Universal Design for Learning in Online Classes: A Study of Systemic Implementation in Wisconsin Technical Colleges
Chapko, Nancy A.
University of Wisconsin--Stout
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Applied to the online learning environment, Universal Design for Learning (UDL) strategies proactively provide for learner variability by expecting and accepting learner diversity. This study explored how selected Wisconsin technical colleges facilitated systemic change to implement UDL strategies in online courses. Using a qualitative approach, data was collected from curriculum and instructional support staff at selected colleges. Face-to-face, semi-structured interviews were conducted, electronically recorded, and transcribed. Data was analyzed and categorized to identify common themes. Enhanced student performance and satisfaction provided impetus for systemic implementation of UDL strategies in online courses. Processes to sustain the systemic implementation of UDL strategies had not been implemented in any of the colleges suggesting that systemic implementation is gradual and adaptive to the environment. Analysis of data revealed common themes. Lack of time to implement, lack of context within the organization, faculty resistance, and the inability to use technology to achieve a desired result were identified as barriers. Professional collaboration, faculty as change agents, and effective use of technology were identified as facilitating factors. Elements of UDL may be present within an institution, but without a common language, there is unlikely to be shared vision inspiring collaboration and ultimately systemic implementation of UDL strategies.