Applied Universal Design for Learning in STEM Education
Abstract: The co-authors of this paper are: Kevin W. Tharp, Renee Howarton, Dean Wirtanen, Glendali Rodriguez and Xuedong (David) Ding of UW-Stout and this paper is included in the Conference proceedings for the 2012 ASQ Advancing the STEM Agenda Conference at UW-Stout July 16-17, 2012.
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a field of inquiry and practice that proactively designs course content in a manner that is accessible to as wide of an audience as possible. The approach is one where the instructor pre-emptively addresses course content that targets defined and/or undefined accessibility issues. In this way the benefits of improved accessibility are available to the entire class rather than just those seeking accommodation. Utilizing a mini-case study format this paper examines the process involved in implementing UDL practices in a cohort of STEM courses, the perceived accessibility challenges that were targeted by each intervention, and how the design in each class allowed for the gathering of evidence about the use and/or effectiveness of the target materials. Collectively these case studies reveal a glimpse into the diversity of thinking and approaches that were utilized under the premise of improving accessibility of course content. It takes an approach of continuous improvement through evidence-based practices by demonstrating the implementation process for gathering evidence about UDL practices to allow for continual improvement in STEM education.
Keywords: STEM - Conference Proceedings - Teaching Quality