Universal Design of instruction

Universal design of instruction is a teaching approach that consists of the proactive design of instruction, materials, and content and use of inclusive strategies that benefit a broad range of learners including students with disabilities. UDI provides equal access to learning, not simply equal access to information. UDI is based on the concept of Universal Design, an idea that originated in the field of architecture to meet the needs of an increasing diverse public.

Today's college student population is increasingly diverse in educational background, age, gender, culture, ability, disability and primary language. Faculty who are designing instructional experiences and supportive learning environments have an opportunity to enhance instructional accessibility and usability.

UDI is not a synonym of "one-size-fits-all" instruction. The principles of UDI are designed to support faculty in creating courses that accommodate a wide spectrum of student needs. The word "universal" refers to a flexible design that is specifically created to be used in diverse ways.

Some things to consider:

  • Fluctuate instructional methods; provide illustrations, handouts, auditory and visual aids

  • Choose textbooks for which electronic format is available

  • Ensure web-formatted instruction is compatible with adaptive technology

  • Present information in at least two formats

  • Create a single map showing how concepts connect

  • Use rubrics to introduce and explain the importance of assignments

  • Use video, graphic and picture captioning

An additional resource in learning about universal design and it's application a helpful website is from Equity and Excellence in Education.