UDL Symposium: 1B. Enacting UDL at University - Enabling equitable and inclusively engaged learning
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Live presentation including Q&A
Inclusive education sectors value equity and diversity and focus on ensuring every student is provided with fair and equitable opportunities to fully participate in learning and achieve their potential. Education settings continue to see increasing diversity of the student cohort where this diversity of students’ needs, strengths and characteristics are broader than ever before. This is particularly so in higher education, and such diversity brings a range of benefits to the learning experience of all. This necessitates a universal design for learning approach as reactionary measures may not support the inclusion of all and, importantly, may signal to students who is and is not included by default, and therefore whose voices are worthy, valued and celebrated by default.
This presentation outlined a UDL approach at university course level for a large cohort of students across multiple campuses. Furthermore, this presentation showed how taking a UDL approach has fostered more inclusive and equitable learning opportunities and helped remove many barriers that may be in place for students. Such opportunities have been enabled, for example, through providing all students with multiple options for how they access and participate in classes, and the flexibility to adjust this on a case-by-case basis should students’ circumstances suddenly change. The benefits of this approach were presented by hearing the voices of the students through these UDL approaches. Any other UDL approaches recognised by the students, that should perhaps be considered in the next iteration of this approach, were also discussed.
Elizabeth Hitches has, in both her research and higher education teaching, striven to foster inclusive and equitable learning environments where all students can reach their full academic and personal potential. She is a PhD candidate at the Institute for Social Science Research, University of Queensland, Australia. Her research interests lie in inclusive education at a national and international level, as well as equity, achievement, and wellbeing for students with disability, chronic health conditions and/or accessibility requirements. Elizabeth is also a research officer and research assistant in both qualitative and quantitative research, and a sessional academic across various universities. She enjoys teaching undergraduate and Master level higher education students in the areas of inclusive education, diversity, equity, and accessibility and is currently an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
Assoc Prof Stuart Woodcock initially trained as a teacher in England. Since then, he has taught in England, Canada and Australia in primary and secondary schools, teaching in a variety of settings. His areas of expertise are based on inclusive education, classroom and behaviour management, and, teacher self-efficacy, not only within Australia but also Europe and North America. Stuart has researched extensively about issues regarding teachers’ ability to teach and manage diverse and inclusive classrooms effectively.