The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light long-standing inequities in the educational access that students with disabilities face in university settings. In addition, for many students, disability is only one dimension of marginalization. Challenges to educational access can also be compounded by race, socio-economic status, gender, sexuality, and citizenship. As we continue to navigate teaching and learning during the pandemic, some persistent questions endure. How can we more meaningfully address the diverse needs of students with disabilities at both the undergraduate and graduate levels? How can we draw on lessons learned from remote learning to help create more universally accessible learning spaces for students?
This working group is an invitation to action for Graduate Student Instructors (GSIs) across campus. Given the vital role that GSIs play in shaping classroom culture, developing community, and building relationships with students at UC Berkeley, GSIs are in a meaningful position to promote Universal Design for Learning (UDL). UDL is an approach to teaching and learning intended to analyze and remove barriers to access in order to provide students with equal opportunity to succeed in the classroom. UDL changes the conversation on inclusion of students with varying needs and disabilities from one focused primarily on the implementation of mandatory accommodations, to a flexible and thoughtful approach to designing classroom environments that are more accessible for all students.
This working group will provide a space for GSIs from across campus to come together and co-construct a deeper understanding of UDL. Participants in the working group will engage in three stages of development with their expertise on UDL: a) explore UDL as a conceptual framework, b) apply knowledge of UDL to the design of learning activities in the fall 2022 semester, and c) implement learning activities and develop resources through a UDL lens.
Working group participants will
- Engage with a variety of resources (articles, podcasts, videos) to explore and build new learning around UDL
- Share your ideas and connect with other GSIs who share a commitment to designing inclusive learning environments
- Self-reflect on ways to further develop your practice through a UDL lens
- Engage in regular coaching sessions with a facilitator to help develop an action plan for UDL implementation
- Gain tools and approaches to start to try out aspects of UDL in practice
- Share work samples and resources from application of UDL to your instruction as a GSI and receive feedback from working group members
- Contribute to UDL resources that can be used campus-wide
Working group goals
- Create a community of practice for GSIs who seek to develop or enhance their skills in implementing UDL and increasing accessibility in their classroom teaching
- Collaboratively develop best practices for GSIs across campus with an opportunity for working group members to serve as UDL ambassadors within their departments
- Attendance at bi-monthly (every two weeks) sessions beginning in Summer 2022 (week of July 5) and concluding at the end of the Fall 2022 term (December 9, 2022)
- Facilitation of one session
- Active contribution to the exploration and development of UDL resources
If interested, please fill out this application form.