SUPPORTING DIVERSE LEARNING AND LIFE NEEDS THROUGH UNIVERSAL DESIGN FOR LEARNING

J. Ableser

Oakland University (UNITED STATES)
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework to enhance successful learning for all students by enhancing access and removing barriers to learning. UDL provides proactive support by creating learning environments that support students with diverse learning and life needs, rather than solely providing accommodations for students with identified disabilities. This presentation will provide an overview of the theory and guidelines of UDL and compare and contrast UDL with accommodations for students with disabilities. UDL is a scientific valid framework for guiding educational practices that provide multiple means of engagement, representation and expression of learning (CAST, UDL Center). It is supported through the Higher Education Opportunity Education Act-HEOA-(2008) to meet diverse learning and life needs, improve retention and increase access and reducing barriers to learning. Classroom strategies have advanced with the development of new assistive technologies to support diverse learners including lecture capture, translation apps and other low and high tech options. Students who benefit from such strategies include international and english language learners, at-risk students, non-proficient readers, students with health or mental health issues and non-traditional students (parents, working students, commuters).

The focus of the session will be on the development and implementation of a campus-wide initiative to support UDL across the institution. Practical examples of how to implement UDL guidelines in the classroom and on campus to promote a culture of success and inclusion will be highlighted. The initiative involves a comprehensive team of administrators, support staff, faculty, and students who have been working together to create a culture that promotes and supports diverse learning needs. We have reviewed research and resources, have developed references and guidelines and are developing university-wide recommendations for practice. Highlights and challenges will be addressed. The session will conclude with recommendations and guidelines that can be implemented at other institutions to develop a similar initiative.

This session will address the following learning outcomes:
1. Define and describe UDL including the theory and guidelines developed by CAST and Center for UDL
2. Compare and contrast UDL for all with accommodations for students with special needs
3. Share concrete examples of how to implement UDL in campus classrooms and as a campus-wide initiative
4. Highlight a Campus-Wide Initiative to promote UDL to enhance student success and retention