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31 Days of Universal Design for Learning [TRANSCRIPT]

ELISA LEWIS: Great. Looks like we have a number of people in. So hi, everyone. Thank you for joining us for this webinar today, 31 Days of Universal Design for Learning, or UDL. My name is Elisa Lewis. I’m from 3Play Media, and I’ll be moderating today.

I’m joined today by Tom Tobin. Tom is the founding member of the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Mentoring at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, as well as an internationally renowned author and speaker on issues of quality and teaching with technology, including evaluating online teaching, academic integrity, copyright, and accessibility.

Tom holds a PhD in English literature, a second master’s degree in information science, a professional project management certificate, a master online teacher certification, the Quality Matters Reviewer Certification, the Professional and Accessibility Core Competencies CPACC certification, and he recently completed the Academic Leadership Academy from Penn State.

Tom likes to tell his nieces and nephews that he is in the 44th grade. He is the author of Evaluating Online Teaching, Implementing Best Practices, The Copyright Ninja, Going Alt-Ac: A Guide to Alternative Academic Careers, and Reach Everyone, Teach Everyone: Universal Design for Learning and Higher Education.

Like I said, today’s webinar is titled, 31 Days of Universal Design for Learning, and we’re glad to have you with us, Tom.

TOM TOBIN: Thank you very much, Elisa, and thank you to everybody who’s here on the live webinar and for everybody who’s going to be watching this later on. I’m grateful to have your ideas and voice here with us.

For those of you who are on the live webinar, I want to share a couple of promises. If you’ve seen me do programming in the past, you know that I like to be really interactive and really interruptible. Today is going to be 1 and 1/2 of those things. We’re going to have a lot of information presentation today. We will definitely be pausing for your thoughts and ideas.

With that in mind, let me put the title slide up here on the screen and get my chat windows all set so I can see what’s going on. I want to say thank you to our hosts at 3Play Media. You heard from Elisa Lewis, but we’ve also got Jaclyn Leduc and Casey Pearson behind the scenes, as well as our live captioning team going for us today.

You see in the chat that you can use the Closed Caption button on your Zoom controls to turn those live captions on and off today for the live session. So we’re grateful to everybody who’s behind the scenes supporting this session today.

A couple of pieces of housekeeping for you folks– it’s going to be a lot of demonstration today. I want to try out some new ideas with you all. So if you’ve done some of my other programming, this is completely different and brand new. Also, don’t worry. We will have those pause points for thinking and doing. So make sure that if you’re here on the live session and you’d like to take part, you’ve got a lot of different ways to do that.

You can post ideas in the chat, and we’ll give voice to those as often as we can. If you have a specific question to ask or if something technical goes goofy for you, use that Q&A function, and that will put you in touch with our 3Play Media hosts behind the scenes. And we’ll also have an opportunity for you to come on the live microphone, if you would so choose. We’re going to use that Raise Hand feature in your Zoom controls for that.

Because we’re using the webinar feature and there’s a lot of people on our call today, we’ve got control over people’s cameras and microphones turned off. But that Raise Hand feature will allow you to let us know that you’d like to come on the live microphone, and we’ll acknowledge you and bring you into the conversation that way. So you’ve got a lot of choices today.

As you might expect in a session entitled, as it says on your screen, 31 Days of Universal Design for Learning, there’s an image of a calendar there on your screen, the 3Play Media logo, the hashtag, #31DaysofUDL, and a picture of me smiling in a suit. With that, let’s get started with our conversation for today.

So on your screen now is a picture of me sitting on a stool smiling in that same suit and a picture of a calendar. And it says, “Just follow my 1-month plan for UDL, and you will.” Now, you’ve heard all the promises, right? Adopt this one beautiful teaching, training, or design technique, and all of your worries will be over. By just following my one-month plan to implement the principles of universal design for learning, you will get rock hard abs.

Well, no. On the screen is an ad from the back of a comic book where Charles Atlas, the body builder, promises to turn skinny people into muscle-bound hunks in only a month. Or follow my UDL plan, and you’ll triple your income or be more confident in social situations. No.

On your screen are two more comic book ads, one from the American Seed Company promising money and prizes for the kids who sell their products, and an ad from the singer Meat Loaf and various Marvel superheroes asking readers to buy a record album whose proceeds supported the Special Olympics. Or follow my UDL plan, and you will be able to see right through walls.

Well, no, again, right? The original X-ray specs ads, like this one, used to be, well, not so safe for work, and they were sexist to boot. By the time the ad on your screen came out, showing a person wearing X-ray spectacles and, quote, seeing through his own hand, the copywriters were even careful to say, you will enjoy, quote, a three-dimensional illusion of X-ray vision, because, you know, the product was basically junk.

Now, you will completely remove the need for disability accommodations for your learners. This is what a lot of our senior administrators think. We bought a product. We engaged with a service. We did some particular training on accessibility, and we’ve already checked that box. This is wrong, heartily wrong.

So on the screen is a pyramid. It shows universal design at the base of the pyramid for the majority of learners, grouped work for learners who have similar needs, individual accommodations for disability barriers, and personal assistance for intensive needs. Now, the entire image is overlaid with a circle with a slash through it, indicating negation.

If everything that I’ve just said sounds like false advertising, of course it is. Only the ads in the backs of comic books ever promised us drastic changes in just a month. If it were possible to do any of those things, I’d have disappeared for a month a long time ago and come back a changed person. Instead, I’m here still doing the incremental, challenging work of personal discovery a tiny bit at a time, just like all of us are.

Now, I hear from a lot of colleagues who start implementing Universal Design for Learning, or UDL, that they get stuck in analysis paralysis mode when they think of all the possible ways and places where they could start expanding the design of their learning interactions. And the enormity of the need just seems overwhelming. People give up on inclusive design schemes of all sorts when they recognize that there aren’t really shortcuts that can produce broad results quickly.

That’s the hardest argument to make when we’re introducing colleagues to UDL. It’s going to take intentional effort, and it’s different from what we’re doing now. Yes, UDL pays us back in time and effort saved later on, but that’s sometimes not a winning perspective when we’re working with colleagues who are already feeling stressed and anxious about their workload.

So how do we help each other to take a complex issue, like UDL, and make a manageable start at it? The answer might surprise you. We should embrace the complexity, and then take tiny, intentional steps that add up to cumulative changes. Oh, and for the record, sea monkeys did not look or act anything like the ad on the screen said that they did.

OK, those comic book ads do have one thing in common with our topic for today, though. They promise a lot with a very simple explanation. Like most things, the truth behind the simplified version is almost always more complicated, though.

Now, on the screen is a group of three diagrams of the brain, and you’ve probably seen these. Each one has a different area highlighted. Chances are you’ve found these diagrams in discussions about universal design for learning, but maybe not like I’m about to describe them now.

The first shows the gyrus cinguli and the hippocampus in the midbrain. These are the affective centers where we decode incoming signals and decide what to pay attention to. The second diagram highlights the parietal and occipital lobes. They work as a sort of switchboard that takes in information, both from within our bodies and coming in from the outside world. The last brain diagram points to the frontal lobe, the part of our brains that decides what actions to take in response to stimuli and intentions.

Why the anatomy lesson? You’re probably used to these brain images being labeled as representing the affective recognition and strategic networks, or even seen a simplified why, what, and how set of labels for the ways in which our brains process learning experiences. The reality is more complex, messier, and less tidy than any set of colored brain region diagrams can share.

