Cathy Roy’s Portfolio
I was introduced to the idea of universal design for learning purely by accident, while looking for guidelines for how to integrate a physically disabled student into a physically demanding course.
What I discovered was a new set of lenses through which to look at teaching and learning that will benefit all of my future students, by helping them to be less impacted by barriers in the classroom and pedagogical design.
The UDL philosophy makes sense to me on many different levels. Not only do we have increasing numbers of students coming into our program with recognized learning difficulties of various types, we have students who face a wide variety of other challenges. One of those challenges is time. Our course content is dense; we are preparing professionals who will graduate able to register for a professional body and treat patients, so the responsibility to ensure that our graduates match the exit profile is critical. But our students struggle to keep up, to prioritize, and to “get it all done”. Some have children, many have jobs, others live in the suburbs and have a 2 hour commute each day. Some have just graduated from high-school and have not experienced the latitude and accompanying responsibility of studying at college. Many have not yet mastered the academic skills that will carry them through.
Our courses are hands-on, so an active learning environment naturally follows, and I fully embraced these instructional methods from my first day of teaching even though I may not have been naturally very good at it, having had few models to work from, coming from a generation of learners who were taught primarily using the “sage-on-the-stage” model. I recognized even before beginning that I preferred not to teach that way, mostly because it didn’t work so well for me as a student. So, I tried to create my course for students like me. Now I realize that not all students are like me, in fact no two students learn in exactly the same way (see “myth of the average student” video below). UDL just makes sense in that it gets through to the greatest variety of learners.
To present my portfolio, I decided to create a video module similar to the ones I created for my course using my UDL release time.
Here is my powerpoint video portfolio presentation on UDL :