Easily Adaptable UDL Approaches for any Class

Easily Adaptable UDL
Approaches for any Class
by Dawn A. Tamarkin, Ph.D.
Springfield Technical Community College
As you come in, grab 3 cards and # them
A number of universal design for learning
(UDL) approaches will be shared that can be
readily incorporated into other classes. Some
simple options as well as more complex ones
will be offered. These UDL approaches have
been developed over the past 15 years by the
presenter and other STCC faculty.
Get a comic square
• Find the people with the other squares that
match yours
• Get your squares into order
• Introduce yourselves to each other
• Be ready to read your comic aloud and
introduce your partners
What is Universal Design for Learning?
I am quite familiar with UDL
I am only a little bit familiar with UDL
I know relatively little about UDL
No Worries!
It’s easy
It’s fun
Even UDL-pros are always learning about it
I use a more applied approach, so even if you
are very familiar with it, I may get you thinking
about it differently
About UDL…
• It helps you address more learners, like:
– students with physical/learning disabilities
– students with diverse learning styles
– students who learn differently than you do
– students who feel like they don’t fit in
– non-native English speakers
• It’s a method to have a more inclusive class
• It prevents singling out particular learners
• It tends to be more active and flexible
How do you do it?
An oversimplification is to:
• Consider one particular type of learner and
consider what they couldn’t do in your class
(e.g., a blind student)
• Conversely, consider a challenging topic and
come up with a new way to teach it to a
student who should have been able to master it
• Create a more inclusive / active atmosphere
• see UDLcenter.org
UDL Example
Example: How can a student who
cannot take notes get notes?
• Introduce yourself to the person next to you
• Ask each other to answer the topic question
• Consider ways you have done or seen/heard
of done
• Come up with new ways
• You have 2 minutes
Time to share
Pick me!
Pick me if no one holds up a 1
Please don’t pick me
Possible solution #1
• Record your classes
• I do both a voice and a video recording using
Mimio and Camtasia
• It can be time consuming for you
• Only dedicated students use it
• Example recording…
Possible solution #2
Low-tech method:
• Assign note-takers
• Have them use carbon paper
• Make the notes available to everyone
• Example notes…
How is note-taking a UDL approach?
It offers alternative modes of
It provides for students who cannot take
their own notes
It does not single out students with
Class Community as UDL
Create Class Community
• May seem “touchy-feely” to some of you
• The stronger the inherent support, the more
accepted and comfortable students are; this
promotes learning
• Leads to more study groups and outside support
• Includes professor as part of the team
• Reduces student anxiety
• Gives students a sense of belonging (to the
learning environment)
Methods for Community Development
• Ice breakers (e.g., Comic Strip Chaos)
• Group work, especially where groups change
• First day of class activities (Linda Meccouri at
HCC has an excellent one)
• Valuing individual contributions and diversity
• Critical Incident Questionnaires with revealed
• Quick discussion with classmates on topic
(e.g., after a 1,2,3 card question)
• Teaching studying/learning methods
• UDL activities, where everyone is included
Another ice breaker-type activity
• This one is good for introducing new topics
• Toss the papers around until I say “stop”
• People with papers come up front (or hand off
to a neighbor if uncomfortable)
• With the help of everyone sitting down,
rearrange yourselves to form an appropriate
sentence related to today’s topic
What did we come up with?
Making group / discussion more UDL
• Consider defining roles within a group, like:
– moderators (to make sure everyone gets to
– note-takers
– time keepers
– reporters
• Ask for all students to contribute to a discussion
– anonymous note papers and random choices
– include an individual step, like write down a thought
first, before talking
Some answers:
1: • I feel engaged when you ask questions and
4: • the only reason why things are puzzling
we respond with the cards. I also prefer your
and confusing is because i really haven’t
drawings and explanations over the books
had the time to study the material and
learn it.
2: • I feel distance on Fridays and every other
• I find some of your quizzes to be a bit
Monday when I come to class after working
confusing for me at times, I guess the way
12hrs. I have a very hard time focusing.
you word your questions
• When I get stuck out of my preferred seat
5: • how little people study and expect to
• when you are going thru the text book
get into a program with a Cpictures quickly
• What surprised me the most is that I
3: • I love the fact that your lectures are always
actually pricked my finger for a lab, and it
recorded & your board drawings or information are wasn't even that bad!
always recorded as well right along with your
6: • On a side note, I feel that Dr.
lectures, so it's like being in class all over again.
Tamarkin is generally a good dresser and
• The more pictures you draw in notes, the better.
has nice teeth.
This is the only class where notes are available in
• I like the studying ideas you suggest
several forms and by other students; it's helpful to
they are helpful. I never really found a
compare what they found important during lecture
way that really helps me to study but
to my notes and add theirs.
some of your ideas seem useful.
Preparing for tests as UDL
Preparing for tests
• Many students lack study/organization skills
• No teachers enjoy providing “review sheets”
• You can have them practice (model) building
their own study sheets and reviewing
• How is this UDL? You are
– guiding appropriate goal setting
– optimizing individual autonomy
– facilitating their management of information and
Detailed Table of
• As they go through,
they are self-testing
• They are also learning
how to spend their
time on what they
have not yet mastered
developed with Vanessa Hill
• First have them cross
off anything they are
not responsible for
• Then have them
explain what is in
each heading &
Fitting in this exercise…
… would take too much class time
…is something I can squeeze in
…is not my responsibility (they should
know this already)
Peer support rounds
• Post Major Topics around the room
• Have students identify their comfort level with
the topics (from 1 to 5, for example)
• Assign a student who wrote a 1 to each Major
Topic location
• Unassigned students roam around to get help
where they most need it
• Switch assigned students to a second set
developed by Diane O’Hearn at GCC
Manipulatives as UDL
Including Manipulatives
Kinesthetic learners will be engaged
Interpersonal learners will be engaged
Can be more challenging to implement
Should be considered
Simplify and build the structure
Dynamic Cell Models
Elodea cell modeled from microscope view:
Challenging Content presented as UDL
Sequencing, sorting, organizing
• Get students to sequence relevant
• Have students sort information into
similar/different piles
• Use that to get students to make concept
• Provide concept maps for challenging topics
• Provide an outline for your lecture / lab
Sequencing Mitosis
• I developed Mitosis Sequencing Kits, but this
could be done with any images
• By putting the images in order, the process
becomes clear
• Students speak the language of mitosis aloud
while trying to sequence
Providing a
map / flow
Analogies & Applications
• Optimizing relevance, value, and authenticity
is an important UDL guideline
• These are alternative options for
• Rather than repeating the information you
offered, provide it alternatively using an
analogy or application
Now you come up with an analogy or application
you used this week in class… You have 1 minute!
Time to share
Pick me!
Pick me if no one holds up a 1
Please don’t pick me
Wrap Up
Final Thoughts
• Any time you try to include everyone, you are
attempting a UDL approach
• Active and interactive approaches are often
• I chose not to discuss changing our own ways
of presenting material (day in / day out), since
that is hardest to change
• My students are much more appreciative of
me and assume more responsibility for their
I can use some of these ideas in my
Not really
People at STCC who have contributed:
Vanessa Hill (math)
Carol Roberts (psychology)
Cathy Beals (biology)
Connie Hackett (disability services)
Michele Nash (biology)
Others who have contributed:
• Philomena D'Alessandro (math at QCC)
• Diane O’Hearn (college success at GCC)
• Mary Moriarty (at NSF / Smith College)

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