Picture of two students looking at a computer screen. Picture of a professor with a computer teaching a small group of students. Picture of a student working at a laptop.

Project Assumptions

  • Universal Design for Instruction (UDI) is an approach to teaching that consists of the proactive design and use of inclusive instructional strategies that benefit a broad range of learners including students with disabilities.
  • When UDI is applied to online and/or technology blended courses, the intent of the construct is to diminish the need for accommodations for individual students by proactively designing courses with accessibility, usability, and effectiveness in mind.
  • The term “universal” does not mean all-inclusive. Use of the term is not meant to imply that all users can or will use all elements of the course design. Rather, accessibility, usability, and effectiveness are goals to strive for in the design process.
  • Not all e-Tools will work with all students. Depending on specific situations and needs, some students will still require alternate formats, methods of presentation of information (e.g., providing text to support an audio clip), or methods of response.
  • An e-Tool alone is not an example of UDI. It is the way the e-Tool is used within an instructional environment that comprises the application of UDI.
  • An instructor should not focus on technology alone. Instead, the use of an e-Tool should always purposefully match a specific pedagogical need or objective.
  • E-Tools that are presented are intended to work across course management systems (CMS). In some cases, they can be embedded directly into a CMS. In other cases, their use will require access via a link (e.g., to a Word or PowerPoint document) that opens a new window.
  • Although the project design focuses sequentially on course planning, course delivery, and course assessment, these three components of the instructional cycle overlap. Work in one area can, and often does, affect work in another area.
  • LD refers to Learning Disabilities (see Glossary of Terms for a definition).
  • AD/HD refers to Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (see Glossary of Terms for a definition).
  • The term diversity used throughout the UDI Online Project includes disabilities, particularly sensory and cognitive impairments that may affect access to course materials. Generally, students with LD and/or AD/HD have one or more sensory and/or cognitive impairment(s) that limits their access to information. A disability of this type underlies the need for proactively designing courses with accessibility, usability, and effectiveness in mind.