First of all, thank you everyone so much for joining us.
We're really excited about this session.
We have an incredible panel of speakers here
for you today to talk about
the Universal Design for Learning.
We know this is an incredibly hot topic right now across
all different universities, from
online learning to offline learning,
and we know that this is a really trying time
for a lot of schools and a lot of
learning environments right now as
everyone is quickly shifting to online.
But we have the experts here who
really know the ins and outs,
everything about the Universal Design for Learning,
who've done incredible research on
this and really started to implement it.
So with that, I'd love to
ask you to submit your questions for us.
Throughout this whole session,
we'll be taking your questions live and addressing them.
Also, please feel free to take
advantage of the fact that we do have live
captioning and we do have
a live transcript available
to meet accessibility measures.
So we encourage you to take advantage of that.
All you'll need to do is to click on
the arrow next to the CC button,
which is at the bottom menu bar,
and then you can click "View full transcript",
for example, if you wanted to view the full transcript.
So with that, I'll first turn it over to you,
Eric, to introduce yourself.
Sure. So my name is Eric Moore.
I am a Universal Design for
Learning and Accessibility Specialist
at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
I am also the co-founder and
co-facilitator of the UDL Higher Education Network,
which is a subsidy of
the UDL Implementation Research Network and
a consultant through innospire.org. Jen?
Hi, everybody. I'm Jennifer Pusateri.
I'm with the University of Kentucky.
I am a Universal Design Consultant there with
our Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching.
I'm on the CAST National Faculty,
and I also join Eric with the UDLHE Higher Ed network.
Good morning, everyone. My name is Danny Smith,
and I am a Faculty at George Brown College in Toronto,
Canada, and on the side,
I do a little bit of extra UDL consultant work
with other colleges in the GTA area.
Good morning, everyone. I'm Luis Perez.
I'm a Technical Assistance Specialist
with the National Center on
Accessible Educational Materials or
the AEM center at CAST.
That's a federally funded technical assistance center
that is based at CAST.
So today, we wanted to give you a couple of options.
When we began preparing this webinar several months ago,
we were looking to take
more general look at
Universal Design for Learning and higher education.
But we also recognize that a lot of people need
some resources right now for our current situation.
So we want to present you with a poll
so you can choose which path we go on.
It's a choose your own adventure.
You should have a poll that has popped up here.
Just go ahead and click on one of
those two options for what your preference would be.
Danielle, are the results coming in? I don't see them.
Yes, absolutely. So it looks like 90 percent of
individuals want option number 2,
to address the current situation
and also the proper methods and times to introduce
the Universal Design for Learning approach.
Got you. Well, I'm glad we gave you that option.
So let's skip over to Option 2.
Option 2 is Support for
UDL design and implementation.
Is that right? That's the option that [inaudible] ?
So exploring how to implement UDL approach effectively
based on leading research and improvement of
the learning experience for all students.
So that's what we'll be exploring here,
and we have prepared some questions.
Again, you're free to go ahead and
put your own questions into the Q&A,
and Danielle can call those out as you see them.
But we also have a few questions that we
prepared to give you some time to think about it,
and please also feel free to ask
follow-up questions for the questions that we're asking.
So the first question is,
who should be the one to "lead" a UDL movement on campus?
I think this was going to Jen. Is that right?
Yeah. So at the University of Kentucky,
when I arrived in my position first,
there was a position for a Universal Design consultant.
So people on the campus were generally
aware of Universal Design,
but I think they were getting
mixed up with accessibility.
Of course, it is both of those things,
but there's a lot of other things that you
add on with the Universal Design for Learning.
So now, we're in a position where we're ready to really
take people from this idea of yes,
we can caption our videos and yes,
we can make our documents
accessible to all of our students.
But what's really the next step?
So our next step is that we're looking at how we can
move from that place
to a place where we're really an access first university,
where we're thinking about accessibility ahead of
time instead of coming back later and fixing things.
So we have put together on our campus a group
of people from really all over.
We have 16 different colleges,
College of Medicine, College of Education, etc.
In our 16 colleges,
most of them have
an instructional designer in their college.
So we have a lot of instructional
designers on our campus.
So we have several of them.
We also have folks from our Disability Resource Center,
folks through administration, from all over
the university together in this one group,
which we call a UK for all.
That group's job right now is, we started really,
none of us had any money.
None of us had really a lot of power.
But we all wanted to do these things on campus
and we didn't really know where to start.
So we decided to bind ourselves together.
So we, as this group,
have now applied for a grant.
With this grant, we're hoping to go forward
and find one or two departments that we
can help to transform
that department into an access first department.
