The title of this talk is "Supporting All Students in Evidence-based STEM Courses with Universal Design for Learning."
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework for instructional planning that anticipates learner variability and provides multiple means for students to engage with and demonstrate knowledge of course content. UDL is an extension of Universal Design in architecture, which calls for design choices that make an environment accessible to all; for example, sidewalk curb cuts facilitate wheelchair use, and are also used by people pushing strollers. Similarly, UDL calls for designing a learning environment that naturally supports students with disabilities and language learners, perhaps reducing the need for accommodations, and improving learning for all students. While UDL is used extensively in K-12 education, it has been used infrequently in post-secondary STEM. Project ACCESSS is exploring the supports and challenges present in two evidence-based introductory STEM courses (studio-mode physics and inquiry-based chemistry laboratories) specifically for students with executive function disorders, such as attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, autism and learning disabilities, and how changes can be made to better align these courses with UDL. I’ll describe our exploration of these environments and the transformation process through student and instructor interviews, surveys of instructors’ views of inclusive teaching strategies, analysis of popular evidence-based curricula and classroom observations.