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Universal Design

Universal Design in UCD

Universal Design is a core component of the Unviersity for All initiative in UCD. Using the framework and principles of Universal Design we can create an inclusive educational environment to benefit all students. On this page we've gathered a number of resources and training opportunities which you and your team can avail of to guide inlcusion in your day to day work in UCD, whether you have a teaching, support, technical, policy or any other role. 

Details of the next national rollout of the Digital Badge for Universal Design in Teaching and Learning will be shared later in the year.

What: Free introductory course on Universal Design for Learning for all those working in Higher and Further Education in Ireland. 

Available to: Staff currently working in Higher Education or Further Education in the Republic of Ireland. Places allocated on a first come first served basis. Participants must have some teaching activity planned during week 5-9 of the programme that they can work on as part of the UDL Redesign Activity (can be individual class, group of classes, training session or assignment - flexible). 

When: National Rollout in October 2022 - Register now!

Time Involved: Approx. 25 hours over 10 weeks, roughly 2.5 hours per week. Optional 5 hour add-on for participants interested in rolling this open course out to colleagues in the future.

Course Activities: 5 self-directed online modules (35-75 mins each), either 4 peer group meetings or 1 workshop, 1 UDL Redesign Activity. 

This digital badge course, part of the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching & Learning Professional Development Framework and created by AHEAD and UCD Access & Lifelong Learning provides participants with a strong introduction to the Universal Design for Learning Framework and gives them the opportunity to implement UDL approaches within the teaching activities they are currently undertaking. Currently 1000+ educators in Irish FET and HE. have been awarded the badge with another 1000 on track to be awarded soon. 

UCD Teaching & Learning offer accredited programmes in University Teaching and Learning (UTL). Inclusion is built in to every module of these NQF level 9 programmes. These programmes are designed to be flexible, facilitating you to choose in accordance with your interests and needs. Modules are offered on a range of topics, for example: 

  • Module Design
  • Assessment
  • Active Learning with Technology
  • Teaching Across Cultures
  • Problem based Learning
  • Becoming a Better University Teacher

Use this Checklist for Accessible Content:

  • Font Choice - we should be posting exclusively in Sans-Serif fonts. 
  • Font Size - WCAG advises on contrast when talking about size as different screens mean different pixel densities, but, really: big, clear text in plain English. Minimum 24 size font for PowerPoint Slides and 12 size font for print/Word documents.
  • Avoid underlining, italics and BLOCK CAPITALS.
  • Colour Contrast - this is a big one. Poor colour contrast between text and the background design makes posts very hard to read - particularly in this sunny weather! A good way to check your colour contrast is this tool from WebAim. The hex codes for Canva colours can be found by hovering over them. Ideally, we should be aiming for WCAG AAA compliance as this is the standard that factors in accessibility on mobile devices.
  • Provide alternative text on images, tables and graphs.
  • All video content should be captioned and automatically-generated captions should be checked and edited.
  • Use Microsoft Accessibility checker under the Review tab.
  • Any hashtags should be written with a capital letter at the start of each word ie #UniversityForAll not #universityforall - screenreaders and read aloud tools cannot differentiate between the different words.
  • Provide meaningful URL links.
  • Find out more tips from AHEAD.

The Centre for Excellence in Universal Design at the National Disability Authority have developed the Customer Communications Toolkit for the Public Service - A Universal Design Approach.

This very useful toolkit includes practical guidance on written, spoken & signed and digital communications. You'll find many examples, checklists and other resources within the toolkit. As part of the University for All initiative we can also offer practical trianing based on this toolkit to your team. If you're interested in this training please email lisa.padden@ucd.ie 

This checklist has been enhanced and developed to be used as an effective tool for planning events using Universal Design Principles. It also includes a sample equality and diversity statement as well as guidelines for presentations and posters. We would value any feedback you had on how it can be improved: universityforall@ucd.ie. It is a living document and may be subject to change.

Universal Design for Events Checklist

University for All

University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
E: UniversityforAll@ucd.ie