Universal Design for Instruction (UDI)

Diverse group of students sitting around a table working on their mobile devices

Universal Design For Instruction (UDI)

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“UDI means that, rather than designing for the average student, you design instruction for potential students who have broad ranges with respect to ability, disability, age, reading level, learning style, native language, race, and ethnicity.”

Sheryl Burgstahler, Ph.D.

Universal Design for Instruction (UDI) originates from the work of Scott, McGuire, and Shaw (2003) at the University of Connecticut Center for Universal Design, who expanded upon the 7 principles of universal design in architecture by adding “community of learners” and “instructional climate”:

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-courses.

UDI Pros:

  • Relatively short list of guidelines.
  • Directive, but not prescriptive, allowing for academic freedom.
  • Added emphasis on class culture and community building.

UDI Cons:

  • Does not provide concrete examples to implement universal design into practice.
  • Guidelines focused on physical spaces, not online environments.

UDI Resources:

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