Tag Archives: UDL

Thinking about student attendance. Podcast recommendation: “Talking Learning and Teaching” with Tom Lowe

Now that we are back to (the new?) normal after the pandemic, it seems that something has changed regarding how student physically attend teaching. Why is that? That’s what Kevin L. Merry and Tom Lowe are exploring on the “Talking Learning and Teaching” podcast.

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Universal Design for Learning in Higher Education (Currently reading Cumming & Rose, 2022)

I have written about Universal Design for Learning (UDL) before, and from those posts it is clear that I did struggle with the concept quite a bit before I got the point and it slowly grew on me. Before I came across the “office analogy” for brain functions, I found it difficult to understand the structure of the UDL framework, and many points seemed redundant. That they show brain areas to make the point of “there are different processes involved in learning” is still weird to me, it looks like something I would expect in one of those magazines the pharmacies give to you, or an ad for headache medication; very pseudo scientific. Anyway, instructors struggling with the framework is very common in my experience as instructor and as academic developer, and also Cumming and Rose (2022) find in their review of current literature of UDL in higher education that that is one major obstacle. They also find, however, that UDL is well supported by theory about how learning works (something that I often hear questioned, even though nobody can actually point to where it goes against the currently accepted understanding of learning), and also that implementing UDL leads to very high satisfaction in both students (who don’t have to disclose disabilities any more, and aren’t being singled out) and instructors (who don’t have to spontaneously and individually accommodate students). So reading this review, I feel even more confident that we should continue working with UDL (at least until we find something better, and if you find something, please let me know!) and that we need to put more effort into “selling” the framework to instructors.

Cumming, T. M., & Rose, M. C. (2022). Exploring universal design for learning as an accessibility tool in higher education: A review of the current literature. The Australian Educational Researcher, 49(5), 1025-1043.

Tips for creating inclusive classrooms at LTH (based on an article to be presented at LTH’s pedagogical conference this December)

I have been part of running a course called “the inclusive classroom” this fall. I learned a lot of new things both from other instructors (for example Louise’s excellent “office” metaphor for brain functions) and from participants (for example Damien & Rhiannon’s “design for the edges” below, a very inspiring read!). And now at the end of the course, we asked participants to share one paragraph each about their best tips, which I compiled into an article we will present as a roundtable discussion at LTH’s conference on teaching and learning in December. Read it below or here.

(Featured image: diversity of seasons observed when I left the office yesterday)

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An office as an analogy to explain the three brain functions

In last week’s seminar on inclusive teaching, Louise Morreau, psychologist at the student health services at Lund University, gave an inspiring presentation and used such a great image to talk about how we can think of the brain’s functions, that I have to adapt it for myself right away (because that is how MY brain works).

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Revisiting Universal Design for Learning

I have again been chewing on the “Universal Design for Learning” idea for the last couple of days. This was prompted by us agreeing that we want to let participants in an upcoming course play UDL Bingo, where participants check boxes if they notice that we are doing something to make the course more accessible, and we can then discuss what we did do and what we could and maybe should have done. In order to improve the old bingo (which I am not linking to here, because the new one comes below!), I went back to the UDL guidelines (http://udlguidelines.cast.org). I still find them slightly overwhelming, but here is a version that now makes sense in my head (I always have to re-compile complex information in order to process it…) and that I think I might be able to teach in the 45 or so minutes that I have available in that specific course.

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UDL bingo: challenge yourself!

There are a ton of things on my to-do list for this week before I go on vacation, but I really don’t want to do any of them right now, and so much not so that I, instead, just put together a “UDL bingo” that we can use to challenge ourselves! (Procrastination is best when you still do something useful, right?) Of course, the goal would be to do more than what is suggested on the bingo card, but this is at least a start!

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Automated subtitles in pptx presentations are so easy and super good! How did I not know about this before?

I just tried automated subtitles in pptx slides and they are SO GOOD!!! I had known for quite a while that this option exists, but had so many excuses for why I wasn’t using it. Like English isn’t my first language, pptx will probably not understand me anyway… But turns out that it does, and it works beautifully, I am so impressed! Just go to “slide show”, tick “always show subtitles”, and then, optionally, choose the input AND OUTPUT language. That’s right — it can also translate in real time! I tested with German and English and it is SO IMPRESSIVE! We’ve had a lot of discussions about whether it is more accessible to teach in Swedish or English* and now this discussion is moot — we can easily have both at the same time!

Now the one thing I need to figure out is how to capture the closed  captions and save the transcript as a text file (so it’s searchable). Does anyone have any advice?

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Currently reading: “Reach everyone, teach everyone: Universal design for learning in higher education” (Behling & Tobin, 2018)

“Reach everyone, teach everyone” — that title caught me right away, and I’m glad I ordered and read the book by Tobin & Behling (2018)! They manage to make Universal Design for Learning feel like a manageable task, and one that can be done one small step at a time, rather than something so huge and overwhelming that it’s better to not even start thinking about it. Here are my notes on what I want to remember from a teacher perspective!

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Currently reading Darby & Lang (2019) “Small teaching online — applying learning science in online classes”. My summary (2/x)

This is the second part (part 1 here) of my notes on reading “small teaching online — applying learning science in online classes” by Darby & Lang (2019). Take it with a pinch of salt and go read the original book! These are just my two cents on the points that I find especially relevant for myself!

Part 1, chapter 2, is on “guiding learning through engagement”, basically how to scaffold learning by designing lots of small signposts and feedback opportunities throughout the duration of a course or project. And this is how they suggest we do it:

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Currently reading Darby & Lang (2019) “Small teaching online — applying learning science in online classes”. My summary (1/x)

I absolutely loved reading the “small teaching” book by Lang (2021), so I was super excited to dig into the related “small teaching online — applying learning science in online classes” by Darby & Lang (2019), and it did not disappoint! I loved it (my only complaint: why didn’t they call it “Tiny Teaching”??? What a missed opportunity!) and — as always — I am summarizing the main points (of the part 1, chapter 1, stay tuned for future posts!) from my perspective below, but it is totally worth reading the actual book! Continue reading