So the answer to the question,
who should be the one to lead a UDL movement on campus,
in my opinion, is whoever is most
passionate about and ready to fight for UDL
because if you're passionate about it,
and it's something that you really believe in,
and you believe in the feasibility
of doing that on a university campus,
then you're the one that needs to step up and lead.
Great. Any comments from the other panelists on this?
Yeah. I would agree that it should be
a team effort and also, the more that we
can move it out of
just the disability services office or any of
the offices that focused on
compliance because then it is limited to compliance,
and we really want to engage
whatever faculty development organization
you have on campus
because UDL really is about good teaching,
good teaching by design, and for everyone.
So we want to make sure that we're focusing on
those areas that develop faculty
and that bring UDL
into the instructional design process as well.
That's a great point, Luis.
One thing we occasionally
see coming from administrators that can be effective,
but oftentimes in higher-ed, we find it
more effective when it begins with
faculty who work together to get something going
and then ask administration
for support for what they're already doing.
So that tends to be more successful.
Is UDL explicitly for
including students with disabilities?
Luis, do you want to start with this one?
Universal Design for Learning, as I just
said, is for everyone because what
we know is that the supports that
we put in place for students with disabilities,
they often benefit other learners.
So a great example of that is
the captions that we're experiencing today.
Those who are developed for
people who are deaf and hard of
hearing, but it turns out that English language learners,
which I am one myself,
benefit from those,
or if you just have a subject that has
specialized vocabulary, like in the sciences or in law,
it's really helpful to be able to
see those specialized terms
displayed on the screen as the
professor's speaking about them as well.
So basically this,
accessibility is foundational to
Universal Design for Learning,
but Universal Design for Learning is
much more than just accessibility.
It's accessibility for what,
which is really about developing
learner's abilities in all the different areas.
Their ability to write, to read,
to be expert learners in how they develop themselves.
I'm going to say that there's
a business application to this.
So I teach Marketing, and one of the things
I promote in
my social media classes is create
highly accessible artifacts to share online.
If you create a video and you
post it on your social media for a brand,
it's going to get this many views.
But if you caption it and provide texts on it,
the engagement increases and
that's what you want from a brand perspective.
So there are practical business applications.
I'm thinking in my higher-ed space here,
I got to make sure my students are ready for employers.
It's a practice that they can also use to be
better employees and produce better work
for their employers.
Yeah, Danny. I'm going to piggyback
a little bit on your idea about marketing.
I really feel like the idea that UDL is just for
students with disabilities is simply a branding issue.
The reason that it has gotten that name,
it makes sense, but I think we've all seen,
at least those of us who have been
in UDL for a little while,
have seen the power of UDL
not necessarily associated
with students with disabilities.
So I think that it's that marketing
piece that is a lot of what I
do on my campus
is trying to get the message across that, no,
this is not just for students who have
the accommodations letter that they bring to you.
If you make these changes for
that student but then give to everybody,
you're going to be eliminating a lot of
work for yourself in the future as well.
It helps us work together.
If we're on a call
and there's captioning right now, real time,
that's going to help us as employees
working with each other as well.
So the Universal Design really applies to,
externally and internally, to the institution, I think.
Some research I was able to participate with
with a doctoral student that I work with
was talking about the lived experience
of students with disabilities and how many steps they
need to go through to get to step 1
where the rest of their peers were last week.
So though UDL certainly is
not only for students with disabilities,
it has significant benefits for reducing the amount
of ground they have to cover to get where
their peers are or even reduce,
in some cases, the need to wait on
disability services to provide
what they need to gain access,
not on all cases.
So it's been hugely beneficial
socially, in terms of energy, and so and so
forth to really level the playing field and give
everybody their best chance to be successful.
I'll make one last point before we move on, Eric.
It's also that a lot of our students are
on the go and they're using mobile devices,
and when we create accessible content,
we're also creating content that can be
consumed in a variety of different environments.
Whether the lighting is not good,
the sound is not good,
we're all in some ways experiencing
a temporary disability in those environments.
So it's important that when we design for accessibility,
we're also designing for mobility, if you will.
So that's helpful as well.
Absolutely. I am seeing
couple of questions coming from the Q&A.
Those will fit better with the later question.
So I'm not ignoring you.
We'll come back to those in a moment here.
Can you explain the difference
between variety and choice?
I think I signed this one to me to start.
So when we talk about UDL,
we talk about often multiple means of
representation, multiple means of engagement,
multiple means of action and expression,
and those are often presented in terms of variety.
So the instructor gives
these different options to the students.
