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UDL Symposium: 3E. Levelling Up Your Online Teaching with Universal Design for Learning

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Interactive workshop

Online learning has emerged as a powerful tool, offering students flexibility and convenience while expanding the boundaries of traditional teaching methods. By utilising technology and multimedia, students can be provided with enriched examples, explanations, activities, and assessment methods. However, the reduction in classroom interaction time poses a challenge, leading to decreased contact between lecturers and students. Moreover, students may encounter difficulties in navigating new technologies, with limited direct support, resulting in frustration, anxiety, and confusion.

Research, including the voice of students with disability, has suggested that course technologies are often inaccessible. Students have difficulty navigating the online learning environment, and students lack support to get appropriate and needed accommodations. These challenges can contribute to a sense of learner isolation and higher attrition rates. In response to the challenges related to equity and accessibility in online learning, before, during, and after COVID-19, Dr Leif has proactively embraced the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) in her unit design and delivery.

In this presentation, Dr Leif described her seven step UDL approach for designing inclusive and accessible online instruction that meets the needs of diverse learners and shared illustrative examples from her own practice.


Dr Erin Leif is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Educational Psychology and Counselling, Faculty of Education, at Monash University. Erin’s work places a strong emphasis on the critical importance of upholding and safeguarding the inherent dignity, equality, and freedoms of every individual. At the core of her research lies a deep commitment to promoting social justice and inclusivity, ensuring that the rights of all people, but particularly people with disabilities, are recognised and protected. Erin’s current research focuses on ways to help parents and teachers use positive, preventative, evidence-based practices when supporting children and young people with diverse learning needs in home, school, and community settings. Her research interests include positive behaviour support, multi-tiered systems of support, trauma-informed behaviour support, and universal design for learning.

(September 2023)