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Staff Training and Universal Design

Staff Training & Universal Design

Universal Design for Learning is a principle-based approach to designing university teaching and learning to meet the learning needs of all students. UCD is a University for All and our teaching, learning and assessment is flexible and accessible for all students. This includes the needs articulated by our diverse UCD student population. UCD must ensure that our teaching and learning develops in line with the student population. Universal Design offers us a framework that helps us to consider and embrace our diverse classrooms. While we may not all be experts in particular disability types, for example, using the Universal Design for Learning framework gives you the tools you need to take all learners into consideration when planning and designing your curriculum.

UCD Access & Lifelong Learning provides workshops for UCD staff on supporting students with disabilities and implementing Universal Design in the classroom, in your curriculum and in the physical campus. We can provide a tailored training session for your school/unit. To discuss your training needs please contact the disability team on (opens in a new window)disability@ucd.ie.

On this page, you will find case studies on Universal Design for Curriculum Design and resources for creating accessible documents and classroom materials.

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Universal Design for Curriculum Design - Full Book

Chapter 1 Introduction - Lisa Padden, John O’Connor, Terry Barrett

Chapter 2: Integrating Learning Support for Part-time Students - Orna O’Brien

Chapter 3: Navigating Semester One - Irene Rose

Chapter 4: Assisting the Individual - Leanne Blaney, Paul Rouse

Chapter 5: Facilitating Success on Placement -Alison Clancy, Phil Halligan

Chapter 6 I am a Busy Distance Learner - Marion Maher, Sue Meehan

Chapter 7: College Knowledge - Anne Drummond, David O'Dwyer

Chapter 8: Maths Sparks - Aoibhinn Ni Shuilleabhain, Anthony Cronin

Chapter 9 It is really difficulty to read scientific papers - John O Connor

Chapter 10: Facilitating Students to Showcase their Research - Valerie Kendlin

Chapter 11: Debating: How to Advance your Students Communication - Connor Buggy

Universal Design for Curriculum Design - Further Resources

Guidelines for Accessible Documents

It is vital that all of the material published by UCD is accessible. This includes reports, documents, teaching materials, websites and any other communication materials. Below you will find tools to help you ensure the accessibility of your own content. The creation of accessible content follows three core principles:

  • Appropriate structure and layout e.g. heading styles
  • Plain English
  • Variety and clarity in message delivery e.g. images and video with captions/text descriptions

If your team, unit or school would like accessibility training please email disability@ucd.ie

Tools to check your accessibility   

  • Ally

Ally is a new plug-in for Brightspace designed to promote digital accessibility. With Ally you can receive feedback on the overall accessibility of your module and its learning materials, as well as instant feedback on quick adjustments you can make to ensure everyone in your class can access your resources and participate. 

More information is available here

  • Microsoft Office Accessibility Checker.

Available in Microsoft Office the Accessibility Checker in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint tells you about possible accessibility issues in your Office file so you can fix these issues so someone with a disability can read and get to your content.

(opens in a new window)Learn how to access the Accessibility Checker in Microsoft Office here.

  • SensusAccess - Accessible File Conversion

SensusAccess is a file conversion tool which uses a simple webform. SensusAccess allows you to convert files into the format which is most accessible and useful to you. This might be converting scanned book pages into searchable PDFs to be used with text to speech software. Files can be converted using this webpage.

Top Tips

(opens in a new window)A uniform heading structure is often the most important accessibility consideration in Word documents. 

(opens in a new window)All images,tables and graphs contained in a Word document must have alternative text. It is needed in Word documents to provide a non-visual means of representing the content or function of an image. When uploading material to Brightspace, Ally can be used to get feedback on the accessibility of your materials.

To create an accessible PDF file you can create the document in another program, such as Microsoft Word or PowerPoint, and convert it into an accessible PDF.