Learn the basics of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles and apply them to assignments as you can; comply with institutional commitments and ADA standards for the short-list of key accessibility best practices.
Techniques and Activities to help you explore this practice.
Provide Multiple Means of Enagagement
Think about ways that you can encourage student choice with how they engage with their learning, set goals for themselves, and self-assess. Do you promote metacognition in your class and involve students in decisions about the “how’s” and “why’s” of their learning? Do you provide space for students to explore the contexts they bring to the classroom? Do you provide students with authentic, culturally and socially relevant work?
Provide Multiple Means of Action & Expression
Consider the ways that students demonstrate their learning in your class. Do you assess only one type of skill set, leaving students without those skills at a disadvantage? For example: assigning only essays leaves students who struggle to express themselves with text at a disadvantage. This is not to say that you can’t assign essays, but UDL encourages instructors to support students as they build new fluencies by providing scaffolds, practice, and development. Think about ways that you can provide students with multiple means of demonstrating their learning, but also support in developing their skills in areas that are unfamiliar or difficult for them. Consider utilizing formative assessment that recognizes student progress, not just mastery.
Provide Multiple Means of Representation
Examine your own preferences for receiving information and strengths in your area of study and how this might be affecting the design of your assignments. For example, if you prefer to read information, do you only post articles, book excerpts, etc. in your class? Do you consider students who perceive and comprehend information in a different way? Think about ways to provide information through a variety of means: visual and auditory.
Online Accessibility Check-List
- Use consistent layouts, headings, subtitles, and lists to give students clear visual cues and a sense of organization
- Break up large chunks of text with images, videos, or icons
- Caption videos and make sure that transcripts are available for audio content
- Provide descriptive text for photos
- Use descriptive wording for hypertext (example: “Universal Design for Learning” instead of click here!)
- Before you adopt a new tool, consider accessibility concerns – for example: does the tool allow the use of screen readers?
Applying UDL Instructional Methods
- Determine the objeservable, actionable learning objective(s) that will guide your assignment. Check out the Learning Objectives Builder. Consider ways to involve students in the creation of their learning objectives.
- Throughout the learning process, encourage students to consider “real-world” applications of the knowledge or skills they are building. Provide students with opportunities to discuss their field/discipline and how it informs their learning and the class.
- Design assessment that measures the learning objective(s). Think formative and summative, with self-reflection and revision opportunities to help students see their progress. Consider providing students with a menu of ways to demonstrate their learning so they can choose a product that plays to their strengths.
- Present content in multiple modalities (combinations of text, video, audio, images, graphs, etc.). Provide background knowledge and define acronyms, vocabulary, and jargon. Provide scaffolding and opportunities to practice skills and receive feedback before assessment.
Online reading and resources to help dive deeper into this practice.
- UDL On Campus: Universal Learning Design for Learning in Higher Education, CAST
- The UDL Guidelines, CAST
- Universal Design for Learning Video Series, Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at OU
- Inclusive Design Guide, Inclusive Design Research Center
A larger community of teachers and learners interested in this practice.
Discuss on Twitter
If you are active on Twitter, we encourage you to share your thought and ideas using the #ACEFramework hashtag and the #udl hashtag to talk about this practice, in particular.
Join a Meeting
If you are interested in talking to people about the Equity value (for which UDL Baselines is an ACE-informed practice), we invite you to our hosted Zoom chats. Chats are scheduled this summer on the following dates:
- Thursday, June 18 from 1:00PM-2:00PM (EDT): Overview of the ACE Framework
- Thursday, July 9 from 1:00PM-2:00PM (EDT): Equity Practices
Submit Your Ideas
If you find yourself working this summer on a project or approach that uses UDL Baselines, we invite you to share what you’ve found or created, via the Submit Something button below. If you choose to publicly share your submission, it will immediately become available on this page in the Revisit section. (For particularly compelling submissions, we may also add this to the Explore section of this page.)
Hypothesize with Us
Join Our Team
Plymouth State University community members are invited to join our Teams site for the ACE Framework. Feel free to use our discussion channel to ask questions, give suggestions, and point to new resources.
A space for user-submitted ideas, resources, and links related to this practice.