Thursday, March 5, 2015
CAST Research Scientist Sam Johnston is featured in a Campus Technology magazine article titled "Course Design that Meets More Learners' Needs."
Education journalist Dennis Pierce interviews Johnston about some challenges in applying universal design for learning (UDL) to make postsecondary learning environments more flexible and effective for all learners.
"There are often multiple stakeholders making decisions" in postsecondary settings, says Johnston, which can complicate UDL implementation efforts. For that reason, engaging faculty, administrators, support staff, and students alike in improving campus teaching and learning is essential.
Johnston also emphasizes the need for varied assessments at the college level to give instructors a more accurate picture of what students know and how to improve instruction.
"We're still using multiple choice for assessment because it's expedient, but it's not effective for a large number of people," Johnston tells journalist Pierce. "If all we're doing is throwing the same form of assessment in front of all students again and again, we're going to be constantly remediating a certain population of students when maybe what we need to do is find some different approaches. We might find they actually know more about the topic than we're giving them credit for."
The article highlights the College STAR project at three North Carolina universities as an example of UDL in action. Faculty and instructional designers are trained to implement UDL to meet the needs of varied learners, including the many adult learners with disabilities.