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Universal Design for Learning

Introduction from Laura and Audrey

Introduction to Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

Given the diversity of the Higher Education student population in Ireland, an inclusive approach to enhancing the educational experiences of all students, including students with disabilities, students who are migrants, mature students, international students and students from different socio-economic backgrounds is essential. If all University staff members adopt an inclusive approach to their work and responsibilities the experience of students will be improved. Whether students are looking for accommodation, registering for a programme, or taking a book out of the library, students should carry out these tasks with as much ease as possible. However, providing an inclusive environment and culture of engagement for all students is an intricate process that requires commitment at many different levels across the institution, and we can all play a part in improving the experiences of our students. By supporting our increasingly diverse student population we can advance UCC’s mission of offering an equitable experience for all students. 

In an attempt to support colleagues across the university, guidelines on how all staff members may create and nurture an inclusive environment for everyone are compiled here. These guidelines are based on the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL; CAST, 2018), an evidence-based scientific framework. The UDL framework allows us to consider how best we can ensure inclusive experiences for everyone, regardless of ability. UDL principles are based on the idea that there is no such thing as a ‘typical’ or ‘average’ student, and that all students learn and interact differently. Although the UDL framework was developed to improve and optimise learning and teaching, the guidelines can be utilised to enhance all aspects of the university environment. As such, it is useful for staff across the university, regardless of role or discipline. UDL aims to improve the educational experience of our diverse student population by introducing more flexible methods of teaching, assessment, and service provision. 

To learn about UDL Principles, click here.

UDL Guidelines

The following guidelines may be utilised by a wide range of staff members including professional services, support services, technical staff and academic staff. Browse through the links available and see which guidelines are most applicable to your roles, generally and specifically.

Universal Design for Learning