Why UDL in higher education?As a recent immigrant from school to university, it was important to this educator that the pedagogical and curriculum content taught to pre-service teachers was evidence based and had been experienced by the academic during their time in schools. As a passionate advocate for Universal Design for Learning (UDL) while a teacher in schools, this educator included UDL as a content area for the Enhancing learning for Students with Disabilities (not its real subject title) university subject. UDL is a conceptual framework that assists teachers plan, deliver and assess learning by addressing “inflexible, ‘one-size-fits all’ curricula” (CAST, 2011, p. 4).For two semesters, the content of UDL was explicitly taught. The positive university’s systemic student feedback data confirmed the appropriateness of its inclusion. I embed principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) into the units I teach.
This includes planning multiple methods of presentation; multiple options for participation; multiple means of expression. The principles of UDL provide me with a well researched framework to design learning and assessment tasks for students (Burgstahler, 2007; Conn-Powers, et. al, 2007).
Do as I do and as I say!However, explicitly modelling the way in which I wanted teachers to teach the diverse range of learners in their class was absent. I was guilty of the ‘do as I say not as I do’ paradigm and sought to change this.
A qualitative single, descriptive, intrinsic case study (Creswell, 2007) was developed to answer the questions -