Strategic initiative creates access to Universal Design for Learning for OU faculty and staff

Oglethorpe University is launching a new initiative to incorporate Universal Design for Learning (UDL), an inclusive pedagogical framework, into the classroom.

Thanks to support from the Strategic Plan grant fund, the initiative aims to provide widespread access to the UDL framework. The initiative includes workshops for faculty members, provision of a toolkit, funding for UDL certification for interested community members, and guidance for accessing UDL training resources online.

UDL, as a framework for instructional design, aims to enhance accessibility and inclusivity in education by providing multiple pathways for engagement with course materials.

“Such interventions are particularly helpful for neurodivergent students, or students for whom English is a second language, which are large demographics at OU,” says Instructional Technology Librarian Derek Otis, one of the leaders of the initiative.

The toolkit, a key component of the initiative, will offer essential resources such as definitions of UDL vocabulary, best practices for classroom accessibility, links to UDL training, and key UDL documents. Plans are underway to integrate this toolkit into new faculty on-boarding process and will be available on the Oglethorpe University intranet for any staff

Moreover, by incorporating UDL into instructional design, faculty members can proactively address accessibility needs, potentially reducing the need for individual accommodations. This approach not only benefits students but also streamlines the teaching process for educators.

Through this initiative, Oglethorpe University reaffirms its commitment to creating an inclusive learning environment, where every student has the opportunity to succeed. By embracing UDL principles, the university aims to pave the way for a more accessible and equitable educational experience for all.

One introductory faculty workshop has already been conducted, with another scheduled for April 5 at 1 p.m. Interested faculty can contact Derek Otis or Elizabeth Peterson Jennings to learn more.

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