The project is concerned with opening the institutional dialogue about the benefits of adopting the principles of Universal Design for Learning in our practice.
For some, Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and the whole concept of applying the UDL principles can be quite overwhelming and is seen by many as a set of rules that must be rigidly adhered to on top of the myriad of other things we, as faculty, must do. However, it is more helpful if UDL is viewed as a mindset that if adopted can have a powerful impact on many.
To become more UDL compliant you don’t have to attempt to do everything set out in the UDL guidelines all at once, the secret to success is to make just one small change!
As part of “UDL@MTU – Towards Embedding UDL Practice and Principles at MTU”, a project funded under MTU’s allocation of the Strategic Alignment of Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund 2020, the following key UDL related outputs were produced that we hope will help you to start out on your journey of “one small change” towards developing a UDL mindset:
- MTU Diversity Infographic
- Creating Accessible Documents and Presentations Infographic
- MTU Accessible PowerPoint Template for Teaching Activities
- MTU UDL Module Guide
- UDL@MTU Podcast
- MTU Canvas UDL Checklist
- Canvas Immersive Reader
- MTU Accessible Canvas template
What are the project aims?
The core aims of the project are:
- To highlight the benefits to staff and learners of working within a UDL framework.
- To broaden engagement across campuses with UDL principles.
- To begin the process of embedding good UDL practice across the institution and its functions.
Why is this project important?
As we embark on becoming MTU, initiating a campus wide UDL initiative such as this is timely as new systems, processes, policies evolve and change. In addition, this project aligns with key local and national priorities, namely:
- CIT’s Strategic Plan 2018-2023, in which one of the four strategic priorities identified is Inclusive Access to Education Opportunities and a Diverse Student-Body
- CIT’s Academic Strategy 2019-2023, where one of the three academic pillars is Ambitious and Visionary Student Scholarship and Teaching
- Establishing the Munster Technological University Application for Designation as a Technological University, as Inclusive is one of the 4 key values of MTU and inclusivity features heavily throughout
- National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (NFETLHE) strategic priority Student Success
How will this project be delivered?
This project will very much leverage the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (NFETLHE) Universal Design in Teaching and Learning Digital Badge and the wealth of UDL experience already available through our Disability Support Office.
We aim to deliver this project in four stages throughout the 2021/22 academic year, as follows:
- Semester 1, 2021/22:
- Facilitation of a local MTU iteration of NFETLHE’s Universal Design in Teaching and Learning Digital Badge.
- Conduct research on best practice in UDL in higher education institutions.
- Semester 2, 2021/22
- Formation of a UDL Learning Community at MTU, comprising but not limited to badge participants.
- Development of UDL related resources for staff and learner.
What were the key project milestones?
- Recruitment for local MTU rollout of the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education’s (NFETLHE’s) UDL Digital Badge
- 26th May 2020, Conversations on Teaching & Learning Summer Programme 2020/21, “Universal Design for Learning: From Zero to Superhero” seminar was hosted where the principles of UDL focusing on the why, how and what of learning were outlined, MTU Staff experiences of completing the digital badge were shared by those who completed the badge in 2020-21 andthe recruitment process for the local rollout of the badge began.
- 28th September 2021, email sent to all staff on both Cork and Kerry campuses advertising the local rollout of the badge and seeking registrations
- 23 colleagues from both Cork and Kerry campuses registered
- Local MTU rollout of the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education’s (NFETLHE’s) UDL Digital Badge,
- 04th October 2021-22nd January 2022 Badge Activities
- 20 colleagues completed the badge course
- 12 submitted their redesign activity and were issued with their digital badges
- 1 also completed the facilitator badge activity.
- 7th January 2022, Gathering and Celebration for Badge participants to:
- Inform badge participants about the upcoming UDL@MTU organised National Seminar “Plotting your UDL Journey: getting started and moving forward” and recruit some badge participants to give lightening talks at this seminar about their redesign activity
- Collect participant feedback about their experience of the digital badge.
- Identify a number of project areas which could bring value to the wider MTU community and to establish working groups which would produce resource(s) in the relevant area over the course of semester 2.
- May 2022, Recruitment commenced for the next local rollout of the digital badge in Semester 1, 2022-23
- 04th October 2021-22nd January 2022 Badge Activities
- UDL@MTU National Seminar “Plotting your UDL Journey: getting started and moving forward”
- June 2021, Application submitted to the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education’s (NFETLHE’s) to host a national seminar around e on UDL in a higher education setting.
- September 2021, Notification received from NFETLHE that application had been successful
- 11th January 2022, Hosted a national seminar entitled “Plotting your UDL Journey: getting started and moving forward” facilitated by Prof Jo Rushworth, De Montfort University and Dr Amanda Bastoni, CAST, with a contribution from Dr Ann Toebes as part of Conversations on Teaching & Learning Winter Programme 2021/22:
- 87 colleagues registered
- 59 attendees from Ireland, the UK and France with representations from the following Irish institutions: TU Dublin, UL, UCD, GMIT, Mary Immaculate College, DkIT, TUS and Marino Institute of Education.
- Of 13 feedback respondents, 11 gave the seminar a rating of 10/10.
- UDL Working Groups, February 2022 – June 2022
- Three working groups were established to identify a number of project areas which could bring value to the wider MTU community. The groups were as follows and each groups decided which outputs they would focus on producing before the end of the academic year:
- WG1 – Accessibility on Canvas, outputs are:
- Immersive Reader enabled and trialled
- Accessible Canvas template prototype developed and under review with TEL
- Canvas UDL Checklist for lecturing staff developed
- WG2 - Accessible programmes, modules and materials, outputs are:
- UDL Module Guide for new and revised modules developed
- Accessible PowerPoint template for teaching activities
- Infographic capturing diversity of MTU’s 2020-21 student cohort prepared
- Infographic on producing accessible documents and presentations
- WG3 - Accessible assessment and feedback
- Podcasts on accessible and inclusive assessment and feedback practices.
Who are the project team members?
The following are our team members - you can contact us collectively via email at firstname.lastname@example.org:
Dr Marian Hurley
AnSEO – the Student Engagement Office, MTU Cork
AnSEO – the Student Engagement Office | Teaching & Learning Unit, MTU Cork
Disability Support Service, MTU Cork
Dr Sheila Walsh
Marketing and International Business, MTU Cork
Sport, Leisure and Childhood Studies, MTU Cork