Universal Design for Learning

Universal Design for Learning
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  • Sure! Basically, it involves finding ways to make our courses more accessible and appealing to a wider variety of learners.
  • I went to the faculty workshop on Universal Design for Learning.
  • Hey, what'd you do this summer?
  • Cool. I really wish I could have gone. I have no idea what it is. Can you fill me in?
  • Oh. Sounds interesting. But is that really our job as instructors?
  • Yes; they will for registered students. But actually, everyone learns differently, and if we build variety into the design from the very beginning, then everyone can do better.
  • Well, we do design the courses: we curate materials, plan lectures, create assignments . . . the idea is that we have to mix it up a bit to appeal to different learning styles.
  • But won't Disability Services deal with accessibility issues?
  • Are you saying we need more?
  • Philosophy already has a lot of variety: ancient, modern, logic, ethics, Aristotelian, non-Aristotelian . . .
  • So, no Snap Chat dialogues? Real arguments can't be tweeted?
  • That sounds like a red herring.
  • Haha, yeah. We can provide multiple ways to access the ideas, like images, captioned videos, podcasts or hands-on activities.
  • No; my point is that philosophy is a traditional discipline with a long history of academic expectations that we should help students embrace, not abolish.
  • Aristotle didn't do any podcasts.
  • Right; essentials are non-negotiable. But Scantron logic quizzes . . .
  • . . . Aristotle didn't use Scantrons.
  • Those bubbles make me nauseous.
  • Are you suggesting we water down the material?
  • No, of course not!
  • We should make sure that when we test for essential logic skills, we are not also testing the method itself.
  • Because we do have academic standards to honor. Reading and writing skills are necessary to carry on our core Catholic Intellectual Tradition.
  • What about them?
  • They recommended focusing first on 'pinch points,' where students tend to have the most trouble.
  • Yeah, but the UDL presenters encouraged taking just one small step at a time.
  • I know, right?
  • Whoa. That would change our approach, and thus requires some serious consideration.
  • Modus ponens.
  • That seems reasonable. Where will you start?
  • And it sounds like a ton of work!
  • Ouch!
  • Check with STELAR.
  • Or faculty development.
  • And the librarians are into it and really want to collaborate with us.
  • I also use play-doh to teach hylomorphism.
  • Yeah . . . so, want some play-doh?
  • Okay, that's just weird.
  • But I am intrigued by UDL. How can I learn more?
  • Um, no.
  • Wow, sounds like it's going campus-wide.
  • But thanks!
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