Universal Design for Instruction

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. The nine Principles of UDI© provide a framework for college faculty to use when designing or revising instruction to be responsive to diverse student learners and to minimize the need for "special" accommodations and retrofitted changes to the learning environment. UDI operates on the premise that the planning and delivery of instruction, as well as the evaluation of learning can incorporate inclusive attributes that embrace diversity in learners without compromising academic standards.

The staff in Instructional Design & Development office can help you reconfigure your course to address the principles below. Please contact us for a consultation.

1. Equitable use

Instruction is designed to be useful to and accessible by people with diverse abilities. Provide the same means of use for all students; identical whenever possible, equivalent when not.

2. Flexibility in use

Instruction is designed to accommodate a wide range of individual abilities. Provide choice in methods of use.

3. Simple and intuitive

Instruction is designed in a straightforward and predictable manner, regardless of the student's experience, knowledge, language skills, or current concentration level. Eliminate unnecessary complexity

4. Perceptible information

Instruction is designed so that necessary information is communicated effectively to the student, regardless of ambient conditions or the student's sensory abilities.

5. Tolerance for error

Instruction anticipates variation in individual student learning pace and prerequisite skills.

6. Low physical effort

Instruction is designed to minimize nonessential physical effort in order to allow maximum attention to learning.

Note: This principle does not apply when physical effort is integral to essential requirements of a course.

7. Size and space for approach and use

Instruction is designed with consideration for appropriate size and space for approach, reach, manipulations, and use regardless of a student's body size, posture, mobility, and communication needs.

8. A community of learners

The instructional environment promotes interaction and communication among students and between students and faculty.

9. Instructional climate

Instruction is designed to be welcoming and inclusive. High expectations are espoused for all students.

Adapted From:

Principles of Universal Design for Instruction, by S. S. Scott, J.M. McGuire, & S.F. Shaw. Storrs: University of Connecticut, Center on Postsecondary Education and Disability. Copyright 2001.

UDI Online Project. (2009). Examples of UDI in Online and Blended Courses. Center on Postsecondary Education and Disability, University of Connecticut, Storrs.

http://udi.uconn.edu/index.php?q=content/examples-udi-online-and-blended....

Additional Resources

At an ATR on October 31, 2017, Allison Lombardi, Assistant Professor in the Neag School of Education at the University of Connecticut, gave Wesleyan faculty an introduction to universally designed instruction which was followed by more in-depth discussion. A recording of the presentation is available for viewing. 

Creating accessible PDFs

Universal design considerations for course syllabus

Universal design considerations for learning goals