Universal Design for everyone

The Australian Disability Clearinghouse on Education and Training (ADCET) hosted its inaugural tertiary education symposium on Universal Design for Learning (UDL) from September 5th to 7th, 2023. 
One of the keynote speakers was Dr. Sheryl Burgstehler from the University of Washington, a highly recognized researcher in the field of UDL.
Professor Burgstehler emphasized the critical importance of collaborating with faculty, staff, institutions, and technology companies to promote Universal Design (UD) principles and practices. This is particularly relevant in light of the shift away from designing courses exclusively for "average" students towards designing courses that cater to a diverse range of learners.

This paradigm shift extends beyond mere accessibility, aiming to create genuinely inclusive courses that accommodate individuals with varying abilities. These abilities encompass language proficiency, visual and auditory capabilities, mobility, literacy, and even diverse physical, mental, and behavioral characteristics.

This approach involves adopting a design perspective that considers the diverse backgrounds and characteristics of students, including factors such as race, ethnicity, cultural backgrounds, beliefs, values, experiences, interests, and disabilities. It encompasses essential actions such as ensuring document accessibility, incorporating video captions, and addressing various crucial elements of course design.

If you work as a learning designer or plan to develop a course, we encourage you to explore Dr. Burgstehler's conference to gain a deeper understanding of how to apply the principles of Universal Design effectively: