This page is designed for you! It is a place to find information and context, but it is also connections and opportunities to partner.
What is Universal Design?
Universal Design is about making things (objects, spaces, events, activities, etc.) more usable to more people. It is about recognizing that decisions we make when planning and offering educational opportunities will have an impact on who can benefit from those opportunities. Universal Design is about recognizing that there are often barriers built into programs, courses, and assignments, and that sometimes students with disabilities will use the formal accommodation process as a way to get around the barriers, but that other times students are hitting those barriers without support. Thus, Universal Design is about taking the affirmative stance to identify and reduce barriers at the design stage.
There are many ways to learn more about Universal Design. Below is an annotated listing of videos and websites.
Here are a collection of really short videos from CAST:
- This video discusses Accessibility and Universal Design in Learning.
- This video discusses UDL and Assessment
- This video discusses Innovation at the Margins.
Here are some additional options:
- The Myth of Average (18 minute long TedX Talk)
- Transforming Inclusive Education (3 minutes on the 7-10 split)
- We can Build Better Solutions (13 minute Tedx Talk)
The list below is not exhaustive, but hopefully it serves a good entry point to some of the different approaches
- The Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) has done some phenomenal work with Universal Design for Learning, and have done so through a brain science based approach. The UDL on Campus website has a lot of great information, including a section on Accessibility and Policy.
- The California State University system offers UDL-Universe: A Comprehensive Universal Design for Learning Faculty Development Guide which includes guidance for course redesign workshops, syllabus rubrics, and research on student outcomes.
- The University of Washington’s DO-IT program has been offering guidance around the implementation of Universal Design for decades through a variety of demonstration projects. Their work builds off the 7 principles of Universal Design first articulated by Ron Mace for use in the field of architecture. Here is a DO-IT article titled Universal Design in Education: Principles and Applications
- The University of Connecticut has a model organized around 9 principles of Universal Design for Instruction, and their site provides technical briefs outlining evidence-based practices.
- The University of Minnesota also received funding for a Universal Design demonstration project, and produced the PASS-IT Universal Design Book (free download) which offers excellent write-ups from a variety of perspectives.
There are many ways to get involved:
- Join the google group for PCC faculty and staff who are interested in implementing Universal Design in courses and activities – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Check out the Disability Services Professional Development Series Calendar for opportunities to explore ideas around disability, accessibility, and universal design.
- Review the Accessible Technology page for examples of tips and techniques to make the most of digital.
- Review the Guidelines for Adopting Publisher Content.
- Engage with the Teaching and Learning Centers.