The three-part division of learning into affect, information, and strategy is itself a simplification of a continuous, overlapping, and seamless process. Yes, the sort of plus-one thinking that I advocate as a starting point for UDL, or that why, what, how progression of these brain images, those are excellent starting points for identifying gaps and taking initial actions with multivariate design techniques. But in our session today, we’ll explore how to go beyond that step one understanding of universal design for learning, and we’ll use, yeah, a simplification.

So here’s a screen grab on your screen from the cast.org web page on the UDL guidelines. It shows the three principles of UDL with which most of us are familiar– providing multiple means of engagement, representation, action, and expression. That level of complexity is where most people just starting out with UDL end up stopping. It’s useful, though, to examine the rest of this image. Under each of the principles is a list of checkpoints that offers specific ways to implement each general principle. Each one is supported by research and by experiments.

If we read across the chart, the first row of checkpoints have to do with access needs, then ways to build knowledge, and finally, a row of strategies for internalizing new knowledge and skills. Now CAST breaks the checkpoint list into options for recruiting interest, perception, physical action, sustaining effort, language, expression, self-regulation, comprehension, and executive function. I’m going to share them today a little differently.

We started our session with some month-long comic book ads that promised more than they could deliver. But now I’d like to share a month-long series of brief actions that will add up to what I hope is greater learner voice, choice, and agency.

So now on your screen is a fictitious month that I’ve labeled, “UDL-uary,” and here’s how the 31 Days of UDL in our title is going to go. I will offer a lightning share style presentation of practical ways to implement all 31 of the UDL checkpoints via this proposed month-long development calendar. And I’ll focus on spending only 10 minutes or less every day on each of those checkpoints.

And I see a question in the Q&A. Can you share the link to the slides here? I’ll ask our folks to put that in the Q&A and, as well, in the chat. So we have links to the slides, and there’s also a handout with all of the proposed wording for today’s session, as well, that you should have access to. So thank you team behind the scenes.

After that lightning round share, you’ll get to vote on three strategies that you’d like to see more about, and we’ll spend time on each of those top three vote-getters. Now, if your top three don’t make the cut live, don’t worry. You’ll leave our session with resources to learn more about each of the UDL checkpoints and how to apply them. So that question in the Q&A was perfect timing.

Now, like the color coded image of a calendar that’s on the screen now, I’ll be walking through this fanciful month of UDL-uary of making small changes, and we’ll use a web page that has some content on it as our sample. It starts midweek with engagement on the first of UDL-uary up there. And all of those engagement strategies are color coded with green on your screen.

We spend our weekends thinking about learner actions. That’s the blue color coding. And then, we work on our content and more engagement during the week. Content has that lilac or purple shading to it.

Now, we’ll pause when we get to the weekends, quote unquote, for a little thinking, reflection, and consolidation. So you might want to take some quick notes as you’re watching the demonstration. Here we go.

All right, here’s a completely made-up web page at a fictitious university. It is definitely not based on any actual web page that I just copied entirely and changed some details in it. Oh, no, no– completely made up. Actually, don’t tell the folks that this is actually based on a real thing.

OK, the original web page is a set of directions for an activity in an undergraduate management course. Students must record a video proposing a technology project and answer questions like how to initiate the project, how to gather a team, acquire resources, monitor progress, manage risk, and measure their success.

Let’s do this UDL-uary month worth of developing this page, aiming to spend only about 10 minutes every day. And on your screen is some text that says, “Our Starting Point,” and then it’s a web page with a lot of text on it. It says, “For this project, you’ll apply concepts of initiative and project management to your current working environment. Using the resources and information provided, create a video presentation as a proposal to lead a tech project.

How might you begin organizing and initiating? What roles would you need on your team and why? What tools and resources would you need? How will you propose to monitor the scope, schedule, and budget? What risks do you anticipate? How will you measure the success of the initiative or project? And submit your video presentation with the Submit button at the top of this page.”

So this is a website somewhere in some learning management system. All right, let’s go. Day one, we’re starting with Checkpoint 9.2, and that is facilitate personal coping skills and strategies. Now, why would we start with emotional management and ways to reduce frustration? Well, we learn best when we are in a place of psychological safety.

The best thing I can do is to ask a learner who was successful with this activity in a previous offering to share their tips for how to handle the stress and frustrations. I asked my former student to record it, and then I just added the link in the web page. So you see, in red text now, “Video– former student Leah Padraszewski talks about how she approached this activity.” It’s a 1 minute, 45 second video, so I added that in– day one. We’re going to do 10 days before we hit a weekend here.

Day two is Checkpoint 7.2, optimize relevance, value, and authenticity. While this checkpoint can encompass a lot– it can be personalization, it can be cultural relevance, social relevance, self-reflection– my 10-minute application is to make the purpose of doing the activity clearer to participants. I revised the first sentences to emphasize the real world why behind the activity. So it now reads, “Real world project managers are expected to show initiative and lead without much external prompting. This activity helps you to prepare for this part of the job.”

Day 3 is Checkpoint 6.3, facilitate managing information and resources. An early and easy way to lower barriers is to create a checklist of steps or actions within an activity, like I’ve done here. And yes, this is just as effective for graduate students as well as for intro level learners. Don’t walk them through every single step, but say how they should approach tasks and problems. You’ll note that the bottom of the page, there’s new information that says, “Follow the checklist of elements for assessment,” and there’s a link out to a separate page here.

Day four is Checkpoint 4.1, vary the methods for response and navigation. I added a progress bar at the top of the page. It’s highlighted in rose there, in red. And I put that there to show students where they are in the directions and submission process for this activity. This gives them both textual and visual cues about their progress through these directions.

On day five, we’re at Checkpoint 1.1, offer ways of customizing the display of information. Since this is already a primarily text-based web page, learners have the tools already to make the font bigger and smaller, set the color display how they’d like. Now, I added a reminder in the page header– it’s kind of squeezed in on your screen just for space allowances– about the control plus and minus or, on a Mac, the Command key plus and minus font size controls. So up there in the top right corner, it says to enlarge or reduce the font size, and it shows how students can do that.

So we’re already halfway through our first week, and we’ve already made a few 10-minute changes. Now, day 6 is checkpoint 1.3, offer some alternatives for visual information. My learning management system has a read aloud feature for text. So I asked my system administrator to turn that on. The control for the tool is in the lower right of your screen. It says, “Read this page aloud, On/Off.” So this was work that I didn’t have to do, but I had to know that that feature was there.

Day seven, Checkpoint 1.2, offer alternatives for auditory information. While YouTube creates auto-generated captions for videos uploaded there, their AI system isn’t perfect. I spent my 10 minutes correcting the captions for that explainer video from my former student, and then I downloaded the text and created a standalone transcript for the video. So you’ll see at the bottom of your screen, in the description of the video, it now says it’s a minute, 45 seconds, and there’s a link to the text transcript.

Day eight, Checkpoint 7.3, minimize threats and distractions. This checkpoint is especially useful in designing safe and welcoming interactions in physical or live remote learning spaces. But even for this humble web page, we can help minimize threats and discomfort by providing an option not to be on camera and to do a voiceover with appropriate visuals.

I can assess the student’s performance in the same way, whether they’re on camera or not. I’m not grading on business attire or eye contact– just for the project management skills. So I stuck a note in here up at the first part of the directions that says, it’s equally OK to be on camera or do a voiceover video for this day.

