Universal design is an approach to designing course
instruction, materials, and content to benefit people of all learning styles
without adaptation or retrofitting. Universal design provides equal access to
learning, not simply equal access to information. Universal Design allows the
student to control the method of accessing information while the teacher
monitors the learning process and initiates any beneficial methods.
- Students with disabilities
- Students who speak English as a second language
- International students
- Older students
- A teacher whose teaching style is inconsistent
with the student’s preferred learning style
- All students
of University Design:
- Fluctuate instructional methods, provide
illustrations, handouts, auditory and visual aids.
- Put course content on-line allowing students to
“pick up” material that might have been missed in lecture.
- Use peer mentoring, group discussions, and cooperative
learning situations rather than strictly lecture.
- Using guided notes enables students to listen
for essential concepts without copying notes off of overhead.
- Update course materials based on current events
and student demands.
- Provide comprehensive syllabus with clearly
identified course requirements, accommodation statement and due dates.
- Clarify any feedback or instructions, ask for
questions, and repeat or give additional examples.
- Relate a new topic to one already learned or a
- Allow a student to tape record lectures or
provide him/her with a copy of your notes.
- Allow the student to demonstrate knowledge of
the subject through alternate means.
- Permit and encourage the use of adaptive
- Develop study guides.
- Give more frequent exams that are shorter in
This section adapted
from the Partnership Grant through Ohio
Creating Accessible PDFs: