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October 28, 2015

Towson’s Universal Design for Learning Professional Development Network

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) 
is a set of principles for curriculum development that give all individuals equal opportunities to learn. UDL provides a blueprint for creating instructional goals, methods, materials, and assessments that work for everyone--not a single, one-size-fits-all solution but rather flexible approaches that can be customized and adjusted for individual needs (CAST, 2012). UDL is included in COMAR and Maryland’s Teacher Technology Standards.

The Office of Academic Innovation sponsors the UDL Professional Development Network (UDL-PDN). UDL-PDN is a campus-wide, multidisciplinary project that brings faculty together in professional learning communities (PLCs) for exploring the UDL guidelines and principles and applying them to their own teaching. PLC members work together in small groups to explore advances in the learning sciences and flexible curricular materials in order to develop a deep understanding of UDL and its application to instruction in higher education.

There are currently 5 PLCS that engage a total of 50 faculty drawn from all 6 colleges at Towson University. PLCs are led by trained Towson faculty coaches who meet regularly with their PLCs throughout the academic year to share and discuss information about UDL and create modifications or new components for their courses. These components run the gamut from revisions of course syllabi, readings, activities, quizzes and exams, to more complex multimedia objects that can be used in face-to-face courses, blended courses, and fully online. In short, the possibilities are endless!

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