Day nine is Checkpoint 7.1, optimize individual choice and autonomy. A powerful way to increase engagement and trust is to involve the learners in the design of the activities and assessments themselves. That’s the expert learners of UDL.

I added a requirement to the activity to ask each learner to tell me what element of their presentation that isn’t listed in the requirements that they’d like my feedback on, ungraded of course. This gives students the chance to be part of the evaluative process and affords them a no consequences way to get some helpful feedback that’s useful for them.

And we’ve got some questions in the Q&A here. Let’s see. “I’m confused. How do we get access to these 31 Days LMS site? Could you share?” You do have access to this. If you look in the chat, our hosts at 3Play have put a link to the slides and to the handout. In the handout, you can actually see all these pieces as we go through them together. So thank you for that.

And here’s another question. “Are all 31 days going to apply to the same activity?” Yes, they are. We’re going to actually adjust this same thing for 31 times. And, “Is this a class you teach and could be shared with us?” Well, if you want to take one of my business classes, you’re welcome to do it. But yeah, this is actually not one of my courses.

So we’ve got this information coming in from another institution and another instructor. And a lot of people are saying in the chat, I don’t see the link to the handout. I’ll ask my folks from behind the scenes. If you came in a couple of seconds late, you might have missed those links. There they are in the chat for you again. Thank you. And we’ve got a couple folks saying, could you please repost in the chat? So we just took care of that. Awesome.

You know what? We stopped at day 9, and day 10 was our stopping point, so let’s get there. So here on day 10 is Checkpoint 4.2, optimize access to tools and assistive technology. I’m grateful to the designers of my learning management system for taking care of this checkpoint for me.

If there’s something you can do with your mouse, is there also a key combination that does the same thing? Yes, there is. I asked my system administrators to add to the footer of every page a link to a keyboard shortcuts guide. I put it together, they put it in the learning management system. It actually helps everybody. So we’ve got the same text of the assignment documentation here, and then in the bottom right hand corner, above the “Read this page aloud,” it now says, “Look at the keyboard shortcuts for this page.”

So we’ve made it through 10. And another good idea from Checkpoint 7.3 is to vary the pace of work, length of work sessions, availability of breaks or time outs, or timing and sequence of activities. And we’re going to do that now.

You’ve made it through our first long week in UDL-uary, all the way to day 10. So let’s pause, so you can think about what you’ve experienced so far. On your screen is that calendar of UDL-uary, and the items that I’ve just reviewed have all been grayed out– coping skills, relevance, managing information and sources, response and navigation, customizing the display, visual and audio alternatives, minimizing threats, choice and autonomy, and control over the tools and the tech.

So let’s pause, so we can think about what you’ve experienced so far. Of all of those UDL checkpoints, which one seems to be the most practical, the best for your learners, or the easiest for you to implement quickly? Whatever your “most” is among days 1 through 10, write it down, and consider sharing it during this pause. You’re welcome to lurk.

If you’re watching the recording, pause the recording here, and write down your answer or your idea. You can post something into the chat, or wait until the two minutes for thinking is up, and then use the Raise Hand feature, and we’ll recognize you, and you can come on the live microphone and talk about one of these or ask a question.

So I’m going to put two minutes on the clock, and we’ll play some music during that two minutes. If you’d like to mute the audio while you’re thinking, and then turn it back on once the music is over, I’ll put a message in the chat letting you know when the music will stop. So we’ll give voice to your responses after those two minutes and try to find some common themes. Let me start that music up now, and post the question in the chat.


Wow. Two minutes goes by quickly when you’re thinking. So thank you, everybody, for posting things into the chat. We’ve got a couple of questions in the Q&A as well. I’d like to address those before we give voice to people’s ideas.

We’ve got one question in the Q&A. “I really like the idea of including a progress bar. Is this something you’re able to add to any LMS, or is that something I’d have to work with my LMS to add?”

Most learning management systems don’t have this as a native feature. What I did was I went into PowerPoint, and I created a shape. And I put some circles on the shape, and I said, here’s step one of five– made another one that looks like it’s step two of five, three of five, four of five, and so on. I just posted those in at the top of each document as an image. And I put some alt text to the image. That took me about 10 minutes worth of work.

So this is something that I did manually, but a lot of systems do allow you to say, this is step one of so many, two of so many, and that kind of thing. So love the idea there, so thank you.

There’s also a question here. It says, “There are 31 different ways someone could improve the design of their course, but you wouldn’t recommend to faculty to spend all 31 days on the same assignment or activity, right, like you’re doing now? I mean, 10 minutes a day? That’s five hours to improve a single activity, and it wouldn’t seem scalable.”

I love the question, and you’re totally going to the very end of our conversation today. So hang on to that feeling, because it’s a good one. I wouldn’t do what I’m doing in this webinar in my actual practice. So thank you for fast forwarding us a little bit.

Let’s see what people talked about the most, best, or easiest. Michelle Patterson, who you can follow on Twitter– she’s UDLMichelle. She says, “I love day nine, letting students request feedback on an idea that wasn’t listed. That’s giving them a little bit of control.”

Thomas says, “The most impactful is day one, coping skills. Having a former student record a video to help reduce anxiety is brilliant.”

Kirk says, “7.2, relevance– we need real world applications or examples.”

Pari says, “Coping skills, so another plus 1 for that. The video from the previous student seems to be best for my students.”

And the checklist to manage the information and resources– Jessamyn Neuhaus– she’s on Twitter, @geekypedagogy, if you want to follow her. “In my experience,” she says, “giving students assistance in managing the information and resources, like with a checklist or a progress bar, is a tiny investment of my time for a huge payoff with students. They really, really, really appreciate it,” so that’s a lot of “reallys” from Jessamyn. Awesome deal.

Michelle says, it was hard to choose. Absolutely. That’s kind of the point here. These are all good things. I’m trying to figure out, what’s the thing that speaks to you the most or seems to address a need for you the most? Becky says, “I love the tip about telling learners how to increase and decrease text size. I’ll be implementing this immediately.” Becky, if I could give you a high five through the machine, I totally would, so thank you.

Lida says, “Easiest, the checklist and relevance. I love the student video idea.” James says, “Coping skills and managing sources.” A lot of people voting for coping skills. Here’s Cynthia putting a check mark next to that one.

Joshua says, “Number 3 seems to open ended for someone looking for resources for someone who is looking for organizational assistance. Do you provide additional resources?” Ooh, James– or excuse me, Joshua, wait a week, and we’ll get to that.

Suzanne says, “Coping skills– being able to self-regulate makes everything better.” That’s kind of why I started there. Jessamyn says, “Also, the asking, what else would you like my feedback on, is great.” Suzanne says, “Optimize relevance, value, and authenticity, and I use the checklist, but not enough, so a good reminder.”

Cecilia says, coping skills and the student-created video. And Natalie talks about minimizing threats on day eight. We’ve got more coping skills votes from Ademola and Joanne. And Susan also wants to add more in here. Aaron says, “Day nine is my jam. I always like finding ways to give students autonomy.”

So everybody who’s here on the live call, it sounds like we’ve got a really good set of starting skills here. And we’ve got a bunch more here in the chat, and I apologize. I’m going to keep rolling here, but choice and autonomy seems to be the big winner among everybody. Does that mean it’s the best one? Does that mean it’s the right one for you? No. It just means we’ve got a lot of people with that on their minds right now in our live session.

