Course Design Institute

Reimagining Learning with Universal Design for Learning

Universal Design for Learning Course Design Institute logo

May 8 and 9, 2024

Blackburn Room, Robarts Library, 4th floor
130 St. George Street

Application period is closed

Lindsay Baker, Associate Director, Curriculum Integration & Partnerships, Centre for Faculty Development, Temerty Faculty of Medicine 
Megan Burnett, Associate Director, Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation 
Michal Kasprzak, Assistant Director, Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation 
Beck McNeil, Education Development Lead, Access and Inclusion, Centre for Faculty Development, Temerty Faculty of Medicine 
Jasjit Sangha, Faculty Liaison Coordinator, Anti-Racist Pedagogies, Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation 
Samantha Chang, Faculty Liaison, Anti-Racist Pedagogies, Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation

This two-day Course Design Institute (CDI), offered jointly by the Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation (CTSI) and the Centre for Faculty Development (CFD) in the Temerty Faculty of Medicine, introduces frameworks and practical strategies to offer more inclusive, accessible, and flexible learning opportunities to your students using the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL).

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) responds to today’s diverse learning environments and learner needs by reducing barriers to learning, by promoting teaching strategies that help instructors meet the needs of all learners, and by creating challenging and engaged learning opportunities. UDL principles can reduce your need to implement individual solutions for students experiencing barriers and challenges and give all students equal opportunity to succeed and thrive.

In this two-day Course Design Institute (CDI), a team of facilitators will guide you through a collaborative exploration of the transformative power of UDL guidelines, anti-racist practices and evidence-based approaches to course development. Whether you’re designing a new course or redesigning an existing one, the CDI will empower you to reimagine your teaching approach. Through the lens of positionality and personal teaching values, you will reflect on who you are as a teacher, how you structure learning experiences and environments, and effective ways to connect and engage with your students.

The CDI is designed for those with post-secondary teaching experience, who are looking to reflect on their current course design practices to enhance inclusivity and accessibility. Participants may be at different stages of their journey, which is expected and will add to the richness of our discussions. Throughout the course, we’ll tap into your past experiences, encouraging you to explore the necessary changes to apply a UDL approach.

Applicants will be instructors (appointed or adjunct faculty members or sessionals) who are part of the U of T community with some teaching experience at the University of Toronto (preferably a minimum of two years). Priority will be given to appointed faculty members teaching in the Fall 2023, Winter 2024, and Summer 2024 terms. Application and registration will require a UTORid. This event is not open to graduate students or post-doctoral fellows – if you are a graduate student or fellow looking for programming to support course design or learning about UDL, please see the Teaching Assistants’ Training Program (TATP) website.

Facilitation and Format

The CDI will take place in person and will be facilitated by a team of experienced educational developers from CTSI and the CFD in the Temerty Faculty of Medicine.

Over two days, participants will work individually, in pairs and in small groups to complete a range of tasks, using a combination of hard copy and digital materials as well as online resources. Participants will explore overarching design principles and the UDL framework on Day 1 and on Day 2 will be able to choose between working on an entire course design (i.e. a map of all essential course elements) or focusing on a specific aspect of the course (i.e. an individual assessment or teaching intervention). In preparation for the Institute, participants will also be asked to complete some pre-work that will be explored on the first day.

Day 1 focuses on situational factors and reflection, UDL foundations and intersections, and the mapping of your overall course design.

  • Analysis of situational factors and reflection
  • UDL foundations and intersections
  • Mapping of your overall course design

Day 2 provides an opportunity to engage in a deeper examination of your overall course design or more focused work on a specific aspect of your design (e.g. an individual assessment or assignment or a specific teaching strategy or learning experience), and to get feedback from peers and facilitators.

  • Deep dive into assessment/assignment/teaching strategy
  • Give and receive feedback
  • Trouble shooting

The day will end with practical strategies for trouble-shooting anticipated challenges and potential barriers in your course design (“barrier busting”).

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the two-day CDI, you will be able to: 

  • use reflective practices to identify and consider positionality, values and situational factors that inform your teaching practice and teaching spaces, as well as student learning and engagement;  
  • engage in course design through the lenses of anti-racist and Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles and practices to respond to diversity, eliminate barriers to student learning, and integrate flexibility and care; 
  • develop, map and align course elements—including measurable learning outcomes, flexible and learning-centred assessments and effective teaching activities and supports—for new or existing courses;  
  • create an action plan to respond to and troubleshoot potential barriers and challenges associated with your course design/redesign.   

Time Commitment and Engagement

We require that every participant commit to attending both days of the CDI. The materials and associated learnings are cumulative and iterative and build over the two days. Participating in both days will help develop a sense of community as we collectively engage in work and conversation about how to reimagine student learning at the University of Toronto.  

Participants can expect to spend about 1-2 hours on the pre-work reflection. On each of the two days, in-person programming will begin at 9am and finish at 4pm. Lunch will be provided both days. 

Application Process

Application deadline: March 8, 2024

Notifications of acceptance sent: March 22, 2024

Deadline for confirming registration: April 26, 2024

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