Universal Design is proactive. The practice of universal design in education (UDE) goes beyond accessible design for people with disabilities to make all aspects of the educational experience more inclusive for students, staff, instructors, administrators, and visitors, regardless of their individual characteristics, including those related to gender, race and ethnicity, age, stature, disability, and learning preference.
Employing UDE principles does not eliminate the need for specific accommodations for students with disabilities. However, applying UDI concepts in course planning ensures full access to the content for most students and minimizes the need for special accommodations. For example, captioning course videos, which provides access to deaf or hard of hearing students, is also a benefit to students for whom English is a second language, to some students with learning disabilities, and to those listening in a noisy environment. Delivering content in redundant ways can improve instruction for students with a variety of learning styles and cultural backgrounds. Planning ahead saves time in the long run.
Content adapted with permission from Burgstahler, S. (2020). Equal access: Universal design of instruction. Seattle: DOIT, University of Washington. https://www.washington.edu/doit/equal-access-universal-design-instruction
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.