It is important to
provide those options for the students,
but it's also important for them to be equipped
with the skills they need to make choices.
The goal of UDL, ostensibly,
is to develop what we call expert learners,
learners who are good at learning.
When you're an expert learner,
you can learn anything you want.
So whatever else we happen to
be teaching, chemistry, sociology,
whatever, we should also be
teaching our students how to learn better.
So that choice element is
of critical importance for this,
not just the provision of choice,
but coaching the students in how to make good choices.
So, for example, if I provide
students three different ways that they can
demonstrate their ability to analyze
a particular problem in my sociology course,
so you can write an essay,
you can do a podcast,
you can do a PowerPoint presentation,
then what I find is that without coaching,
students oftentimes gravitate to what they typically
do in all of their other classes
where they're not given those choices.
So it helps oftentimes to develop
these meta-cognitive capacities in our students.
This can be very simple,
like, before you make a choice,
I want you to articulate in
one paragraph why are you making this choice,
what is the advantage of choosing a PowerPoint
over an essay or a podcast for you.
It's very simple to get them to start reflecting on this
and to giving rationales for their decision-making.
So we need to have that variety of
those choices given to the students,
and you need to give them opportunity to choose
from among them skillfully and intentionally.
Anything else from other panelists?
One of the things I would mentioned
is, I try to provide a little bit of coaching around,
when you make this decision,
podcast, PowerPoint, written,
choose the one that you feel will help you express
yourself the best and demonstrate your learning the best,
and if you know
that you're solid or really strong in one,
maybe try another if the timing is right.
Now, I wouldn't say,
I'd say go with
the one that you
express yourself best with at this point.
But understanding that and
understanding where you express
yourself best is something that they could
talk to potential employers about to say,
"I'm really good at writing,
I'm really good at presenting,
I'm really good at distillation
of information," what have you.
But understanding what their strengths
are, coming out of our institutions,
I think, this is one way how we
that reflection on, "Why did I choose one or the other,
where are my strengths, where could
I be growing some skills,
and then how am I going to bring those to
my employer when I leave here?"
I think we're also teaching them at the same time that
me advocating for myself to say,
"Hey, is there another way that you could
give this to me?"
When they're moving on to
other areas to work further on into the higher degrees,
being able to be a self-advocate is so important,
and it's something that I think
at least a lot of our younger students that
we see almost don't feel like they have the right to do.
They feel like there's something wrong with them
having to ask that question or to
say, "Could you give this to me in a different way?"
So I think it's important that we're coaching
them on how to make these choices and
also how to be that self-advocate.
Yeah. I was just going to add that
also something that I've seen in a lot of
UDL implementations is also
thinking that everything has to utilize technology,
and sometimes, it's important to provide
low tech options and
also everything doesn't have to be media.
Writing should be one of those choices
because that may be what works best for some students.
I know I'm one of those people that my writing,
my thinking just works best when I write it down.
So making sure that we don't eliminate some of
those choices just because
there's some biases that we have.
Then the other thing is, I try to provide
a wildcard when I provide choices.
So making sure that there is an option where
as long as you meet the criteria that I set forth,
it's up to you how you do that.
So it's not always a teacher
or instructor provided choice.
They have some say in what those choices are.
Just one last thing to add, and
somebody made a point of it in
the discussion, is this is totally intrinsic motivation,
and their eyes light up.
When you first present,
one of the things that I'm known
for is, you can either write
your exam or you can type your exam in the classroom.
Choose which one works for you.
As soon as they hear that,
they're like, "Oh my God,
take away the paper,"
or, "Oh my gosh, I'm going to write
because I know that I can
write better and express myself."
It's so amazing to see people light up
when they're able to make
that choice and they're going to do better
because they're going to feel
confident and they're going to express themselves
and translate that learner and
demonstrate their learning. It's amazing.
Absolutely. Rose is asking if lessons or assignments can be
designed in a variety of models so
the students can learn each model.
How do you know students have
experience and what options are available?
These are really good questions.
It depends on the nature of the course.
So I tend to see courses that are
more geared towards skill development,
like composition courses,
public speaking courses, and
courses that are more focused on content,
chemistry, sociology, and so forth.
When it's a skill-oriented class,
I think you do spend a lot of time
developing their capacity and
those skills and looking at
different ways that they can approach the skill.
So, for example, if
public speaking is a required course for graduation,
we know that some students are going to
come into that course with anxiety in
public speaking, and sometimes,
that anxiety is going to be very significant.
So it's worth looking at how bringing up
those questions explicitly as part of
the Universal Design for Learning model.
