Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework designed by Rose and Meyer (2000) “to improve and optimize teaching and learning for all people based on scientific insights into how humans learn”. It is essential that any effort in course-design take the UDL principles into consideration in order to reach all learners. When translated to practical pedagogical practices, this calls for “allowing multiple ways for students to access, process, and represent their learning. (Katz and Sokal, 2016).

At SHU, we are working toward understanding the UDL principles and applying them to instructional design, teaching, and assessment practices. This section provides examples of UDL applications from the SHU classroom.

Rose, D. (2000). Universal design for learning. Journal of Special Education Technology, 15(4), 47-51.

Katz, J., & Sokal, L. (2016). Universal Design for Learning as a Bridge to Inclusion: A Qualitative Report of Student Voices. International Journal of Whole Schooling, 12(2).

How to Use the Annotation Tool Diigo for Critical Analysis

One simple technique to apply the Universal Design for Learning principles when creating videos is to include closed captioning as a feature into the video-creation process. The video on the right was created to provide step-by-step guidelines on how to use the annotation tool called Diigo for critical reading. We built the captions for this video manually once the entire video was finalized. Building captions in video is neither a new concept nor a radical pedagogical approach. However, it can still be a very effective UDL method that is easily achievable to strengthen learning. The work of Dallas, McCarthy and Long (2016) shows the educational benefits of using closed captioning in undergraduate education.


Dallas, B. K., McCarthy, A. K., & Long, G. (2016). Examining the Educational Benefits of and Attitudes toward Closed Captioning among Undergraduate Students. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 16(2), 50-65.

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