Implementing Universal Design for Learning - Comparing the approaches at University of Denver and CU Boulder

Anna Reid / University of Denver

The “cost” of accessibility

  • A student perspective – an example from DU.

How is accessibility work distributed across departments and positions at CU Boulder?

Are there places where we wish the balance of work were different? What frameworks do we use to assess this?

 “Interest convergence”

  • Everybody has self-interest. Find out what it is. If we think of each stakeholder group as a customer, what do they need/want?
  • Identify shared goals.
  • Help identify or create motivating forces that are tailored to each stakeholder group.

Does this idea have utility as we develop accessibility trainings at CU Boulder?

What do faculty need?

At DU, the faculty I spoke with said they need:

  • Training: social/cultural, and technical.
    • Training in multiple formats.
    • Trainings that are short, digestible, and accessible.
  • Support from leadership. I.e., time/compensation.

Applying UDL concepts to training faculty:

  • Foster a learning community.
  • Information is “scaffolded” – lessons are not too long, and build on each other.
  • Information is offered in multiple formats, to meet diverse learning and access needs.
    • Online resources.
    • In-person drop-in hours.
  • Goals for expression – what faculty are expected to do or create – are reasonable and clearly defined.
  • Faculty are provided with the resources they need to meet measurable goals.
  • Evaluation criteria is clear.

Messaging for faculty about why UDL is important:

  • UDL is a mindset – helps you think about content from a student perspective.
  • UDL makes your teaching more effective for all students.
    • E.g.: Readings that have good image quality and are searchable.
    • Multiple formats give all students an opportunity to do their best work.
  • Reduces need for individual accommodations.
  • Instructors who implement UDL and accessibility principles report that it makes them more thoughtful and effective teachers.