Universal Design at Dawson, explained
The Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework supports the growing need for the creation of pedagogy that responds to the increasingly diverse student demographic in post-secondary classrooms. At Dawson, we embrace this diversity and we understand that it includes students of varying cultures, backgrounds, abilities, learning preferences, ages and genders.
Universal Design for Learning’s core principles of multiple means of representation, engagement, and action and expression, can be seen as a response to evidence from neuroscience about this very diversity. UDL states that learning is as individual as one’s fingerprint and that learner variability is the norm.
Accepting the idea that diversity is the new “normal”, the Student AccessAbility Centre at Dawson has been supporting inclusion through the promotion of UDL principles. In collaboration with 4 other post-secondary institutions (McGill, Marianopolis, Centennial and John Abbott) we partnered in a three year MESRST funded Chantier 3 project, Conception et implantation d’une trousse d’outils pédagogiques faciltant l’adoption durable de la conception universelle comme cadre d’accès à l’apprentissage.
The project investigated faculty perceptions of Universal Design; specifically, the facilitators and stressors experienced by teachers in the implementation of UDL in their pedagogical practices. This research resulted in the creation of a bilingual, on-line, user-friendly toolkit, ALLUDL. It provides a space for theoretical, practical and interactive resources by and for faculty, in order to support the integration of UDL in post-secondary pedagogy.
The ALLUDL website will be hosted here at Dawson and it will feature examples of pedagogical materials developed within a UDL framework, by faculty throughout the five partner institutions, and beyond. Look for news about our upcoming launch date and related activities later in the spring.
For more news on the work of this learning community, read about the research team and its work (in English and French), tips for creating an inclusive learning environment, and the alphabet soup of UD, with all its acronyms described and explained, by Alice Havel, in her role as Research Associate with Adaptech.