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Universal Design

Universal Design for learning (CAST)

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is an educational framework for creating learning environments that address the diverse needs of learners. At its core, UDL provides students' flexibility in the ways they access and engage with course materials and demonstrate mastery of learning objectives.

Why is UDL important?

  • Principle I. Provide Multiple Means of Representation. Present information and content in different ways.
  • Principle II. Provide Multiple Means of Action and Expression. Differentiate the ways that students can express what they know.
  • Principle III. Provide Multiple Means of Engagement.

Here are just a few examples of how UDL can work in a classroom:

Posted Lesson Goals

  • Having goals helps students know what they’re working to achieve. That’s why goals are always made apparent in a UDL classroom. One example of this is posting goals for specific lessons in the classroom. Students might also write down or insert lesson goals in their notebooks. The teacher refers to lesson goals during the lesson itself.

Assignment Options

  • In a traditional classroom, there may be only one way for a student to complete an assignment. This might be an essay or a worksheet. With UDL, there are multiple options. For instance, students may be able to create a podcast or a video to show what they know. They may even be allowed to draw a comic strip. There are tons of possibilities for completing assignments, as long as students meet the lesson goals.

Flexible Work Spaces

  • UDL promotes flexibility in the learning environment. That’s why in a UDL classroom, there are flexible work spaces for students. This includes spaces for quiet individual work, small and large group work, and group instruction. If students need to tune out noise, they can choose to wear earpods or headphones during independent work.

Regular Feedback

  • With UDL, students get feedback — often every day — on how they’re doing. At the end of a lesson, teachers may talk with individual students about lesson goals. Students are encouraged to reflect on the choices they made in class and whether they met the goals. If they didn’t meet the goals, they’re encouraged to think about what might have helped them do so.

Digital and Audio Text

  • UDL recognizes that if students can’t access information, they can’t learn it. So, in a UDL classroom, materials are accessible for all types of learners. Students have many options for reading, including print, digital, text-to-speech and audiobooks. For digital text, there are also options for text enlargement, along with choices for screen color and contrast. Videos have captions, and there are transcripts for audio.

Additional Examples of Universal Design

  • Accessible websites and webpages
  • Captioned videos for all students
  • Offer multiple ways to participate in class discussions
  • Multiple ways to give an oral class presentation
  • Use multiple teaching modalities
  • Class outlines/notes are available for all students on the accessible class platform
  • Record all class lectures for students to access for review
  • Statement of accommodation process on syllabus (OSAS contact information)

To learn more about UDL on campus please visit CAST (Formerly the Center for Applied Special Technology) at

UDL Conference July 30th and 31st, 2024 both in person or online. For more information go to



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