Eastern Michigan University

Universal Design Principles

Universal design principles can be applied to the overall design of instruction as well as to specific instructional materials, facilities, and strategies (such as lectures, classroom discussions, group work, web-based instruction, labs, field work, and demonstrations). Universally designed curriculum provides students with a wide range of abilities, disabilities, ethnic backgrounds, language skills, and learning styles multiple means of representation, expression, and engagement (http://www.cast.org).

Listed below are examples of instruction that employ principles of UD. They are organized under eight performance indicator categories (Burgstahler, 2007; http://www.washington.edu/doit/Brochures/Academics/instruction.html).

  1. Class Climate - Adopt practices that reflect high values with respect to both diversity and inclusiveness. Example: Put a statement on your syllabus inviting students to meet with you to discuss disability-related accommodations and other special learning needs.
  2. Interaction - Encourage regular and effective interactions between students and the instructor and ensure that communication methods are accessible to all participants. Example: Assign group work for which learners must support each other and that places a high value on different skills and roles.
  3. Physical Environments and Products - Ensure that facilities, activities, materials, and equipment are physically accessible to and usable by all students, and that all potential student characteristics are addressed in safety considerations. Example: Develop safety procedures for all students, including those who are blind, deaf, or wheelchair users.
  4. Delivery Methods - Use multiple, accessible instructional methods that are accessible to all learners. Example: Use multiple modes to deliver content; when possible allow students to choose from multiple options for learning; and motivate and engage students - consider lectures, collaborative learning options, hands-on activities, internet-based communications, educational software, field work, and so forth.
  5. Information Resources and Technology - Ensure that course materials, notes, and other information resources are engaging, flexible, and accessible for all students. Example: Choose printed materials and prepare a syllabus early to allow students the option of beginning to read materials and work on assignments before the course begins. Allow adequate time to arrange for alternate formats, such as books in audio format.
  6. Feedback - Provide specific feedback on a regular basis. Example: Allow students to turn in parts of large projects for feedback before the final project is due.
  7. Assessment - Regularly assess student progress using multiple accessible methods and tools, and adjust instruction accordingly. Example: Assess group and cooperative performance as well as individual achievement.
  8. Accommodation - Plan for accommodations for students whose needs are not met by the instructional design. Example: Know campus protocols for getting materials in alternate formats, rescheduling classroom locations, and arranging for other accommodations for students with disabilities.
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • youtube
  • linked in
  • Blog EMU
  • EMU app