Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is an approach to education that minimizes barriers and maximizes learning for all students. When faculty approach curriculum with Universal Design for Learning in mind, they make their classrooms more accessible from the very first day of class.

Many examples of Universal Design that are being used successfully in the classroom are available online. We recommend becoming familiar with the following resources:

  • The National Center on Universal Design for Learning has shared examples and resources on how universal design can be incorporated into your curriculum
  • The University of Washington's DO-IT Center provides principles and examples of universal design
  • Dr. Sheryl Burgstahler, founder of the University of Washington's DO-IT Center, edited a free online book, Universal Design in Higher Education: Promising Practices, which provides examples of how Universal Design is currently practiced on campuses nationwide

Transparency in Learning and Teaching (TILT)

Transparency in Learning and Teaching (TILT) is a progressive Universal Design project that aims to improve college learning and teaching experiences for the benefit of students and faculty. TILT’s transparent teaching methods help students understand how and why they are learning course content in particular ways, resulting in students’ improved academic confidence, stronger sense of belonging in school, and greater awareness that they are mastering skills that future employers will seek. Research by TILT’s founder, Dr. Mary-Ann Winkelmes of the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, showed that in a study of 1800 students with 35 faculty members participating, the replication of her methods in just two assignments increased freshman retention from 74.1% to 90.2% persisting into the following October. Moreover, these evidence-based methods support the promotion of a socially just campus where faculty recognize that not all students are already prepared to identify the purposes and criteria for their academic work. A summary of Dr. Winkelmes's research and its implications can be found in the article "A Teaching Intervention that Increases Underserved College Students’ Success."

How can I use TILT to make my assignments more transparent?

Willamette's "Classroom Tales" page offers resources on transparent teaching that were shared during the October 6, 2016 workshop. This “Transparent Assignment Template” provides faculty a format for designing a transparent assignment. In addition, faculty who are implementing TILT methods in their assignments can discuss their assignments and share ideas with other educators via virtual monthly meet-ups called “Transparent Tuesdays,” which take place on the second Tuesday of each month at 2pm. The University of Nevada-Las Vegas provides several examples of transparent assignments in different disciplines.

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