I am making a concurrent presentation at the annual Noel-Levitz Conference on Student Recruitment, Retention, and Marketing today. The topic is on Universal Instructinoal Design (UID), an approach to education that seeks to reduce barriers to learning for all students enrolled in a class. In the past, a traditional model has been to provide accommodations for students with a disability that made a request for help. UID is a proactive approach that states that many accommodations that were formerly provided for only a few in the class would actually benefit everyone in the course.
Such UID actions can be relatively simple such as providing extended time for all students in the class to complete exams. Taking the time pressure out of the assessment process increases the comfort level of students that lead to higher achievement on exams as well as a less stressful experience for students. Other UID actions can be substantial such as providing alternative ways to access course material through computer tutorials and the like.
Our University received a UDSOE federal grant to explore how to practically implement UID within both the classroom as well as student services in postsecondary education. For copies of my conference handouts, PowerPoint slides, and web links to our grant web site, please click on the following, http://nl2007.arendale.org Please post comments about UID to this blog page and let's continue the conversation;.