ ever-changing needs.”
-Dr. Tom Tobin
References and Additional Resources
- CAST (2018). Universal Design for Learning Guidelines version 2.2. Retrieved from http://udlguidelines.cast.org
- UDL Guidelines Educator Worksheet from CAST
Wishing you a wonderful week!