Reaching out to all: a set of guidelines and resources for a universal design for learning approach to learning, teaching and assessment in higher education
Technological University of the Shannon: Midlands Midwest
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Higher education works with a diverse population. All students are welcomed into the learning community, coming from a variety of backgrounds, creating a diverse learning community. While many will move through their learning programmes with ease, others may encounter difficulties along the way. Technological University of the Shannon (TUS) has chosen to use the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) to underpin the curricula and approach to learning, teaching and assessment in the University. The MA in Academic Practice and associated modules or Special Purpose Awards (SPAs) were designed to address key themes, including Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) and student engagement. All accredited CPID offerings are underpinned by the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL). In particular, the Certificate in Inclusive Practice in Learning, Teaching and Assessment aims to provide participants with the prerequisite skills and knowledge to enhance the learning experience of the student population through the creation and implementation of an inclusive learning environment to meet the diverse needs of the learning community. One of the value statements of the TUS Strategic Plan 2023-2026 is inclusivity, demonstrating commitment to embracing “diversity as a key strength where everyone is included and has an equal opportunity to progress and achieve” (Technological University of the Shannon, 2023, p.18). This is further supported by the University’s commitment to implementing “...an inclusive approach to curriculum design which is based on the principles of UDL, including learning, teaching and assessment approaches, will help to create a more inclusive and accessible learning environment” (Technological University of the Shannon, 2022, p.14). With funding for a learning enhancement project from the National Forum for Learning and Teaching Enhancement, this guide and associated resources have been developed to support all staff to understand and apply the principles of UDL to create and deliver a more inclusive curriculum and approach to learning and teaching.
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