Using Universal Design for Learning to Optimize Flexibility in Assessment and Class Activities While Maximizing Alignment With Course Objectives

Using Universal Design for Learning to Optimize Flexibility in Assessment and Class Activities While Maximizing Alignment With Course Objectives

Frederic Fovet (Royal Roads University, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-4036-7.ch007
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Abstract

Diverse learners are increasingly present in higher education (HE) and now represent a significant percentage of the student body. HE pedagogy has not always evolved rapidly enough to meet the expectations of non-traditional learners, and there is at present, at times, a distinct clash of culture. The new for pedagogical renewal is particularly felt in the area of classroom activities—with the traditional lecture increasingly under criticism—and assessment. Universal design for learning (UDL) is appearing increasingly promising in this landscape, but there remain doubts, for many faculty members, as to how one can inject more flexibility into classroom activities and assessment without affecting standards or learning objectives. This chapter will examine a phenomenological exploration of the ways UDL serves as a convenient framework for reflection on the transformation of classroom activities and assessment.
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Potential Use Of Udl In Higher Education

Before this chapter begins examining the detail of how UDL can assist faculty members in transforming learning activities and assessments, it is important to examine the current socio-historical transformation of higher education pedagogy and the need that has arisen for guidance through this metamorphosis.

Key Terms in this Chapter

User Experience: User experience (UX) within design describes the sum of the user’s expectations, preferences, habits, hopes, and perceptions with regards to a service or a product.

Action and Expression: This represents one of the dimensions of design thinking within the framework of universal design for learning. One of the three principles of UDL specifically tackles diversity within this dimension of learning by offering the learner ‘multiple means of action and expression.

Delivery and Evaluation: The three UDL principles can be used within two distinct spheres of reflection on the design of teaching and learning. They can be used either with respect to instruction (delivery) or assessment (evaluation).

Retrofitting: Retrofitting has traditionally and historically been the way inclusion has been implemented in higher education, particularly with regards to the needs of students with disabilities.

Accommodations: Accommodations are a tool which embodies a human rights approach to inclusion. It amounts to offering retrofitting and alternate format to students who have a documented disability.

Inclusion: The notion of offering all students equal access to learning.

Representation: This represents one of the dimensions of design thinking within the framework of universal design for learning.

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