Each year, the Center for Teaching graduate fellows design and facilitate workshops as part of their work with the Center. In this Q&A series, we’ll feature each fellow, focusing on the process behind developing their workshops and the strategies presented in them.  

Ryan Stoldt, a fourth-year PhD candidate in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and a 2019–2020 fellow, will facilitate Universal Design for Learning Basics, an online workshop to be held from 2 to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 29.

Why did you select this as the topic of your workshop?

Universal design for learning aims to make learning more accessible to everyone, providing a useful framework for the organization and management of classes. As academia continually becomes more diverse, teachers at all levels need to have the theoretical knowledge and skills to accommodate learners of all types and abilities.

I hope this workshop provides broad theoretical knowledge that can help teachers shape the overall structure of their classes in the future, as well as practical knowledge that will make the class more accessible immediately.

What strategies or tools do you hope participants learn? 

The workshop will focus on exploring universal design for learning’s three principles­—multiple means of representation, expression, and engagement—and what those look like in the classroom.

Why did you want to facilitate this as an online workshop?

When I was an undergraduate student, I hated taking online classes because they typically only involved reading a chapter and taking a quiz on that chapter. That type of learning did not work for me personally. While online learning environments have vastly improved in the last 10 years, I still find tensions between the accessibility of online environments and the classroom. Universal design for learning provides a useful response to that tension.

This workshop aims to broadly teach universal design for learning as an approach to learning. Regardless of whether instructors primarily teach on campus, online, or anywhere else, this workshop will provide theory and skills that can be applied to their classroom.

To attend the Universal Design for Learning Basics workshop, fill out the registration form.