Universal design for instruction: Understanding faculty practices and needs
Originally published in Gauisus: Selected scholarship on teaching and learning at Illinois State University, 2004-2009.
The purposes of this short report are to describe key principles of UDL and UDI and to describe the findings of a pilot survey study that focused on faculty members practices and needs in the areas of UDL/UDI. Limited previous research is available related to faculty perceptions of UDI/UDL in higher education settings. One exception is a study conducted by Vreeburg-Izzo, Murray, and Novak (2008). Vreeburg-Izzo et al. conducted a survey, coupled with follow-up focus groups, with faculty and graduate teaching assistants that examined the (a) climate of instructional settings for students with disabilities, and (b) perceived needs for professional development among faculty and administrators related to providing educational access for all students. Of the 1,150 survey instruments distributed, 271 were completed and returned. Results from the survey indicated that participants were primarily interested in training on UDL but also expressed interested in training on Web accessibility and distance education. Subsequent focus groups revealed that faculty (a) often felt uncertain about meeting the needs of diverse students in the classroom; (b) employed several strategies to enhance teaching and learning, but did not connect this to UDL; and (c) desired both training and technical assistance to help promote educational access for all students.