So thank you very much. Did you enjoy our first weekend break in UDL-uary? Awesome, because we’re working on the weekends too, so hang in there.

All right, day 11, we’re back at it. Now, on your screen, is the same assignment that you’re used to seeing again. And we’ve got some new text in there as well.

Day 11 is Checkpoint 5.1, use multiple media for communication. In addition to me providing multiple ways for students to take in information that I create, I want to offer them that same chance to use various tools. For this activity, I don’t mind if they record on their phones, with a webcam, or another device, so I modified the directions to say that explicitly.

Now, at the end of the first paragraph it says, “Please use whatever tools you are comfortable with for composing, recording, and editing.” And yes, later on, I’m going to say, please make sure you use one of these formats when you turn it in.

All right, we’re in week two. Day 12 is Checkpoint 2.3, support decoding of text, mathematical notation, and symbols. Because the directions for this activity are important for learners to understand correctly, I spent my 10 minutes today recording myself reading the directions out loud.

Let me back this up. And there we go. As a human voice alternative to the page text, there’s a link at the beginning of the page. It’s just brackets, “Hear me read this page.” And yes, I’ll have to rerecord this audio at the end of UDL-uary, after we make some more adjustments.

And here’s day 13, Checkpoint 2.1, clarify vocabulary and symbols. No, this isn’t the math course, but there are plenty of places where I can streamline the sentences while keeping the level of rigor and challenge high.

Notice how I combined objectives that had similar structures like, monitoring the scope, schedule, budget, risks. And I chopped down the dense paragraphs to be as spare and direct as possible. Your marketing folks do this all the time. It helps us, too.

The entire page is almost a third shorter, and it still has the same information. So the new stuff, the directions just say, “This activity prepares you for leading as a project manager without much prompting. Create a video proposal on camera or voiceover to lead a tech project, using your choice of composing, recording, and editing tools.”

I also shortened down all of the main questions that people have to answer. And at the very end, I shortened the directions. “Follow the activity checklist,” and I put a link, and “Use the Submit button at the top of the page.” So I took out an awful lot of words, without actually removing any of the material or content.

Now, on day 14 is Checkpoint 2.2, clarify syntax and structure. And now that the text is shorter, I actually have some space to add back some explicit mentions about the structure of the activity. I made the flow of the elements a required process and numbered them, so it’s more obvious that it’s an order to be followed. So you see text that says, “Follow the flow below,” and now instead of just bullet points, I’ve actually numbered, so people see that this is a sequence.

Day 15 is Checkpoint 8.1, heighten the salience of goals and objectives. One mark of understanding is being able to summarize or restate goals in one’s own words. I added a first objective to ask learners explicitly to incorporate this restating into their presentations.

Day 16 is Checkpoint 8.4, increase mastery-oriented feedback. In order to, quote, provide feedback that is frequent, timely, and specific, I tell my learners that they’ll get three waves of ungraded feedback from me before the final submission date. And at the bottom of the screen, you can see the new text, “Expect three pieces of ungraded feedback before the final due date. I’ll comment first on audience, then organization, and then your content.”

And there’s a question in the Q&A. “Will you send out the recording right after this session?” Our 3Play hosts are pretty on the ball about that, so that’s awesome. Thank you. All right, we’re almost done with this week. What day are we on? Sometimes, it feels like I don’t know what day it is in real life, so it’s appropriate that I get turned around in the presentation as well.

Day 17, Checkpoint 5.2, use multiple tools for construction and composition. The examples from CAST for this checkpoint, they’re kind of focused on K-12 learners, right? Things like provide sentence starters or sentence strips. Even for my college students in this activity, though, I can encourage learners to use various tools and supports while still limiting them to tools that our help desk also supports. So in the directions, I say, create a video using one of the composing, recording, and editing tools supported by our IT office. And I could have linked to a page with that as well.

Margaret’s asking, “Does that mean that students will be submitting work multiple times to allow you to give those three waves of feedback?” I’d like to see the students’ initial draft, yes, but I’m not commenting on everything.

In fact, my students can send a script of that draft in a text format and not a video, and I can say, yeah, this seems like it’s on the right way. I’ll be talking about the audience first, and then I might not ask them to submit anything else. And I’ll just give them feedback on organization and content, but in waves. So I’m actually reducing my workload and not making me have to stay up all night trying to give all that feedback all at once.

A couple of things coming in the Q&A. “How can we adopt this 31 days model to faculty development?” Ooh, that’ll be another webinar, so hang in there. That’s a great question. I haven’t actually thought about that a lot yet, but that makes me excited for what we can do with a model like this.

That was a quick week. Congratulations. Here we are at the end of week two of UDL-uary all the way to day 17. So let’s pause again, so you can think about what you’ve experienced so far. Of all the UDL checkpoints, which one seems to be the most practical, the best for learners, or the easiest for you to implement quickly?

So whatever your most is among days 11 through 17– you see them on the screen there, they’re grayed out on the UDL-uary calendar– communications, decoding, vocabulary and symbols, syntax and structure simplification, highlighting goals, giving mastery feedback, or giving people an option for composition.

We’ll put the two minutes on the clock again. And again, if you’d like to raise your hand, we’ll call on you at the end, and we can bring you on to the live microphone to share or ask questions. You can post something in chat, or you can just lurk and take notes for yourself. If you’re watching the recorded session, you might want to pause here and write down your ideas as well. I’m going to put that two minutes worth of music back on for you, and we’ll come back in two minutes.


All right, thank you everybody here on the live session for a little thinking and doing. I saw some questions going by in the Q&A section. I was able to respond to those individually. And remember, you can use the Raise Hand feature if you’d like to come on the microphone and share an idea. I don’t see anybody with a raised hand now, but that doesn’t stop us from keep going on that. So if you do have an idea, and you’d love to be on the live mic, you’re welcome to it.

Here are some of the responses that we’ve gotten. A lot of votes for mastery feedback. Suzanne says that. Michelle says that. She’s interested in the waves of feedback. She has students revise, but she thinks she overwhelms them with too much at once.

You know that mountain of grading that we’re all under, and we’re about to come into finals week, and suddenly, we’re up late at night cursing ourselves for giving so many assignments? We can actually undo that. We can actually say, I’m only going to give you a little piece now, and then we’ll wait four or five days, and I’ll give you another little piece. And students find that if they have one thing to fix rather than 17 things to fix, but they have 17 little one thing to fix things, that works much better for a lot of folks.

Shelly says, “Love the idea of giving feedback in waves.” So this one’s really touching a nerve for folks. This is great. It allows for very quick feedback to everyone, without raising the expectation that the first feedback will be comprehensive.

Renee’s voting for numbering and highlighting the goals. Joanne puts another check next to that mastery feedback. It’s so challenging to manage time-wise. I’ve actually found that it’s easier if I say ahead of time what I’m going to say on what days, or within so many days. And then I can actually go back to what I wrote down and told the students.

Suzanne talks about vocab and symbols– edit, edit, edit. Yeah, you can tell that one of my degrees is in English, and I love editing things down so that it is the most concise I can get it. I love to talk. I love to write, and my directions can read like a 19th century novel. It doesn’t do me any good, and it doesn’t do my students any good either. I love to edit my own stuff. And if that’s not a skill you’ve got, ask one of your friends and colleagues to come in and edit each other’s stuff. You’ll be much more ruthless with it.

