As part of the 2024 Small TLEF funding round, the Office of the Provost and Vice-President Academic has earmarked funding to support a second cohort for the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Fellows Program that was launched in the spring of 2023 with its first cohort. The UDL Fellows Program will run across four months, with the second intake occurring in May 2024. Project teams who participate in the Program will implement UDL in courses during the 2024/25 academic year.
The UDL Fellows Program has been developed through a collaboration between the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology (CTLT), the Centre for Accessibility (CFA), the Faculty of Arts: Arts Instructional Support and Information Technology; Faculty of Education: Learning Design and Digital Innovation; Faculty of Land and Food Systems: LFS Learning Centre; Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences: Office of Educational Technology and Learning Designs; and Faculty of Science: Science Centre for Learning and Teaching (Skylight).
Universal Design for Learning is a set of principles for course and curriculum development that supports a more inclusive and accessible learning environment for all learners. The UDL Fellows Program will support faculty and staff to develop expertise in UDL through a cohort-based professional development program. It will be comprised of a series of facilitated workshops, online modules, and a project-focused set of activities to help participants use UDL principles to redesign their courses to be more inclusive and accessible. Courses impacted by these projects will benefit students from all backgrounds, not just those with accessibility needs, by providing more options and flexibility through the design of resources, tools, and course delivery.
The goals of the UDL Fellows Program are to:
- Identify and address systemic barriers to equitable learning opportunities, to create and sustain equitable and inclusive campuses (supporting UBC Strategic Plan Strategy 4: Inclusive Excellence and enhancing the accessibility of physical and virtual spaces for students, staff, and faculty)
- Improve access and inclusion in on-campus, online and hybrid teaching and learning environments with a focus on barriers for students with disabilities or other accommodations
- Cultivate a network of practitioners skilled in applying UDL approaches to teaching and learning contexts across various academic disciplines. These UDL advocates will also help to raise awareness of UDL among faculty and staff across the university community.
- Develop a range of strategies and resources that will expand support for accessibility within university practices and courses, promoting a more inclusive learning environment for all.
UDL Fellows Program structure – a cohort-based learning community
The UDL Fellows program has three core elements:
- Professional development workshops: Through a series of in-person and online workshops, UDL Fellows will learn:
- Why the Universal Design for Learning framework is important,
- How to identify accessibility barriers in their courses and practices,
- How to apply UDL principles and guidelines to their own courses/practices and remove barriers, and
- How to best interact with students with accessibility needs and respond to their needs.
- Course-focused UDL implementation project: Project teams will also engage in a collaborative redesign and development project resulting in the implementation of UDL approaches and materials in a course taught by the faculty member.
- UDL Hub: UDL Fellows will collaborate with CTLT and the Centre for Accessibility (CFA) in the development of the UDL Hub, a web-based resource aimed at faculty and staff to promote accessible and inclusive teaching and learning at UBC. Resources in the Accessibility Hub may include:
- Before-and-after examples of a course redesign using UDL principles
- Case studies to demonstrate the importance of accessibility in course design (e.g., providing alternative texts for all the images, transcribing video/audio components)
- Examples of purposeful selection and implementation of UDL resources, tools and course delivery using tools/platforms within the UBC learning technology ecosystem
UDL Fellows will also be asked to help to raise awareness of the importance of UDL principles and share strategies and experiences they have had through their own projects. UDL Fellows will:
- Provide input and examples to help build out and curate case-study examples of UDL implementation approaches across different disciplines to be shared on the Accessibility Hub;
- Participate in evaluation of their projects and the UDL Fellows Program to help to advance understanding of UDL on learning outcomes in their discipline, identify potential barriers in programs and courses as well as strategies to reduce those barriers;
- Engage in department or Faculty-focused UDL workshops and discussions to share information relating to their projects’ redesign, and to encourage discussions and actions to reduce barriers and maximize learning opportunities for all learners.
Central and Faculty support
The UDL Fellows Program was developed through a collaboration between the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology (CTLT), the Centre for Accessibility (CFA), and Faculty Instructional Support units, with funding from the TLEF. Participants will receive support through the workshops and have access to expertise from the CTLT, CFA and Faculty support units in the analysis, development, and implementation of UDL in their courses. CTLT’s Research and Evaluation team will provide evaluation support at no cost for funded proposals as well as carry out an evaluation of the UDL Fellows Program.
Departments will be eligible to receive $10,000 in funding to cover a three-credit course release for faculty who participate in the UDL Fellows Program. Faculties will be asked to commit in-kind support of a staff member to participate fully in this professional development program as a core project team member, to work closely with faculty on a funded UDL redesign project.
The 2024 Faculty Fellows Program is limited to 15 project teams from the UBC Vancouver campus. Nominations for the Program will be made by the Associate Dean (Academic or Students), Principal or their delegate. Each Faculty will be asked to nominate a project team with a description of the course being proposed for a UDL redesign and a rationale for why the project team and the course have been nominated for the UDL Fellows Program.
Ideally, each faculty project team should consist of an instructor, who may be either a tenure-stream or contract faculty, responsible for teaching a course that forms the centerpiece of the project. In addition, if possible, the team should include a support staff member from a Faculty Instructional support unit or departmental support unit who will work alongside of the instructor on the redesign of the course. If the Faculty is unable to nominate a staff support person, CTLT can provide support to the project.
All project teams who participate in the UDL Fellows Program will commit to participating in a series of UDL Fellows Program workshops (hybrid and in-person) between May and August 2024. During this period, the teams will collaborate to develop and put into action UDL strategies in their in their course design and teaching and learning practices, with a focus on courses and projects that will be offered during the 2024/25 academic year (i.e., Winter Session 1 starting September 2024 or Winter Session 2 starting January 2025).
- September 2023: UDL Fellows Program is announced as a Special Call as part of the 2024 Small TLEF funding round
- January 25, 2024: Due date for nominations from Faculties identifying a course project team (i.e., ideally an instructor/support staff team)
- May – August 2024: The 2nd UDL Fellows Program cohort will participate in a series of events during the summer: Kick-off event, online synchronous and asynchronous workshops, in-person Design Studios, Showcase event.
- September 2024/January 2025: Implementation of UDL approaches in targeted courses by project teams
- January 2025/Beyond: sharing of project outputs in departments and university events/Accessibility Hub.
Nomination materials for the 2024/25 intake will be shared with Associate Deans later this fall. Nominations must be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org by January 25, 2024.
For more information about the UDL Fellows Program, please contact: email@example.com