How do you deal with anxiety in public speaking?
So we might think about,
you can do public speaking
without it having to be live as well.
Can we do a podcast public speaking?
Because if this is
not something that you want for your lives,
why are we forcing you to go through it in college?
How can we teach you how to be successful with who you
are and still be a
professional and a citizen and so forth?
So it's not really necessarily about
finding which specific models
are going to work for all of my students,
but providing the flexibility and, in
some cases, the wildcard, like Luis was saying,
so that they can customize
their learning experience for themselves,
they can find what it means for me to be
successful instead of having
to adapt to arbitrary standards.
I know I've seen a couple of professors who are
familiar with UDL who will build
in maybe something that's
a little bit low stakes in their course.
So maybe a weekly discussion board or something
that's not worth a lot of points.
So they say,
"You can type and text if you want,
you can do an audio version of this."
We have Canvas, that's our LMS,
Learning Management System, on our university.
"But you can do
your response in text, like in actually typing it in.
You can use an audio format
or you can use a video format,
and you can choose whichever one you want to
use for 8 out of 10 of the times.
But I want you to try at least one
of them as an audio file,
and I want you to try at least one as a video file.
So if you want to get those out of the way first,
you can do the ones that
you're not comfortable with, great.
But if not, save
them up and give it a shot because it may be
something that you really
enjoy and you just didn't know to try."
We have an attendee asking,
"How do we offer
choice right now when everything is online?"
This person is saying, they have students
who would like to write rather than type,
but they don't have a scanner to upload the materials.
How can we offer choice in the current environment?
There are a number of apps out there that you can
tell students about like, Office Lens, for instance,
is one that is free from
Microsoft that allows you to scan text
and then provides text to speech.
So once the text is in an accessible digital format,
they can turn on text to speech with
a variety of display choices.
So again, it addresses a variability of our learners.
Some may need high contrast,
some may need the words to be spaced out a little bit
because maybe they have a reading challenge,
some may need different colors.
So there are options out there with technology.
Even though UDL is not really about technology,
it's about flexible design,
but technology in some cases,
as Eric started mentioning earlier,
for some students it is the entryway into UDL.
Without technology, there is no UDL for
them, so it's like a welcome mat.
Would you put a link to that tool you
mentioned in the chat?
I'll mute myself so you don't hear me
typing while you all discuss the next point.
I'll give some other tips.
I'm right in the thick of things.
We've reduced our semester by two weeks.
So this is the final week of
my semester at Polytechnical College in Toronto.
A couple things I did in terms of UDL.
Their exam, it was open-book.
They had 24 hours to complete it.
So there was lots of time in
there, understanding that they have
other exams happening this week.
So give them some flexibility as to
when they could complete their exam.
Two, they had flexibility in
question types as well as content within questions.
Within the case question,
they got to choose between case A or B.
Again, do they gravitate to this?
Do they feel more comfortable talking about this or this?
So giving them some choice around that.
The other thing that I did right off the bat when I
knew we were going back to school is
I actually asked my students,
"How do you want to proceed?"
We had this big presentation day.
So I said, "Knowing that we're using virtual meetings,
do you want to present just within your group
or do you want to present it to the entire class and
have everybody watch the presentations?"
I was surprised, but they actually
said they just wanted to present to themselves.
They were already anxious about using
the new technology, driving the presentations,
all the things that we, as workers, know.
We practice this kind of stuff.
We practice it, but they don't.
So they said, "You know what?
We already have enough anxiety.
We already are learning a new
tool and we're presenting in
a way that's not typical in higher-ed.
So let's not do that."
So they told me about that through
a polling feature in the LMS,
and I adapted the course to meet their needs.
So those are a couple little things that I've done
to try to weave in UDL
in a variety of ways to support even
what Luis was saying in terms of some of those tools.
Excellent. We're running short on
time. I'm going to go back a slide.
This reflects some of the questions that we're
seeing in the chat.
What are some of the top resources that we can use right
now to support UDL implementation,
and especially for classes that would benefit from
students being able to do more tactile,
hands on experiences?
I have a faculty member who's teaching
a course on bean to bar chocolate,
and how do I get them to do
those tactile experiences when
we're all over the country right now.
What are some resources that are available that
you would highlight for this use?
I am typing one in right now.
It's called UDL On Campus.
So this is a website that CAST designed a while back,
but we've been updating it,
and it has resources, for instance,
thinking about the syllabus
and how to make it accessible.
Thinking about the executive functioning
challenges related to being
an online learner and the additional demands that it
places on attention and so on,
and Jen could really speak to that.
