Applications of Universal Design in Education

In Instruction

  • Class climate
  • Interaction
  • Physical Environments and products
  • Delivery methods
  • Information resources and technology
  • Feedback and assessment
  • Accommodation

In Services

  • Planning, policies, and evaluation
  • Physical Environments and products
  • Staff
  • Information resources and technology
  • Events

In Information Technology

  • Procurement, development and use policies, procedure, and evaluation
  • Physical environments and products
  • Staff
  • Input, output, navigation, and manipulations
  • Compatibility with assistive technology

In Physical Spaces

  • Planning, policies, and evaluation
  • Appearance
  • Entrances and routes of travel
  • Fixtures and furniture
  • Information resources and technology
  • Safety
  • Accommodation

Universal Design in Education

  • rests on the definition and principles developed at the Center for Universal Design: "The design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design." ncsu.edu/ncsu/design/cud
  • puts high values on diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • strives to make educational products and environments welcoming, accessible, and usable for everyone.
  • is a goal, a process, as well as a set of guidelines and strategies for specific applications.
  • can be implemented in incremental steps.
  • can be applied to instruction, services, information, technology, and physical spaces to ensure welcoming, accessible, and usable products and environments for students, instructors, staff, and others.

Examples of Universal Design in Education

In Instruction

  • A statement on a syllabus that invites students to meet with the instructor to discuss learning needs
  • Multiple delivery methods that motivate and engage all learners
  • Flexible curriculum that is accessible to all learners
  • Examples that appeal to students with a variety of characteristics with respect to race, ethnicity, gender, age, ability, and interest
  • Regular, accessible, and effective interactions between students and the instructor
  • Allowing students to turn in parts of a large project for feedback before the final project is due
  • Class outlines and notes that are on an accessible website
  • Assessing student learning using multiple methods
  • Faculty awareness of processes and resources for disability-related accommodations

In Services

  • Service counters that are at heights accessible from both a seated and standing position
  • Staff who are aware of resources and procedures for providing disability-related accommodations
  • Pictures in publications and on websites that include people with diverse characteristics with respect to race, ethnicity, gender, age, ability, and interest
  • A statement in publications about how to request special assistance, such as a disability-related accommodation
  • A student service website that adheres to accessibility standards (e.g., Section 508 Standards for those of the U.S. federal government)
  • Printed materials that are easy to reach from a variety of heights and without furniture blocking access
  • Printed publications that are available in alternate formats (e.g., electronic, large print, Braille)

In Information Technology

  • Captioned videos
  • Alternative text for graphic images on web pages so that individuals who are blind and using text-to-speech technology can access the content
  • Procurement policies and procedures that promote the purchase of accessible products
  • Adherence to standards for the accessible and usable design of websites
  • Comfortable access to computers for both left- and right-handed students
  • Software that is compatible with assistive technology
  • that are on adjustable-height tables

In Physical Spaces

  • Clear directional signs that have large, high-contrast print
  • Restrooms, classrooms, and other facilities that are physically accessible to individuals who use wheelchairs or walkers
  • Furniture and fixtures in classrooms that are adjustable in height and allow arrangements for different learning activities and student groupings
  • Emergency instructions that are clear and visible and address the needs of individuals with sensory and mobility impairments
  • Non-slip walking surfaces

ACKNOWLEDGMENT

AccessCollege is directed by DO-IT at the University of Washington and funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Postsecondary Education, Grant #P333A050064, and the State of Washington. Any questions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the government.

Copyright ©2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2007. Permission is granted to copy these materials for educational, noncommercial purposes provided the source is acknowledged.

The Center for Universal Design in Education

Founder and Director: Sheryl Burgstahler, Ph.D. University of Washington
Publications, videos, web resources at uw.edu/doit/CUDE