Laurie says, “8.1 goals and objectives– always so important to help students understand how they’re connected to the assignments.” Rocio says, “Composition. I like the idea of giving students resources and ideas for the tools they can use.” Linda talks about syntax and structure, so chopping it down. So how they’re supposed to present gets lost in the cobwebs before they even got started. Bryan talks about syntax and structure. It seemed like a simple thing, but really helpful.

Kirk talks about streamlining the sentences, so we’ve got two big themes right now. Natalie says, allowing options for composition. Goal setting, says Cynthia. Aaron says, 2.2, edit and distill your assignments to their essentials. Tani says, “5.2 with the tech that the help desk can support, plus an example for students who aren’t familiar or comfortable with the tech, even still these days.” Yeah, nobody is born knowing how to use the technology, us or our students.

And we’ve got a bunch of other votes for the syntax and structure and for feedback and goals from Gizzy, from Nate, from Lonnie, from Michelle. Why is this important for you as a learner? Thomas says, “I’m about encouraging mastery. I happily allow students multiple opportunities, so we can both identify competency and talk about mastery.” Fantastic.

Tani says, “5.2 with the tech that the help desk can support.” Yep. And Julia says, “With a dyslexic daughter, I love reading the directions and attaching to the document. Her teachers never thought of that, but I’ll suggest it to them.” Awesome.

You’ve made it through week two. We’ve got two more weeks to go, and we’re still cranking in UDL-uary. Thank you for sticking with me.

Now, on your screen is that same set of directions, as it was on day 17. And here’s your day 18 change. Day 18, Checkpoint 5.3, build fluencies with graduated levels of support for practice and performance. In plain English for this checkpoint, I’m focused on providing differentiated models to emulate. That’s actually in the checkpoint. And I didn’t even have to make them. I asked two former students for permission to share their on-camera and voice over videos with future learners.

So where there’s the video sample, I put another one, and it says, “Videos– sample on-camera–” there’s a link– “and voiceover–” there’s a link– “submissions.” Just showing students what they can do with the content.

Day 19, Checkpoint 3.1, activate or supply background knowledge. In our chat just now, we talked about how not all of our students know how to do the things, right? So do all of my learners know how to create a video? That’s prior knowledge that needs to be activated, or it’s new knowledge that needs to be obtained.

So I returned to the start of this course, and I added a self-quiz in Unit 2, before my students ever got to this, several weeks before this activity on video creation with various tools, like mobile phones, web cameras, and video cameras. And so in the rose-colored box in the top right here, there’s a link back to that Unit 2 self-quiz on video creation tools and methods. I’m not assuming that my students have the skills that they need in order to do the thing.

Day 20 is Checkpoint 3.2, highlight patterns, critical features, big ideas, and relationships. And I think I already set up this checkpoint when I added the student examples. I put my own “What to watch for in these examples” text on the pages where those video samples are located. So hey, there’s a twofer. I just did two of the checkpoints with one technique. Awesome.

Day 21, Checkpoint 3.3, guide information processing and visualization. This checkpoint is also partially met, because I’ve provided, quote, explicit prompts for each step in a sequential process. I could also come back and look at making multiple entry points for getting started, as well as chunk up the activity into smaller sequential pieces. I’ve highlighted the six steps that students need to go through here in the directions.

We’ve got something coming through the Q&A here. “If the course is brand new,” the questioner asks, “would you make an on-camera and voiceover examples using yourself?” If it was brand new, yeah, I would probably put some of those samples together. So thank you for the good question there.

I also would ask a couple of my students if they wanted to try it out first, because student examples are always better than examples from me. My example is, quote unquote, perfect, and students don’t feel like they can deviate from it. A student example– I love putting up examples that are 90% of the way there, but maybe they do need to make some changes or could strengthen something. And I’ll comment on that, and that was Checkpoint 3.3.

So day 22– get that switched over here– this is Checkpoint 8.2, vary demands and resources to optimize challenge. Part of this checkpoint is to, quote, emphasize process, effort, improvement in meeting standards as alternatives to external evaluation and competition I created milestone deliverables along the way, so I can give that ungraded feedback on an outline, a draft, and then the final video.

Somebody asked earlier, if you’re going to give those three waves of feedback, do you have your students submit new things? I realized here on day 22, that I probably should have them submit different pieces as we’re going through. So on the bottom here where it says, “Follow the activity checklist,” the new content is submit an outline by this date, a draft by that date, and a final video by the final date.

And Michelle is saying in the chat, “Annotating an assignment sample for what meets the criteria and what could grow– 90% of the way there.” Love this, so thank you for the plus one on that idea.

OK, day 23, Checkpoint 8.3, foster collaboration and community. I could have created a group work rubric, or created a community of practice, but I only had 10 minutes. I added a work with a partner option for this activity. Done. So at the end of the the directions here, work by yourself or with a partner, your choice.

Now, day 24 is Checkpoint 6.1, guide appropriate goal setting. My go-to way, quote, to estimate effort, resources, and difficulty, is to provide a time estimate. Some of you have heard me say this before, but how do I know how much time it should take?

I do the activity, and then I add half again as much time. It took me 60 minutes to script, record, and edit my video, so I told my students, 90 minute time estimate for them. And right there at the beginning of the directions, it says, “Hear me read this page,” and it says, “This activity– estimated 90 minutes.” So time management is a big thing.

And wow, another week in UDL-uary is done, and we’re already here on day 24. So congratulations for sticking with it. And let’s pause, so you can think about what you’ve experienced so far. From the UDL checkpoints from this week, which one’s the most practical, the best for your learners, the easiest for you to do? We’ll do a little music play like we’ve done before. Again, you can just lurk and take notes for yourself.

If you’re watching the recording, pause here, and write down your ideas. You can post something into the chat, or you can use that Raise Hand feature, and we’ll bring you on to the live microphone. Here comes two minutes for a little thinking and doing.


Awesome. Welcome back. I’m looking at the participants list, and I don’t see any folks with a hand raised, but you’re welcome to do that and come on the live microphone anytime you like. And let’s take a look at what we’ve got in the chat– lots, and lots, and lots of votes for 3.1 in here, so 3.1 is supplying background knowledge. So just going forward in the class and saying, in week two, do you know how to do a video? Do you know how to actually create that? Here is background information.

And Linda is saying in the chat, “No way. I can’t pick. I want and need them all.” I do too, but even I am getting a little, hey, this is a lot to cover in only an hour and a half, and we still have a week to go. Keep in the back of your minds that maybe we don’t need to do absolutely everything for absolutely everything. And we’ll talk about that when we finish our UDL-uary month.

So we’ve got 3.1, supply background, says Sierra. Lonnie talks about fostering collaboration with 8.3. Suzanne says, 3.1. Everam thinks that today’s students are all tech savvy. But as an instructional technologist and faculty member, I can say that’s not true, not even all of our Gen Z folks.” And yeah, no matter when you were born, you don’t come out fully formed knowing how to work machinery or technology.

Kirk talks about 8.3, providing an opportunity to foster collaboration. We can do this in person, or virtually. Notice that I took the easy way out, and I just said, pair up or work on your own, but there’s lots of different ways we could do that. Aaron also talks about 3.1 and 8.2, supplying background and varying the demands– both good examples of scaffolding.

