Enrollment in online and technology blended courses in institutions of higher education is growing at a dramatic rate across the United States. According to an investigation of over 2,500 institutions by Allen and Seaman (2007), nearly 3.5 million college students were enrolled in at least one online course in 2006. This represented a 10% increase from the prior year, and 83% of the institutions surveyed anticipated offering additional courses. Despite this rapid growth, there is limited evidence related to effective teaching practices for diverse learners, particularly those with mild cognitive disabilities. With increasing numbers of institutions offering online and technology blended courses, and with increasing numbers of students enrolling in these courses, this project will extend prior work in Universal Design for Instruction (UDI) into the online and technology blended learning environments.
The project will focus on "faculty as designer" in implementing innovative instructional practices in online and blended courses. This will be accomplished initially through collaboration with faculty and course designers across the University of Connecticut system to infuse UDI Principles© related to course planning, delivery, and assessment in online and blended courses. Using a cycle of developing, piloting, and revising, the project will then extend its reach to faculty nationwide by creating and posting the UDI e-Toolbox of instructional models and e-Tools that support the implementation of the Principles of UDI© in on-line learning. Project outcomes will be disseminated via this site www.udi.uconn.edu, through a UDI e-Tools national webinar, and through professional presentations and publications.