It’s now been a year since I posted an update on this project. The past 16-months of remote learning at the college have required the full focus of everyone in eLearning, and all special projects and professional development plans have been on pause for over a year. Thankfully, we are in a much better place now and this has allowed me – at long last! – to return The UDL Project and pick up Phase 2 from where we left off in March of 2020.
Current state & next steps.
In March 2020, our Phase 2 project team had just wrapped the last of our Sharing Circles with students and closed the online survey option for anonymous contributions. We collected many stories, experiences, and suggestions from students in the Circles and from the survey, but had not begun to analyze and organize this data before all the disruptions of 2020.
The mass move to remote learning in 2020 served to highlight some of the very barriers that students shared with us in Circle. Not least among these was that post-secondary systems became vividly aware that students don’t have equal access to technology or the internet. My feeling is that if nothing else, 2020 validated stories about barriers to access that students shared with us before the pandemic hit.
This month, I have begun to review the data we collected last year. I am currently in the early stages of organizing everything we collected into 4 accessibility-related themes: Physical, Cognitive & Comprehension, Financial, and Infrastructure. I will then begin to explore the connections between these accessibility-related barriers to inclusion, and where the pro-active application of Universal Design for Learning guidelines could assist. In addition to UDL, I will also be drawing on the principles of Universal Design, and the technical accessibility standards of WCAG 2.1.
Beginning this fall, I will get to work on the Learning Tool we had planned to create during Phase 2 last year.