Inclusive Design for teaching and learning encourages educators to provide multiple methods of presentation, expression, engagement, and assessment. Its goal is to create learning opportunities for all students while maintaining high expectations for performance.

Inclusive Design for Learning Award

Congratulations to Tanya Byker for being the first recipient of an Inclusive Design Award for AY 2022-2023! Nominate a Middlebury member for the Inclusive Design for Learning Award. The award recipient receives $1,000 and will be invited to share their work with the Middlebury community. 

Inclusive Design Principles

Rather than tailoring to meet the needs of select populations or narrow uses, inclusive designs are robustly usable to widely diverse kinds of people. Guided by a belief that designs reflect community values, inclusive design offers a sustaining way to live our commitment to a welcoming, engaged, and inclusive Middlebury community.  

 Key features of inclusively designed teaching and curricular development include: 

Making information legible so it can be understood.
Choice and Equity
Providing multiple options guided by values of fairness, access, and full participation. In curricular development this  includes different ways to share knowledge, acquire knowledge, assess knowledge, and demonstrate command of knowledge.
Modifying and the practice of adaptation.

These principles apply to the ways information is presented and accessed; the ways students can respond, or demonstrate knowledge and skills; the ways students are engaged in learning; and the class assessment mechanisms.

Examples of Clarity

  • The assignments’ objectives and rationales are stated at the outset and explicitly integrated across the course; 
  • The instructor uses visual description and critiques of visual sources (such as images, graphs, maps)
  • Subtitles or captions for video sources

Examples of Choice and Equity

  • Intentionally varied teaching methods are used (such as short lectures; seminar style discussions; paired work and small group work; in- class writing or idea mapping; and online postings).
  • The course offers diverse formats and range of sources (such as films, virtual museums, academic texts, audio files, and material objects).
  • Multiple options for assignments are available (such as a standard research essay and/or gallery exhibit proposal; journaling and/or a poster presentation; group work on artifacts and/or a virtual field trip).

Examples of Flexibility

  • The class offers a combination of forms of participation (such as  on-line contributions; in-class discussions; and crowd-sourced note-taking). 
  • Inviting feedback from students during the course, and responding to their insights and assessments (such as revising the teaching approach).
  • Providing specific flexibility in course requirements (such as an option to complete a percentage of the established graded assignments)
  • Using different means of assessment (such as student self-reflections; project revision option).

Resources to Learn More

This site provides clear ways to reframe disability, access, and inclusion. Created by national leaders in disability resources, the pages devoted to faculty development are particularly useful. Helpful for understanding frequent barriers to learning, answering common questions about access and learning environments, and impact on learning.
Universal Design: Places to Start
This article by Jay Dolmage (Disability Studies Quarterly 35, no. 2 (2015)) provides explanations of key concepts, evaluates different approaches to inclusive designing for teaching and learning, and offers a robust list of additional resources on ways to start growing inclusive design practices in teaching and learning environments. 
Accessible Teaching Strategies
Resources by the University of Washington that are helpful for broad strategies as well as specific approaches to particular settings and goals.
CAST UDL Exchange
Site offers amplified resources to learning about and building Universal Design for Learning into courses and teaching. It covers all grades of learning, including higher education and a wide array of disciplines. You must create an account (which is free) to access this site.
UDL ON CAMPUS · Universal Design for Learning in Higher Education
This web resources spotlights key features of course design and planning using principles of inclusive design. It offers multiple means of understanding core concepts and illustrating examples with explanations.

Center for Teaching, Learning, and Research
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Middlebury, VT 05753