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ADCET Webinar: What Universal Design for Learning Looks Like

ADCET was excited to welcome back Dr Thomas Tobin for this webinar on UDL.

Many of us have heard of the principles and checkpoints in the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework (CAST, 2018) that helps us to lower access barriers for our learners (and or us). It can be challenging to perceive where among those 31 checkpoints we should begin our efforts at implementing the UDL principles. In this interactive webinar session Thomas discussed and demonstrated the three nested levels of understanding and practice with UDL:

  • design our materials and interactions to provide multiple pathways for learners (Edyburn, 2021),
  • engage with learners to help them sharpen their own learning skills (King-Sears et al, 2023), and
  • ask learners to guide some or all of their own learning (Novak & Rodriguez, 2018), with us as expert guides when they need us.

This webinar examined actual classroom materials from colleagues in mathematics, business, chemistry, and carpentry (Tobin & Heelan, 2022). Thomas then provided experiences of micro-lessons of lecture-based single-path learning interactions, and then applied UDL principles and checkpoints in each of the micro-lessons, stopping to note what changed and how UDL worked in those situations.

Along the way, he also distinguished among emerging, proficient, and approaching-expert UDL practices (Novak & Rodriguez, 2018). Thomas provided concrete practices that can be implemented immediately in your teaching and design work.



Dr Thomas J. Tobin helped found the University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Teaching, Learning, & Mentoring, and he is an internationally recognised scholar, author, and speaker on technology-mediated education - especially copyright, evaluation of teaching practices, academic integrity, and accessibility/universal design for learning.

He holds a master’s and Ph.D. in English literature, an information science master’s, and certifications in project management (PMP), online teaching (MOT), Quality Matters (QM), accessibility (CPACC), and academic leadership (Penn State ALA).

Named to Ed Tech Magazine’s 2020 Educational Technology Influencers “Dean’s List”, honored with the 2022 Wagner Award for Outstanding Leadership in Distance Learning Administration, and named by Eduflow in 2023 as one of the world’s Top 100 Learning Influencers, Tom serves on the editorial boards of InSight: A Journal of Scholarly Teaching, Advances in Online Education, and the Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration.

His books include:

  • Evaluating Online Teaching: Implementing Best Practices (2015).
  • The Copyright Ninja (2017).
  • Reach Everyone, Teach Everyone: Universal Design for Learning in Higher Education (2018).
  • Going Alt-Ac: A Guide to Alternative Academic Careers (2020).
  • UDL for FET Practitioners: Implementing Universal Design for Learning in Irish Further Education and Training (2021).

Find Thomas on various social media and at

(April 2024)

ADCET is hosted by the University of Tasmania