National Forum Open Badge logo for the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) open course. The different colours in the logo indicate the course mappings to the National Professional Development Framework.
Today, 26 members of the Hibernia College community will begin participation in the national roll out of the Digital Badge for Universal Design in Teaching and Learning. The ten-week course has been developed by the Association for Higher Education Access and Disability (AHEAD) and University College Dublin (UCD) Access and Lifelong Learning. It is part of the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning’s open access digital badge initiative and will support the College in further implementing universal design principles for inclusivity and equity.
Supporting Diverse Learners
Hibernia College has a shared commitment across the College to Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and to the AHEAD Charter for Inclusive Teaching and Learning. As an educational framework based on cognitive science, UDL provides multiple means of engagement, representation and action and expression to learning environments to support diverse learners. We are committed to facilitating inclusive learning experiences that help learners of all abilities to be successful.
After completing the course in the 2020 national roll out, the College’s Quality Assurance and Enhancement (QAE) Manager Ruth Ní Bheoláin reflected on her experiences in the National Forum’s eZine, focusing on the opportunity it provided to take stock of current practice and where to focus future efforts: ‘The reflective and redesign activities in the UDL course gave me the opportunity to critically assess my own practice and see where I was implementing good UDL practice already, and where I should focus future enhancements.’
The UDL Badge course consists of four components: webinars, self-paced online modules, peer group meetings and a UDL redesign activity. Participants will engage in online modules, resources and discussions with peers about UDL theory and principles. They will then implement UDL into a relevant teaching activity and report on their experiences. Following the course, Hibernia College aims to become a facilitator to train colleagues within the College in the UDL framework.
Engaging with the National Professional Development Framework
All National Forum open courses are mapped to the National Professional Development Framework. Through this course, participants are engaging in a structured professional development activity informed by values of inclusivity, authenticity, scholarship, learner-centredness and collaboration. The UDL Badge is underpinned by the Framework’s three professional development domains: Personal and Professional Digital Capacity, Professional Knowledge and Skills, and Professional Communication and Dialogue.
As an educational institution, Hibernia College engages in reflective practice for continuous learning. Participants of the UDL Badge course embody this spirit of reflexive growth and development. We look forward to gaining from their learning about universal design and sharing these benefits with all our students.