Danny says, [INAUDIBLE] ideas and relationships, novice versus expert knowledge themes for 3.1 and 3.2. Alan talks about providing examples of work from former students as a good idea, so we’re underscoring some things that we actually did in previous weeks and sort of redid or underlined in this week. Shelly talks about supplying background takes us to another spot in the course. Not everything can be fixed in an isolated way. Well spoken there.

Anna talks about 3.1, supplying background. Bryan says, “Foster collaboration, especially to engage the students, but you may have some of the negatives associated with group projects.” That’s why I like to give my students a choice about whether they work on their own, or they work together, or they work in small groups, what have you.

Joshua says, “Is there somewhere I can see the list he’s referencing in the calendar?” If you take a look at the handout, there’s actually links in the handout. And I’ll ask our colleagues from 3Play, if you have those links to the handout and to the visuals, post those in the chat again for me would you, please. Suzanne talks about establishing patterns to create good habits.

Michelle says I’m hovering between 6.1 and 3.1, the time estimate and the self-quiz, especially about tech skills. We can’t assume all students have experience as content creators. Rocio talks about patterns, sample submissions, comments on the most important aspects, what can be improved.

And we’ve got lots of other folks talking about 8.3 and 3.1, Laurie talking about 8.3. John– “By week three, we’re honing in or just further strengthening things that were addressed in previous weeks. This would make me feel pretty accomplished.” You should. You should pat yourself on the back, if you’ve been doing all of this for 10 minutes a day. Fantastic.

Susan is talking about 6.1 for goal setting. Oh, and Pari is interpreting Joshua’s question in a different way for me. “Is there a way that we can see all 31 of these checkpoints?” We’ll actually take a look at them at the end of our time here today. And that’s one of our goals for today. And that’s at UDLguidelines.cast.org. If somebody wants to throw that actual link in the chat, I’d love it.

Joanne says, “My students really appreciate the time estimates. They’re willing to work hard, but it can be hard to figure out exactly what ‘work hard’ entails.” I love it. And Michelle posted the UDL guidelines in there too. So cool deal. Thank you, everybody. And Margaret says, “I feel just coming up with each of these ideas might take me the whole 10 minutes.” And Alan says, “What about strategies for student to instructor interaction?”

Funny you should ask that, because we’ve got one week left. Here we go. Day 25, Checkpoint 6.2, support planning and strategy development. Too often, the only responding voice on student work is mine. I added a “show and explain your work” element. So once everyone has submitted, we’ll do a gallery walk among the videos that everyone’s produced and invite explanations of everyone’s processes.

So at the end of the instruction, it says, we’ll share and critique at the end. If this were an online course, I’d ask everybody to post their video along with a little introduction or explanation in text. If this were a face-to-face course, I would make time for people to share their videos, and look at them ahead of time, and then come in with a critique in the live class.

Day 26, Checkpoint 3.4, maximize transfer and generalization. I designed this activity to help learners applying new knowledge about project leadership to their existing knowledge of their workplaces. So I just made that explicit in the directions and the activity checklist. In number two here it says, how will you organize, initiate, and tie back to existing knowledge?

Day 27 is 2.5, illustrate through multiple media. Check this out. Part of this checkpoint is to, quote, present key concepts in one form of symbolic representation with an alternative form. Now, I double-checked to make sure that the sample videos and my “what to watch for” text that accompanies them actually match up with the text of the activity directions. I’ve got my plus one format already. Check this one off the list.

Then day 28, Checkpoint 2.4, promote understanding across languages. Now this one took a call to my IT partners, but I was able to get them to turn on a language translation function in the learning management system. Every web page now has a Translate Me tool available, including this one.

Day 29, Checkpoint 9.1, promote expectations and beliefs that optimize motivations. To help my learners focus less on the grade and more on the process and the learning, I made it explicit that I’d like them to use my milestone feedback to form reflective purposes. If I had more than 10 minutes, I’d increase, quote, the frequency of self-reflection and self-reinforcements, both within this activity and along the path of the course. But I took the 10-minute version on this one. So down here at the bottom of the screen, it says, “There’s new information. Expect three pieces of ungraded self-reflection feedback from me.”

And we’ve got a question in here. Just curious what LMS do you use? This one was Canvas, but I know that most of what I’m talking about with system administrators, because I was one, work in Blackboard and in Desire to Learn. Sakai and Moodle I can’t really speak to myself, but thank you very much for the question.

All right, so we’re getting close. Let’s see. Now, day 29, day 30, Checkpoint 9.3, develop self-assessment and reflection. So following on from last day, day 29, I added an expectation for my own behavior, committing to get feedback to learners within three days of each milestone piece of the activity. That way, they, quote, get feedback that supports understanding progress in a manner that is understandable and timely. So I just made my own behaviors explicit.

And day 31, Checkpoint 6.4, enhance capacity for monitoring progress. This last UDL change is perhaps the most powerful of all the checkpoints. I asked my learners to show representations of progress by moving from outline, to draft, to a final video. And you see that highlighted in the final part of the directions here. They can note what has changed over time. They can see the work, effort, and ideas that went into their new learning.

So let’s do one last wrap-up. Here is the UDL-uary month on your screen, and now all of the weeks are grayed out. We’ve taken a look at all of them. I’ll put two minutes on the clock, and we’ll ask one last question about this final week of UDL-uary– 6.2, strategy and planning, 3.4, maximizing transfer, 2.5, representation in multiple media, 2.4, representing multiple languages, 9.1, helping people set self expectations, 9.3, helping them to reflect on their learning process, and 6.4, monitoring progress. Here comes two minutes of music.


And you notice that the music is getting a little funkier as we get here toward the end. I saw a question in the Q&A from Susan. She says, “For maximizing transfer, do you find students new to higher education have more difficulty seeing the connection to other subjects or future career skills?”

Absolutely, they do. And so being able to make those connections or, even better, asking my current students to record their thoughts about how they make those connections, the students who do have those experiences, those skills, those backgrounds, helping other people to say, oh, here’s how you think about it.

I work at a university where we admit the best and the brightest. It’s a big flagship university. I used to work at a university where we admitted everybody, and we worked with lots of first-generation learners, who didn’t have models at home for, quote unquote, how to be a student.

And let’s take a look at what people are saying here in the chat. I’m looking at the participants list. We don’t have any hands up just yet, so no worries on that. Danny says, “Maximize transfer, 9.1, self expectations.” Let’s see. Lonnie’s voting for 2.4, 9.1, 9.3, and 6.4. A lot of us are saying these are all essential, and that’s actually– can I say this one out loud– that’s actually a trap. Trying to do everything all at once? Even this month feels like it’s been kind of a slog, right?

Let’s see. Lida says, “Love the language options. I’m going to have to look into turning that on.” Suzanne talks about illustrate through multiple media. “Students are always asking me for different examples.” Cecilia talks about multiple languages. And Michelle says, “We’re Canvas users, so I’ll definitely be asking about multiple languages.”

Be aware, too, that the artificial intelligence language translation is not 100% complete [INAUDIBLE]. But Renee says, multiple languages. Nate talks about monitoring progress, keeping everyone on the same page, and promoting transparency.

Let’s see. Bryan says, “Monitoring and documenting progress gets my vote.” Let’s see. Michelle says, “In the breakdown of tasks, why wait to the end to get feedback?” By the way, you’ve been giving me feedback all the way through our webinar, so thank you, everybody– and especially ungraded feedback that removes so much stress. And Lisa talks about, “I do my best to maximize transfer and monitor progress, although according to the CAST graphic organizer, 6.4 visually comes before 3.4.”

And this is one of the challenges with the way that the CAST model actually shows these 31 checkpoints is, it can feel like you have to do them in some kind of order. And here, as we wrap up– we’ve got about 15 minutes left here– I’d like to ask you to go and vote now. It’s time to do a little voting, as you noted your mosts over the past little while, which engagement strategy, the green ones on the calendar on your screen, which representation strategies that are in purple or lilac, and which action and expression strategies, highlighted in blue, stood out as your most items?

Now, we’ll share a poll, and I’ll put this into the chat as well. It’s at bit.ly/31Days, capital D, underscore, Poll, capital P-O-L-L. And we’ll take about 90 seconds for the poll to roll here. I’m going to switch over to the poll view, and we’ll see which three come out.

And somebody’s asking, where did you find your music? I love it. This is Kevin MacLeod from incompetech.com, and I’ll post that in the chat here. Little side note that he does Creative Commons licensed music. So as long as we give him credit, this stuff, you can use it as background music or incidental music, and it won’t get flagged for copyright challenges.

So take a look at that poll. I’d love you to answer, which are the three that you would love to see a deeper dive on? Yeah, let me just do a new share and flip over to that poll, and it looks like it’s rolling through live. We’ve got four folks out of our 150-some, so come on over to the poll. The link is in the chat. I’ll put it into the chat again. You can just follow that link.

And so we’ve got engagement checkpoints, representation checkpoints, action and expression checkpoints. And a couple of people are posting into the chat, “I voted.” So I don’t have those “I voted” stickers like when you actually go to the polling booth, but thank you, everybody.

And Julia says, “The poll is blocked by our IT folks.” Boo! They’re blocking Google polls. That’s not right. Well, no worries on that. And we’ll hope that some of our colleagues give you a response there.

We’ll leave this poll open for about another minute, let’s say, just give everybody a chance to really look through. And there’s a lot to take a look at in that poll, so take your time, and vote for your favorites. And we’ll take a look at these ones together as we go.

So far, so good. We’re going to wrap up the poll in just a second here. And while you’re voting there, I’m going to put this web link in the chat. This is where you can find the Universal Design for Learning Guidelines from CAST, the neuroscientists who put them together.

And at this website with the guidelines, this is where you can scroll down and find all of those guidelines. And what we’re going to do today is, we’re going to take a look at three of them, and we’ll do a little bit of a deeper dive about how we can use these in higher education. So let’s talk about engagement first. It looks like 7.1 is right there in the lead– optimize individual choice and autonomy.

So let’s switch over to the guidelines, and let’s go into 7.1, optimize individual choice and autonomy. I’m going to click on that guideline, and it takes me to a page that talks about what to do with it. And it also has the research behind why this is actually effective. So your screen might flicker around as I move here, but it says, “Optimize individual choice and autonomy,” on your screen now.

And it’s often inappropriate to provide choice for the learning objective itself. We don’t ask students, hey, what do you want to learn today? But it’s often appropriate to offer choice in how those objectives can be reached in the context for achieving them. And so we offer learners with as much discretion and autonomy as possible by providing choices in the level of perceived challenge.

This is what people think about when they think wrongly about making accommodations or lowering barriers. They think that we’re dumbing down the content, and we shouldn’t. But we should help people to understand, here’s the simple way to think about something, even if it is complex. We started this entire webinar by talking about simple displays of complex information.

The type of rewards or recognition available– some of your students are motivated by the grade. Some of your students are motivated by curiosity. Some of your students are motivated by the fact that what you’re teaching has an impact on their daily or personal lives or their families. So give your students more than one way to get hooked in, and talk about your own personal story or the way that you would approach the activity that you’re having them do from a professional standpoint, because you are a professional in your field.

The context or content used for practicing and assessing skills– make sure that the examples you’re using are ones that students are probably going to run across in their real practice as practitioners in the field. If you’re teaching a course that is general skills, and your students are not going to become English professors or mathematicians, still give them ideas that help them to relate things back to their existing knowledge.

I’ll go down here to color design or graphics of layouts. Give people information in ways that they can control what they see. We did this entire webinar on, really, a bunch of text. And the reason for that is that is easily manipulable by our students. Yes, there are some graphic elements in there, like the progress bar, but there’s more than one way for people to engage with it.

And then the sequence or timing for completing subcomponents of tasks– so allowing your learners to turn in something within a time frame, rather than here’s a hard due date, and you may not turn anything in beyond that. Before we go back to the other two pieces here, let me check. There’s some ideas in the chat.

Thomas said, “Several years ago, I started a digital badging program, which really motivates students in a different way than grades ever could.” So wherever you can help students with that intrinsic motivation, cool deal.

Representation– this one, by a whopping margin, 1.1, offer ways of customizing the display. Let’s go back and take a look at 1.1. So offer ways of customizing the display– this is a lot of stuff that is actually built into your learning management system or the application that you’re using for your learning interactions. And not a lot of people know about the tools.

A few folks said, hey, I was surprised that Control + and Control – can increase or decrease the font size on a web page. I’m doing that for you right now. So if I hit Control +, I go up to 175%. If I hit Control -, I go back to 150%. So this text is bigger, so you can see it on the smaller screen if you happen to be on your mobile device coming into this webinar.

So display information in a flexible format so that people can change the size of text, images, tables, and other visual content on their own. Most of what we put into our learning management system actually follows this. But if you post a PDF that’s just like a photocopy image of the text, that’s not something that people can work with or change.

So that they can change colors used, or contrast, the volume or the rate of speech in a recording– a lot of the tools that we use, if you post a video out to YouTube, how many of us look at or listen to the recordings at 1.5 or even 2 times the normal speed, and we’re still able to follow along? So this is not just an accommodation for people who have disability barriers, it’s an accommodation for those of us who have learning preferences in the moment, or who are just strapped for time.

How can they change the layout of visual or other elements or the font used for print materials? So there’s lots of different ways. And take a look with your learning management system sysadmins and your IT people, and ask them about what kinds of controls learners and you have in the systems that you all use. So that’s a little bit of a deeper dive there.

And for action and expression, lots of people voting for lots of things. The one that came out the most here is 5.3, build fluency with graduated levels of practice. Let’s do a deep dive quickly on 5.3.

Graduated levels of support for practice and performance– so we often talk about scaffolding for our students, but fluency is built up through providing differentiated models to emulate. In the example that I gave to all of you, I asked my students to share models of someone on camera and someone doing voiceover. And then I put my own comments to those things so that people can show, here are models that show the same outcome, but they use different strategies or approaches.

Provide differentiated mentors like teachers or tutors who use different approaches to motivate, guide, or inform. I didn’t actually do this one. This one’s really neat, though, because if they don’t get it by listening to your lecture or your idea, show a colleague’s recording of the same content. Or ask them to get in touch with your tutoring center, and ask them the same questions. They’re bound to get a different answer that provides them the same kind of goal but a different path to walk through.

Provide scaffolds that can be gradually released with increasing independence and skills. I do this not only between classes– here’s lots of scaffolding for my freshmen, a little less for my sophomores, and by the time they’re seniors, I trust that they’re going to do what they need to do– but also within the content that they’re working on. So I want to help my students to be able to take on more responsibility, more of their own work as they go along.

