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Universal design learning

Boston College UDL: Building a Model for UDL Leadership

Richard Jackson

Associate Professor, Teacher Education, Lynch School of Education

The purpose of the BC Universal Design for Learning (UDL) project is to develop a comprehensive web space that will build the capacity of the BC faculty, staff, and administration across the University to implement UDL and to help BC become a national model for UDL implementation and leadership. UDL is an innovative educational framework, defined in the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, that addresses the variability and diverse learning needs of all students. The project promotes an innovative use of technology through the use of portable devices to gather various perspectives on the needs of learners.

The project will consist of three parts:

1) Conducting a UDL needs assessment that captures the voice of students and faculty and informs the project work;

2) Developing a comprehensive web space that builds the capacity of the BC community to implement UDL across the campus; and

3) Defining national UDL leadership competencies that can be used in teacher preparation programs to develop future teachers and UDL leaders that will be shared through the website as a model for the country.

The project promotes an innovative use of technology through the creation of a dynamic web space that will educate members of the BC community about UDL and support widespread implementation of UDL across the BC campus. This web space will be unique and far-reaching because of its comprehensive nature, its UDL design, and its connection to teacher preparation at BC. The project will establish a “learning” web space that educates and engages the BC community.

The project also promotes an innovative use of technology through the use of portable devices such as iTouch devices, digital cameras, or audio recorders to capture the voices of students as part of a needs assessment of the barriers impeding the implementation of UDL at BC. These devices offer multiple opportunities to gather various perspectives through picture, video, voice and text. While modeling UDL practice, the use of these devices will also provide students rich opportunities to share their views and experiences.