We hope that you had a restful Thanksgiving break.

Before Thanksgiving, we featured parts one and two of a three-part series of 20-Minute Mentors by Dr. Thomas (Tom) Tobin about Universal Design for Learning (UDL).  For this week’s edition of Magna Mondays, we are finishing the series with “How Can I Implement UDL in the Next 20 Months?”  We highly recommend watching the full video in 20-Minute Mentor Commons in the Chapman University Magna Campus.

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.

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(s) in the Next 20 Months?

Dr. Tobin recommends starting by collecting data on how, when, and where students interact with course materials/coursework, with one another, and with you (the instructor).  One way of doing this would be to view the weekly online activity data or download the course activity report in New Analytics in your Canvas course(s).  Another way to do this would be to ask students open-ended questions about their experience in your course(s) in a mid-semester feedback survey.  You can use this data to guide you as you implement Universal Design for Learning in your course(s).  For example, if you find that there are course elements that students aren’t using (e.g. videos that students aren’t watching), you could create an alternative way for students to interact with the material (e.g. sharing a text transcript in addition to the video).  In time, you will have created a full alternative path through your course(s), giving your students choices about how to engage with content and demonstrate what they are learning.

“[Universal Design for Learning] is about providing choices so that learners decide how they want to experience the interactions in our courses.”

-Dr. Tom Tobin

Wishing you a wonderful week!