University of Vermont

The Center on Disability and Community Inclusion (CDCI), Universal Design for Learning

About Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

Examples of UDL in Practice

Universal Course Design for Professional Development - Behlng, K., & Hart, D. (2008) Universal course design A model for professional development. In S. E. Burgstahler, & R. C. Cory (Eds.), Universal design in higher education From principles to practice (p. 113). Harvard Education Press, Cambridge, MA.

Photo: Three college students talking.A history professor wanted to change his didactic style. He began with a small step: having his students spend the last 15 minutes of class working in groups to review the main points covered in class. By augmenting his lectures with group work, he gave his students more than one opportunity to engage with the course material. He has turned this UCD strategy into a daily occurrence and extended it to 20 minutes so that each group can share their ideas with the rest of the class.

Photo: A college student in lab.A biology professor was interested in using digital photography to document steps of a lab experiment. Through the UCD core team, he connected with the IT representative and another faculty member who had experience with digital cameras and gathered enough information to begin documenting his labs with digital photos. The IT representative helped him find extra digital cameras on campus and attended the first lab to show the students how to take pictures and download them onto their computers. Students would then label each picture accordingly and turn it in as a lab report in addition to or in place of a traditional text-based report. The availability of digital cameras allowed students to choose how to document the lab process according to their learning preferences, thus demonstrating the flexibility and variability of UCD instructional material. Student in lab photo

Photo: College students in radio recording studio.A French professor came to the team frustrated over the poor grades the student in her Introduction to French course received on their midterm exams. A team member from the Cultural Diversity Office referred her to a French student. Together the professor and the student collaborated on different assessment options that reflected French culture (students had the option of writing a French pop-cultural journal article or creating and acting out a radio interview between the DJ and the French president on the status of the national football team). At the next team meeting, the professor reported that the implementation of UCD resulted not only in better midterm grades but also a new enthusiasm in the course among her students and an increased appreciation of the French culture.

Special Thanks to Kirsten Behling for allowing us to post her examples.

More examples:

UDL in Business Education: - An accounting teacher struggles with flow charts and reaching students who learn differently than she does in a Sonoma State University classroom. See how SSU's professional development team helps her to reach more students using UDL guidelines.

Designing Accessibility vs. Accommodating Disability - Listen to a teacher, who has hearing loss, describe the benefits of teaching with UDL vs. accommodating for students with disabilities - which can be an afterthought.

Small Changes make a Large Difference - A writing professor at San Francisco State University overcomes his reliance on verbal communication. Find out how he uses multiple means of instruction with UDL.

Accessibility for Learning: Navigating your Options: At SF State, an Information Management System's professors walks us through his strategies for; Group Discussions, Guided Notes, and Online Resources telling us what he learned about UDL, and why he thinks it allows more students to learn.

There is a Disconnect: Teaching the Nursing Process - A complete overhaul of a Nursing course. Learn how one nursing professor was able to connect the theoretical components of a nursing curriculum into more clinically applicable lessons for her students.

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