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Creating a Syllabus based on the Principles of Universal Design for Learning and Equity

Author: Grace Hanson | Emily Versace Subject: All Subjects Created: 2019-08-22
From The Author Universal Design is a concept that is based on creating tools and teaching strategies that are mindful of students with specific challenges including students with disabilities, learning differences or other diverse issues. Typically once Universal Design elements are brought into a class, it benefits all students, not just students with specific needs. A syllabus is a great starting point for implementing universal design concepts in your classroom. By taking a few simple steps you can create a tool that will help prepare all students for success. - Grace Hanson

Impact on Faculty

Students are more apt to engage with and read a syllabus that is appealing and accessible. When engaged with material, learning is enhanced and students are more likely to calendar, remember, and hopefully comply with course deadlines.

Impact on Students

When faculty upgrade their syllabus to universal design, the syllabus becomes more engaging, and creates a more welcoming and diversity-friendly classroom. When students engage with and read course materials such as the syllabus, student success will increase.

Toolkit Survey

Toolkit Overview

This toolkit shows you how to implement universal design elements into your syllabus, creating a learning tool that is more specific, accessible and useful for all students. By including additional details and steps, having a clear and welcoming additional needs statement that includes information about accommodations for student with disabilities, and making your syllabus available in multiple places, you will be doing a service to your all your students including students with disabilities, learning differences or other challenges.

Steps To Implement

1) Use the checklist included in the toolkit materials to evaluate your current syllabus and look for places where you want to changes your syllabus to make it more useful, specific and accessible.
2) Look at the sample Syllabus posted under materials to get ideas for how to implement these new ideas.
3) Write a clear and welcoming Additional Needs Statement about accommodations. It is recommended you read this statement out loud in class so students feel safe requesting the support they need
4) Create your new syllabus using the ideas on the checklist, and provide it to students in multiple ways; online (i.e. Canvas), via email, and a hard copy the first day of class.