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Creating Universal Design Pedagogy for Disability Studies Courses: A Collaborative, Cross-Disciplinary Project. Jay Dolmage, M.A., Kathleen Hutchinson, Ph.D., Cynthia Lewiecki-Wilson, Ph.D., Jean Lynch, Ph.D., Miami University, Oxford, Ohio. Introduction.
Jay Dolmage, M.A., Kathleen Hutchinson, Ph.D., Cynthia Lewiecki-Wilson, Ph.D., Jean Lynch, Ph.D.,
Miami University, Oxford, Ohio
Universal design means the design of instructional materials and activities that allows the learning goals to be achievable by individuals with wide differences in their abilities to see, hear, speak, move, read, write, understand English, attend, organize, engage, and remember. Universal design for learning is achieved by means of flexible curricular materials and activities that provide alternatives for students with disparities in abilities and backgrounds. These alternatives should be built into the instructional design and operating systems of educational materials—they should not have to be added on later.
Universal design is intended to be inclusive, not solely for students who have disabilities. A curriculum that incorporates universal design features should do more than accommodate physical, sensory, or cognitive disabilities; it should include students with differing abilities, cultural and linguistic backgrounds, and approaches to learning.
UDL principles will be incorporated into 3 courses that focus on disability. Students will be asked about the usability of UDL to:
The present study included 3 classes which focus on disability. Classes which utilized and tested the pedagogy included the following: Honors 101G: “(Dis)Ability and the American Imagination”; SPA 211 “Deaf Community and Culture”; Honors 180 “Women and Disability: Fictions of Identity”.
A doctoral student (J.D.) served as the UDL moderator and evaluated student response to UDL using triangulated methods:
1) on line qualitative questions or prompts designed to determine how well the class adhered to UDL elements;
2) focus group; and
3) an end of year online survey following the focus group.
Throughout the project, the input and feedback of students comprised an iterative process for UDL principle development.
To determine student understanding and effectiveness of UDL Pedagogy, the students were initially asked to evaluate the following online:
Students met with the UDL moderator in an informal group and were asked the following questions:
Student responses were coded for confidentiality and given to instructors mid-semester.
The UDL Moderator posed the online questionnaire at the end of the semester:
All survey results were given to instructors after grades were submitted.
Themes that emerged from the 3 assessment approaches were:
Course instructors met with the UDL moderator to discuss student responses and provided reactions to student comments:
Connell, B.R., Jones, M., Mace, R., Mueller, J., Mullick, A., Ostroff, E., Sanford, J., Steinfeld, E., Story, M., & Vanderheiden, G. (1997). The principles of universal design. Raleigh, NC: North Carolina State University, Center for Universal Design. Available at http://www.design.ncsu.edu/cud/univ_design/princ-overview.htm
DO-IT. University of Washington. http://www.washington.edu/doit/
Council for Exceptional Children. http://www.cec.sped.org/osep/ud-sec3.html
IDEA Center. http://www.ap.buffalo.edu/idea/
National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM). http://ncam.wgbh.org/projects/