And the last one here, provide multiple examples of novel solutions to authentic problems– especially if the cases we’re bringing to our students are things that people are actually using in the real world. And I call up my friends who’ve gotten jobs in industry, and I say, what are you working on now? Can you give it to me, and I’ll change some of the details so it’s not identifiable?

Those are the kinds of problem sets that, when I’m teaching in an educational technology course, I’m teaching my beginning writers in my freshman composition course, or I’m teaching an information science course, those are the kinds of examples that really resonate for folks, and multiple ways to solve it. Yes, if I’m teaching a mathematics course, oftentimes, there’s only one right way to move through it. But I made it up to Calculus II, and I can tell you, even math has lots of different paths in it– so fantastic.

Thank you, everybody, for the votes on these. I’m going to go back into the other visuals here. And we’ve looked at all of those checkpoints that received the most votes, and we did a fuller explanation as some jumping off points. On your screen is a podium with first place, second place, third place, and some question marks on it. But to close us out for today, I have to ask an important question.

On your screen is a photo of me smiling in a suit, then an equals sign, and then a photo of the bodybuilder, Charles Atlas, flexing his muscles, and then a question mark. I don’t mean to ask whether I am like Charles Atlas in the bodybuilding sense. Now, I’m fit, but I’m not that fit. Rather, remember those ads from the backs of comic books at the beginning of our session where we talked about how the easy results in just a month approach wasn’t always fully truthful? Am I holding something back, or trying to make UDL sound easier than it is? Well, yes-ish.

My 31 Days of UDL concept, as you can see in this animation playing all of the changes I made to my sample activity instructions, it’s a splendid way to get our brains around the various checkpoints and actions that we can take in order to lower barriers for our learners using UDL. Here’s where I’m not like Charles Atlas or the people selling sea monkeys.

My approach isn’t a shortcut. The order in which I applied the checkpoints is not the only or best way to use them. Heck, there were a lot of checkpoints that I didn’t really need to apply. And I might need a different set, if I were working on a different piece of content or a different interaction. Oh, and did you notice that I didn’t do the most common UDL change– adding a word processed option of the activity as an alternative to the video format?

Now, my big message here is, everyone, it’s useful for us to dive into the details, if only to experience them, prioritize our actions, and then plan what we want to do with the time that we have available. So I probably won’t be placing an ad for UDL-uary in the back of any comic books anytime soon.

And Susan says in the chat, “So the February version of UDL-uary is something to think about.” Yeah. But you can be the first kid on your block to spread the word that knowing the 31 checkpoints of UDL actually helps us to choose where to apply our efforts toward lowering barriers, increasing equity, and saving our learners and us time and effort.

So now, on your screen is one last nod to the comic books. Spider-Man and Loki sit with their legs dangling over the edge of a high rooftop somewhere in New York City. They’re holding hot dogs in paper napkins and drinks in plastic cups with lids and straws. This is takeaway food that I hope puts you in mind of what you’ll take away from this session.

Now that you’ve been part of our conversation, what is one thing that you will take away and try out, whether it’s an idea or a practice? Now, we won’t play any music for this lightning round wrap-up. Just please share one thing in the chat feature that you’ll take away from our time together, and I’ll repeat as many of them as I can. What’s your one big takeaway from our session today?

I’ll wait a second for some of them to come in here, give you a couple of seconds to think and do. Pari says, simplify. Susan, coping skills. Aaron– “I’m going to do a voice recording of assignment instructions for my final project.” Tommy– “Continuing to work with faculty on phase one of a few changes, and then continuous improvement with further changes.” Margaret– “Tiny progress is progress.” I often talk about talking about progress over perfection.

Becky says, “There are many things I can look at and think, I can’t believe I’m not already doing this.” That’s analysis paralysis. Start with one thing, and come back around when you have more time. This was a one-month sprint of 10 minutes each. I would never encourage anybody to do exactly what we just did. Do a few things that are useful for you in the time that you have.

Michelle says, “Like the plus-one concept, I can start small and still have great results.” Yeah. Cecilia says, coping skills. Suzanne says, “I’ll probably take the approach of just one thing to try to encourage the faculty I work with to make UDL changes.” She says, “It’ll hopefully be their gateway drug.” I’m not sure I would use that analogy, but awesome idea.

Lorna says, “Provide multiple options and choice.” Brian Miller says, “There are so many ways teaching can be improved.” Anna talks about learner choice. Natalie says, autonomy and choices. Laurie says, “Keeping in mind that plus-one approach to take away the complexity, even though we know the complexity is available and there.”

Lonnie says, “Thank you for the information provided. I’d love to see a webinar facilitated by you for faculty and staff. You provide the information in a non-threatening way that faculty will appreciate. I always enjoy your presentations.” Thank you, Lonnie, for the positive feedback on this one.

By the way, Lonnie is mentioning something. Our folks from 3Play would love to hear about your experiences. They’re going to post a link to a rating survey here in a couple of seconds. I’d love it if you would take three minutes and let us know what your experience was like.

Mary’s takeaway– offering multiple options and choices for access. Alan says, “I’m encouraged that our institution is doing a lot of this already.” Sierra says, “Start somewhere, and you don’t have to do it all at once.”

Jessica says, “I cannot possibly choose. Meanwhile, I’ve already alerted all of my colleagues to prepare themselves for when this video comes on demand.” Pari says, “Voice, choice, and agency for the students.” Linda talks about, this webinar gave me a huge confidence push in designing future courses. Fantastic.

Audrey says, “Just do it, even if it’s one thing at a time.” And Lonnie says, “8.3, giving students the option of working with a partner or on their own.” Paula talks about avoid analysis paralysis. Just encourage one step at a time.

Julia talks about helping students see how to get where they’re going and help draw them in. And Nate talks about a lot of great ideas, and my mind is spinning on incorporating this in a corporate environment. Nate, I spent seven years in the learning and design arm of Blue Cross and Blue Shield in the insurance industry. I can help you do that, too.

So really cool ideas. Thank you for all of your takeaways. I hope that you found value in our time together today, and you’ll take a moment to share your rating of our session in a minute.

If you’d like to continue the conversation, I’d love to hear from you. I speak and consult on issues of quality in education and training where technology is used to support or to host our learning interactions. You can find me on Twitter, @ThomasJTobin, and my website is just thomasjtobin.com. There on the screen is a picture of me, some of the books I’ve published, and my website, and my Twitter handle.

So our folks from 3Play have posted the rating survey in the chat. Please take a moment to do that one. And thank you very much, whether you’ve been on the live call or you’re watching the recording, for being part of this session. Thanks to our hosts at 3Play Media for inviting me to work with you all, and be sure to check out 3PlayMedia.com to find more events, services, and help in lowering access barriers for your learners.

Thanks a bunch. This was fantastic. I’m going to turn it back over to Elisa for some closing comments.

ELISA LEWIS: Thank you so much, Tom, for a wonderful and engaging presentation, as usual. And thank you so much to the audience. Your active participation and questions make it really valuable for everyone and really enjoyable.

I did throw that link to the survey for feedback in the chat window, and I will do so again before hopping off. Just a final reminder that you will receive an email with a link to the recording, slide deck, and handouts. That should be in your inbox tomorrow. And a couple of people have asked if they’re able to share that with colleagues. Please do. We’re happy to have you share it out.

And with that, we hope that we’ll see you on the next webinar. And we thank everyone, again, for joining this afternoon. Have a great rest of the day.

TOM TOBIN: Bye, everybody.