Note: Audio transcript is located below.
Shinae Jang is an Associate Professor in Residence and Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Teaching statics and other classes, she always strives to find a way to make learning more accessible in her curriculum. Luckily, that isn’t too difficult when following the framework of Universal Design for Learning.
UDL is “a framework to improve and optimize teaching and learning for all people based on scientific insights into how humans learn.” As the founders of UDL explain on their website, the three most important components of this framework are: engagement, representation, and action and expression.
In her courses, Professor Jang utilizes a number of interventions in the UDL framework to include a diverse array of learning styles. In the area of representation of information, she tries to make information as accessible as possible. “All the files are accessible, so that students can read and listen at the same time as needed. I adapted a digital textbook with the same reason and I use captions for all pre-recorded videos.”
In the area of action and expression, students can find a multitude of ways to communicate their knowledge of what is taught in the course. One of the projects that Professor Jang presents is a music video about statics. In other cases, students can produce creative drawings of a concept and then present it along an accompanying report. Professor Jang also engaged students by letting them customize a project based on their own strengths, like painting or narrative building. This often ties in with engagement because when students are given multiple routes as to how they can proceed, they can be more motivated in the course.
The INCLUDE project has also been a learning experience for professors. Professor Jang briefly describes what that learning experience has been like. “It's kind of a team effort to kind of transform our department to that direction. Within that direction, we are attending a lot of workshops and training and many, many discussions and then that mechanism and that process kind of transformed me into a different person.”
Listen to more of Professor Jang's interview and story below.
With the implementation of the UDL framework in classes, students are sure to benefit from the increased accommodation of a wide range of learning styles.