e-Learning for Educators
Course Information

Universal Design for Learning (UDL)/Special Students in Regular Classrooms for Inactive Educators
Course Description

This course provides an introduction to the concept of Universal Design for Learning (UDL), and strategies for implementing a UDL approach in instructional settings. Universal Design for Learning is an approach to teaching and learning and the development of curriculum and assessment that draws on current brain research and new media technologies to respond to individual differences. This course is designed to acquaint participants with UDL principles and provide practical, hands-on experience using software tools and digital media for learning support.

Course Syllabus

By the end of this course, participants will:

  • understand the basics of UDL,
  • explore online resources that support UDL,
  • reflect on the ways in which future classroom activities and lessons could be designed to implement UDL,
  • understand how UDL and 21st century learning can be beneficial for ALL students,
  • identify ways to effectively incorporate 21st century tools and UDL to meet the needs of ALL students,
  • gain an understanding of how diverse your future classroom is and how UDL and 21st century learning will aide you in teaching,
  • understand the Principles of Multiple Means of Representation,
  • understand when to use different types of representation to present information to students,
  • explore and understand accommodations/modifications for the classroom, and how to use different strategies to help special needs students in the classroom,
  • identify many means of expression and alternate methods of assessment,
  • determine how alternate methods of expression and assessment can be beneficial to students, and
  • use the knowledge gained from the session to create an assessment allowing for student choice and a corresponding rubric,
  • understand the concept of Differentiated Instruction,
  • analyze similarities and differences between Universal Design for Learning and Differentiated Instruction and,
  • discover ways to make instruction more accessible for all learners,
  • know how to implement ideas learned in Sessions One-Five to create a UDL future classroom experience,
  • develop ways to use assessment practices to support learning for all students, and
  • demonstrate how to use principles of UDL when establishing learning activities, classroom management procedures and daily routines.
Course Organization

This course includes several different activity components, all of which are described below. During each session, you will participate in a unique collection of these activity components, depending on the particular focus of that session.

When you see this icon you will be reading relevant articles, resources, and instructional materials that will help inform your online course development process.

When you see this icon you will be completing activity-based curriculum and inputting various components of your course content into course project.

When you see this icon you will be using the online discussion board to share ideas, resources, and thoughtful conversation with your fellow course participants and facilitator.

This professional development course is designed for currently employed K-12 teachers, technology specialists, curriculum specialists and administrators. Participants are expected to have regular access to computers. Although not a requirement, high speed Internet access definitely enhances the online experience. Participants should be proficient with using email, browsing the Internet and navigating through computer files. 

Microsoft Word is required in order to read, edit and/or create documents for this course. If you have a WVDE k12.wv.us email account, you have access to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneDrive, etc. as part of Microsoft Office 365. You should see your school/county technology support person if you need help in using/installing Word and/or other Office applications. 

If you do not have a k12.wv.us email account, Word must be acquired through other means.  One way to get access to Word Online at no charge is by Creating a Microsoft Outlook Account with Access to FREE Office Online

Format and Requirements

This workshop is divided into an Orientation Session and six one-week sessions which each include readings, activities, and an online discussion among workshop participants. The time necessary to complete each session is estimated to be 6.5 to 7 hours.

The outline for the workshop is as follows:

Session One What is Universal Design for Learning?
Session Two Taking a 21st Century Perspective
Session Three Multiple Means of Representation and Accommodations/Modifications in the Classroom
Session Four Multiple Means of Expression and Universal Assessments
Session Five Multiple Means of Engagement and Differentiating Instruction
Session Six Bringing It All Together

Session One: This session is designed to help participants begin to understand the Universal Design for Learning process.  The readings deal with the basic elements of UDL.  The readings will also give background and historical information leading to the formation of this learning process.  During the activities, participants will view a video and get a chance to explore interactive sites dealing with UDL.  Then participants will reflect on how all this could apply to their their future classroom as they complete the session project.

Session Two: Universal Design to Learning and teaching 21st century skills is a way to ensure success for all students in your future classroom. Students who are on level, low functioning (special needs), or high functioning (gifted and talented) all learn in different ways. Teachers must be open to change and flexibility to incorporate new techniques to meet the needs of all. Hands on activities that are meaningful to the students will expand learning opportunities by engaging students in your classroom. Through the activities and the session project, we will look at the purpose of UDL and 21st century skills and determine how you will use these in your future classroom or how you can begin to use these in your future classroom in order to reach ALL students.

Session Three: We all learn differently.  Multiple Means of Representation is defined as presenting information in multiple ways.  One student may learn with hands on activities, while other students learn from simply reading a text book.  Accommodations and modifications help students in the classroom.  With the use of technology in the classroom, this has opened up thousands of items to use in the classroom for both the teacher and students.  During this session, you will be exploring many different types of representation, accommodations, and modifications.  The project includes reading scenarios of children with multiple difficulties in the school settings and matching the student with strategies to allow success in the classroom.

Session Four: This session focuses on multiple means of expression and universal assessments. Sometimes the assessments we use assess much more than we intend. An assessment may not show us an accurate picture of what a student knows because of how that knowledge is assessed. In this session, you will explore many resources that can be used to reduce student barriers and will learn how providing alternate methods of expression and assessment can be beneficial to students. You will create a project that allows for student choice and a variety of ways for students to share their knowledge of a topic. A rubric will be created to accompany the project you create.

