Universal Design Instructional Methodologies
Here are some strategies to help instructors with these challenges in the classroom.
Lecture requires sustained concentration, retention of information, fluency in spoken language, and note-taking.
UD strategies are to create and post detailed notes on an accessible Website, provide periodic breaks during long sessions, provide adequate space and lighting for interpreters/captioners, allow time for questioning and clarification throughout presentation.
Written exercises require reading, writing, access to print formats and English language fluency.
UD strategies present written exercises as group work OR allow for the use of assistive technology, reader, scribe, or a dictated response; and use at least 18-point font (Arial, Tahoma) on solid background using simple, intuitive language.
Group work often requires substantial, appropriate physical space; use of printed materials; sustained concentration; interpersonal, communication and writing skills; and may spark anxiety issues.
UD strategies are to design group roles to ensure that individual differences are naturally mediated through distribution of responsibilities; minimize the amount of printed materials and assure accessible formats when necessary; design physical space to minimize noise level and distraction, and provide periodic breaks.
Discussion requires English language fluency and use of auditory information; may require note-taking, sustained concentration, and use of visual information; may compromise effectiveness of accommodations (sign language interpreters/captioners) and spark anxiety issues; and space may have inadequate acoustics.
UD strategies provide adequate space and lighting; provide options for participation, such as note cards; summarize key points; design seating arrangements that provide face-to-face contact for all participants; and ensure appropriate acoustic environment.
PowerPoint and overhead presentations require use of visual information (clarity, color, size, and density of slides) and lighting may be an issue.
UD strategies are to create slides with a solid background (light text on dark background); use at least a 24-point font (Arial, Tahoma); describe slides orally, limit the number of slides, allow adequate time for the audience to read each slide, and use software to post accessible PowerPoint slides to an accessible Website.
Video/films require use of auditory and visual information and lighting may be an issue.
UD strategies ensure videos are captioned; prepare a disk of descriptive narration or transcript for ready availability of alternate format.
Activities often require substantial physical movement, use of auditory and visual information and English language fluency; may spark anxiety issues, compromise the effectiveness of accommodations (sign language interpreters/captioners), and prevent adequate control of physical environment (noise, space, lighting).
UD strategies carefully plan and consider the value of the activity due to the wide range of issues and individual differences of participants and consider options to accomplish the same goals. If you choose to use an activity, ensure that you plan necessary supports to allow for ease of movement and communication. Practice variations of the activity with user or D.R. staff member to evaluate inclusiveness.
The following is an external site with Professional Development Resources from the Center for Applied Special Technology:
CAST Universal Design for Learning