Universal design for instruction is an approach for teaching that involves proactive design and the use of inclusive instructional strategies that benefit a broad range of learners including students with disabilities.
The premise behind UD is that the planning and delivery of instruction as well as the evaluation of learning can incorporate inclusive attributes that embrace diversity in learners without compromising academic standards.
Quick tips for Universal Design in the classroom:
- Provide crisp, high contrast printed handouts.
- Encourage optimum classroom physical environment (lighting, noise, pathways, etc.).
- Face the class when speaking.
- Invite students to discuss any access issues with a statement on your syllabus and in the first class.
- Verbally describe images on all slides and overheads.
- Use a microphone when speaking.
- Repeat student questions and comments out loud.
- Provide electronic handouts ahead of time.
- Request electronic versions of textbooks when ordering.
- Provide text descriptions for all graphical items in instructional materials.
The Association on Higher Education and Disability has a comprehensive list of Universal Design Resources.