Session Five: Universal Design for Learning and Differentiated Instruction share some similarities but have many notable differences as well. Educators must make informed decisions as to which practice will assist them in educating their students.
Universal Design for Learning is a new way of thinking about education. It has the potential to reform curriculum and make learning experiences more accessible and meaningful for all students. Multiple Means of Engagement is part of UDL and places the focus on the what, the how and the why of learning. 
To differentiate instruction is to recognize students' varying background knowledge, readiness, language, preferences in learning and interests, and to react responsively. Differentiated instruction is a process of teaching and learning for students of differing abilities in the same class. The intent of differentiating instruction is to maximize each student's growth and individual success by meeting each student where he or she is, and assisting in the learning process.

Session Six: This session gives you the opportunity to synthesize all of the information which has been offered concerning the strategies that incorporate UDL concepts. Providing for all of the different learning challenges presented by students who require specially designed instruction, as well as students who could just use some of the supports provided in a UDL setting may seem like a daunting task. The readings and activities in this session give you expert advice on how to manage your classroom to support all learners. Included in the optional readings are tips for setting up the UDL classroom. The Session Project gives you a chance to think about students with special needs and how you can use the three principles of UDL to create a learning activity that meets each student's unique needs.


Each session includes readings, activities, and a discussion assignment, which participants are required to complete weekly. This is a three-hour graduate level course and will require 45 hours to successfully complete the tasks. Participants should plan to spend 6.5 - 7 hours weekly to read assignments, complete activities including and participate actively in the weekly discussions.

Orientation Quiz: During the Orientation Session, participants are expected to complete the Orientation Quiz. The quiz may be completed as many times as necessary to score at least a 90% accuracy. 

Readings and Activities: Participants are expected to complete the required course readings and activities as posted in each of the session assignment pages. Optional readings may also be completed, but are not mandatory.

Course Products/Assignments:
Session One: 
Session One Project   Session One Project Rubric  Session One Project Peer-Review Rubric
Session Two: Session Two Project  Session Two Project Rubric  Session Two Project Peer-Review Rubric
Session Three: Session Three Project  Session Three Project Rubric  Session Three Project Peer-Review Rubric
Session Four: Session Four Project  Session Four Project Rubric  Session Four Project Peer-Review Rubric  
Session Five:  Session Five Project  Session Five Project Rubric  Session Five Project Peer-Review Rubric
Session Six: Session Six Project  Session Six Project Rubric  Session Six Peer-Review Rubric

Copyright: Copyright guidelines are to be observed throughout the course project and all course activities. All work associated with the course project is to be the original work of the course participant. Fair use does not apply to the course project.

Discussion Forum: Participants will be evaluated weekly on the frequency and quality of their participation in the discussion forum. Participants are required to post a minimum of one substantial original posting each session in response to the discussion prompt for that session by Sunday evening. Participants are to respond thoughtfully to a minimum of two colleagues' original postings each session by Monday evening. They are to read all original messages by course participants and enough additional responses to make a total of 50% of the messages posted for that session by Tuesday evening. Postings will be evaluated on their relevance, demonstrated understanding of course concepts, examples cited and overall quality.

Read the Discussion Guidelines and the Checklist for Evaluating Discussion Postings. Your facilitator will follow these guidelines and the checklist when evaluating successful participation in the course Discussions. You will also be asked to peer review other participants' projects in the Discussions during Sessions One-Six, using the peer-review rubrics. The Rubric Review Help Guide
will assist you in completing this successfully.

Grades: All grades in the course gradebook must be a "C" for successful course completion. A grade of "C" indicates that all work has been completed and the work meets the expectations for that assignment.

 Pre and Post Workshop Surveys: Participants are expected to complete both surveys. The Orientation Survey is to be completed by Sunday during the Orientation Session and the Final Survey is to be completed by Sunday during Session Six. 

Certificate of Completion

Upon successful completion of this course, Universal Design for Learning, participants will receive a Certificate of Completion documenting successful completion of the course requirements. Certificates are distributed to each qualifying participant via attachment to the Session Six Dropbox shortly after the completion of the course.

Graduate Credit Information

Participants in this course are eligible to receive non-degree graduate credits from either West Virginia University, Marshall University, West Virginia State University, or Concord University. Credits will be awarded at the end of the semester in which the course occurs. Additional information is available on the course News/Welcome Page.

Content and Technology Standards

This course, Universal Design for Learning, will help participants meet the ISTE Educational Technology Standards and Performance Indicators for All Teachers (https://www.iste.org/docs/pdfs/20-14_ISTE_Standards-T_PDF.pdf). For more information about Technology Integration visit: http://www.iste.org.

In addition, participants may reference specific WV Standards (http://wvde.state.wv.us/policies) as they engage in course content.

About this Course

This workshop was developed for the West Virginia Department of Education (http://wvde.state.wv.us

Original design (before format modifications) by EdTech Leaders Online (http://www.edtechleaders.org), a project of Education Development Center, Inc, © 2007.  All rights reserved.