Universal Design of Instruction
Universal Design of Instruction (UDI) is an approach to teaching that consists of the proactive design and use of inclusive instructional strategies that benefit a broad range of learners including students with disabilities.
~ Employing universal design principles in instruction does not eliminate the need for specific accommodations for students with disabilities. There will always be the need for some specific accommodations, such as sign language interpreters for students who are deaf.
However, applying universal design concepts in course planning will assure full access to the content for most students and minimize the need for specific accommodations.
For example, designing Web resources in accessible format as they are developed means that no re-development is necessary if a blind student enrolls in the class; planning ahead can be less time-consuming in the long run. Letting all students have access to your class notes and assignments on an accessible Web site can eliminate the need for providing materials in alternative formats. ~
Seven Principles of UDI
The seven Principles of UDI provide a framework for faculty to use when designing or revising instruction to be responsive to diverse student learners and to minimize the need for "special" accommodations and retrofitted changes to the learning environment. UDI operates on the premise that the planning and delivery of instruction as well as the evaluation of learning can incorporate inclusive attributes that embrace diversity in learners without compromising academic standards.
- 1. Equitable Use
- 2. Flexibility in Use
- 3. Simple and Intuitive
- 4. Perceptible Information
- 5. Tolerance for Error
- 6. Low Physical Effort
- 7. Size and Space for Approach and Use
The design is useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities. For example, a website that is designed so that it is accessible to everyone, including students who are blind and using text-to-speech software, employs this principle.
The design communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the user's sensory abilities. An example of this principle being employed is when multimedia projected in a noisy academic conference exhibit includes captioning.
The design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions. An example of a product applying this principle is educational software that provides guidance when the student makes an inappropriate selection.
Instructional method examples
Below are examples of instructional methods that employ principles of universal design. Applying these strategies can make your course content accessible to people with a wide range of abilities and disabilities, ethnic backgrounds, language skills and learning styles.
- Class ClimateAdopt practices that reflect high values with respect to both diversity and inclusiveness. Example: Put a statement on your syllabus inviting students to meet with you to discuss disability-related accommodations and other special learning needs.
- Physical Access, Usability and SafetyAssure that activities, materials and equipment are physically accessible to and usable by all students and that all potential student characteristics are addressed in safety considerations. Examples: Develop safety procedures for all students, including those who are blind, deaf or wheelchair users; label safety equipment simply, in large print, and in a location viewable from a variety of angles; repeat printed directions orally.
- Delivery MethodsUse multiple accessible instructional methods. Example: Use multiple modes to deliver content and motivate and engage students-consider lectures, collaborative learning options, hands-on activities, Internet-based communications, educational software, field work, etc.
- Information Resources and TechnologyEnsure that course materials, notes and other information resources are flexible and accessible to all students. Example: Choose printed materials and prepare a syllabus early to allow students the option of beginning to read materials and work on assignments before the class begins and to allow adequate time to arrange for alternate formats, such as books on tape.
- InteractionEncourage effective interactions between students and students and the instructor and assure that communication methods are accessible to all participants. Example: Assign group work for which learners must support each other and that places a high value on different skills and roles.
- FeedbackProvide specific feedback on a regular basis. Example: Allow students to turn in parts of large projects for feedback before the final project is due.
- AssessmentRegularly assess student progress using multiple, accessible methods and tools and adjust instruction accordingly. Example: Assess group/cooperative performance as well as individual achievement.
- AccommodationPlan for accommodations for students for whom the instructional design does not meet their needs. Example: Know how to get materials in alternate formats, reschedule classroom locations and arrange for other accommodations for students with disabilities.
Student Accessibility Resources
Panama City Campus, McSpadden Student Union East, Room 27
5230 West U.S. Highway 98
Panama City, FL 32401
Phone: (850) 747-3243
Fax: (850) 767-8034