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Office of Online & Extended Learning

  • IT Services: A B C D E H I K L M O P Q R S T V W
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  • Pedagogy

    What is Universal Design for Learning?

    According to the National Center on Universal Design for Learning, the term Universal Design for Learning (UDL) “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.”

    Some use the following terms interchangeably:

    • Universal Design for Learning
    • Accessibility
    • Design for All

    Why be concerned about making my courses accessible?

    It’s the right thing to do

    • Students with disabilities run the risk of falling behind if their course materials are inaccessible.
    • Students without disabilities can benefit from your efforts in making your course materials accessible.
    • Instructors would be following Standard 8 of the Quality Matters Rubric.
    • Examples from San Diego State University:
      From Where I Sit: Kelvin Crosby (06:14)
      From Where I Sit: Lana’s Story (07:18)

    It’s the law

    • Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires that agencies receiving Federal dollars allow people with disabilities to “have access to and use of information and data that is comparable to that provided to the public who are not individuals with disabilities, unless an undue burden would be imposed on the agency.”
    • The Web Accessibility for Online Learning web site offers an outline of legal reasons to provide equitable access.
    • Minnesota adopted the Accessible Technology Bill in 2009 which “requires the state to adopt Section 508 standards and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG 2.0) to develop and maintain accessible statewide information and telecommunications technology systems and services.”
    • Campuses are coming under legal pressure to make their course materials accessible for all students:
      o U. of Montana improving access for disabled (Education Dive, March 2014)
      o “Dropping the Ball on Disabilities” (Inside Higher Ed, April 2014)