She's an expert in this area.
But just those different areas that have to do with
the instructional design of the experience in the course,
and then, of course, accessibility
of different media types.
So how do we make texts accessible?
How do we make images, video, video conferencing?
We have those considerations on that website.
So I went ahead and shared that in the chat.
So I think that's a good place to start.
I'm biased though because I work at CAST.
Sorry about flipping back and forth.
That was an accident. Good. What other resources?
Some of the things we're seeing our students
struggling with right now is not
necessarily the coursework,
but it is the executive functioning things
that Luis mentioned.
It's the, "How do I
tune out my dog barking and
my sister working in another room and
the notifications I continue to get
on my computer and phone wrist?"
So some of the things that we're designing right now
are some resources to go out to students to say,
"Okay, if this is something that you're struggling with,
here's some of the things that you can do.
If you have an iPhone, if you have an iPad,
here are some of the things you can turn on.
There's a focus assist feature that you can
turn on on those Apple devices.
If you don't have one of those,
here's another way that you can do that."
So we're trying to provide some of
those resources because I think what's
happening is students are recognizing that
those distractions that are around them are
much bigger than they thought they were going to be.
It's something that they maybe didn't face
in a face-to-face class situation.
I think I'll just add
on to that in terms of distractions.
So I teach online. Half of my course load is online.
One of the things I find
really beneficial in terms of addressing
the distractions from an analog perspective
is giving them a moment to
pause and to reflect and be present.
So how do you do that?
One, sometimes, I just share my screen with
the Calm app, C-A-L-M, at Calm,
and they have these
30-second little timing windows that just say
"Breathe" or "Try to
escape your brain for a second for 30 seconds".
You might try that, or one thing that's fun is I say,
"Go to your kitchen, get a snack,
whatever it is, grab the first thing you've got,
and then let's write
down how you think this snack is going to taste.
Then you taste it, and then you write more."
At first you're like, "Oh, this cracker tastes good."
Great. But now, be mindful,
be present in the moment,
and tell me how that cracker really tastes.
Is it gritty?
Is it salty?
Does something scratch the inside of your cheek?
Really get into the details of it.
I start the class off with that
because then it says, "Okay,
for learning to work online,
all that stuff has to go to the wayside and you really,
really have to focus this much."
Then you go for
a little spurt and then you finish and say,
"Everybody, digital break." Then bring them back.
Another one of those activities is,
you ask them to draw a circle
or a spiral on their page,
and then you ask them a question,
and then they continue a spiral,
and then they ask another question.
So I love analog.
I think it really disrupts the disruptions that we have.
Sorry, go ahead.
I was just going to say, some of the faculty
I'm working with,
including the chocolate faculty member,
is sending care packages to their students and obviously,
being careful about how they package it,
with sanitary methods and so forth.
But then sending things so that when we Zoom together,
we have manipulatables in front of us
so we're actually doing
something together in real time,
and that has been a good semi-analog approach.
I posted in the chat there,
something I'm always trying to get out in
the world, but there's this implemented UDL on Canvas,
massive open online course,
that does look into how UDL interfaces with
the learning management system, specifically Canvas.
Though I encourage people who use Blackboard, etc.,
to adapt that.
I gave it a CC license so people can take it and
remake it for their campuses
and their different platforms and so forth.
So that's available as well.
It's 12 o'clock, little after 12.
I don't want to take away a speaker at the end here.
But if you have other questions,
please do feel free to reach out to
us directly if you're able to or through Danielle.
We'll get back to you directly so we
can continue those conversations.
Please feel free to check out CAST
on the UDL Implementation Research Network,
UDL IRN, and the UDL Higher
Education Network, UDL HE network.
These are three great organizations
that are great for connecting with,
that will support you in
this continued work of bringing UDL to higher education.
Thank you all for joining today,
and we hope to see you around.
Yeah. I just want to say on behalf of Verbit.
Thank you, everyone.
Thank you so much, Luis,
Jennifer, Danny, and Eric.
This was such an amazing session
and so great to hear all of
your perspectives and how you've been
working with UDL and implementing it.
So thank you for taking the time to share that with us.
We will make this session available on demand after.
A lot of the resources that you saw posted in the chat,
we, of course, will send those around as well.
So you'll have access to everything.
Thank you so much for joining.
We encourage you now to exit out of
this Zoom session and enter the last session of the day,
which will be led by Katie Blot,
who is an EdTech specialist.
They'll be talking about the future of EdTech.
So we encourage you to join that too,
but thank you all so much and thank you to our panelists.
Thank you, everyone.