Write Another Way: Universal Design for Learning in the College Writing Class

(Panel)


Pedagogy & Professional / Rhetoric & Composition

Randy Laist (Goodwin College)

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is an approach to education that emphasizes inclusivity in the design of curricula, instructional strategies, and assessment. Inspired by a movement in architecture to create accessible built environments, the UDL framework is intended to foster learning environments that provide welcoming spaces for learners of all types, according to the premise that structural “accommodations” intended to benefit particular students (closed captioning on videos, digital copies of print documents, alternative assessments, etc.) enhance the learning environment for all students. Increasingly, the UDL model is influencing public policy and the pedagogical climate of educational institutions from elementary schools to colleges. The application of UDL principles to the teaching of composition occasions both opportunities and challenges. Prioritizing accessibility is always necessary for writing instructors, who routinely design their classroom practice in ways capable of accommodating students from a wide range of linguistic backgrounds. At the same time, writing instructors may struggle with what it means to provide “multiple means of assessment,” in a situation where the form of assessment, the student’s essay, is inalienable from the skill being assessed, the student’s ability to write effectively.

This panel seeks to address the question of how UDL principles can be applied to the teaching of college composition. Proposed papers may consider how writing instructors can design instructional materials that provide multiple means of engagement, representation, and/or expression, as recommended by the UDL framework, or may address broader questions about accessibility issues in the composition classroom.

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is an approach to education that emphasizes inclusivity in the design of curricula, instructional strategies, and assessment. This panel seeks to address the question of how UDL principles can be applied to the teaching of college composition. Proposed papers may consider how writing instructors can design instructional materials that provide multiple means of engagement, representation, and/or expression, as recommended by the UDL framework, or may address broader questions about accessibility issues in the composition classroom.