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AHEAD: Association for Higher Education Access & Disability
AHEAD: Association for Higher Education Access & Disability

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HE Staff Digital Badge in UDL - Autumn 2020

What: Free introductory course on Universal Design for Learning running groups simultaneously for Irish HE and FET staff. This info page is for HE course. Click here for FET course info.

Available to: Strictly for staff currently working in Higher 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 (Oct 29th - Dec 2nd) that they can work on as part of the UDL Redesign Activity (can be individual class, group of classes, training session or assignment - flexible). Book quickly to avoid disappointment.

When: Oct 1st - Dec 9th. General registration closes Sept 17th at 13:00 - first come, first served.

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: 3 short course information webinars, 5 self directed online modules (35-75 mins each), 4 peer group meetings, 1 UDL Redesign Activity.

Important: Participants must have some teaching activities planned during weeks 5-9 (29th Oct - 2nd Dec) of the course which they can work on as part of their UDL Redesign Activity. Can be scheduled classes/lectures, assignment to be delivered, staff training session or other teaching activity - we are flexible.

Registration: Free, operating on first come first served basis. Booking open Aug 17th - Sept 17th. Pre-registration available to limited numbers in ETBs/institutions with supporting badge facilitators by direct invite only.

This Autumn, AHEAD and UCD Access & Lifelong Learning are teaming up to jointly deliver the Digital Badge for Universal Design in Teaching and Learning once again in a fully online format. This digital badge course, hosted by the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching & Learning, will provide participants with a strong introduction to the Universal Design for Learning Framework and give them the opportunity to implement UDL approaches within the teaching activities they are currently undertaking. But this year there's a  big difference to how we're running the course. Where typically we would run the course for about 35 people, this year we are teaming up with previously trained UDL badge facilitators to offer this course to 500+ participants simultaneously in FET and HE - the largest national roll out of UDL CPD ever undertaken in Ireland. So sign up to be a part of it and join the growing Irish UDL community.

This free course involves approximately 25 hours over the 10 week period, averaging 2.5 hours per week with a 5 hour optional add on later in the course for those interested in becoming future facilitators of the open course themselves. Participants will work in a Peer Group of three or four throughout the course to support each other's understanding of the course content and brainstorm ideas for the key course activity where they will implement UDL ideas in real time into a teaching activity. Registration details, key course information and dates for your diary are featured below and the full course schedule is available here. 

Please note this course Strictly for staff currently working in Higher Education in the Republic of Ireland. Click here for FET course info.


General registration closes Sept 17th at 13:00 - FIRST COME FIRST SERVED

Check for Remaining Places and Register>>

HEA LogoThe core funding received by AHEAD for its higher education activities is provided by the Higher Education Authority.


About this Badge

Implementation of Universal Design principles in Teaching & Learning promotes inclusivity and equity while also ‘future-proofing’ your teaching. As our classrooms and lecture theatres become increasingly diverse, our practices must also adapt to reflect the changing landscape of higher education.  Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is an educational framework based on research in the learning sciences, including cognitive neuroscience, which guides the development of flexible learning environments that can accommodate individual learning differences and cater for the wide range of diversity in our lecture rooms. This CPD course will give you an introduction to the concept of Universal Design for Learning and invite you to review and update your own Teaching and Learning practice.

Course Criteria - Participants on the Course Will:

  • Reflect on the Diversity of Students in their Institutions
  • Gain a good understanding of the Universal Design for Learning framework and how it can support diverse learners
  • Deepen their understanding of UDL through peer engagement
  • Redesign some elements of their teaching and learning practice based on their knowledge of UDL principles
  • Consider how they will change their practice more broadly in line with a UDL approach

 How the Course Works?

The course is delivered via a mixture of webinars and guided self paced multimedia modules, with participants also working through group activities in online meetings as a group of three or four known as a Peer Group. They will work together with their Peer Group throughout the course.

The Peer Group system means that you experience the course with other colleagues and share perspectives on the course content. At the end of the course, each member of the Peer Group confirms to the facilitators that the others have taken part in the process and that plays a major role in the release of the digital badge to certify completion.

One of the major activities participants will undertake is to redesign a teaching activity they are actively delivering in line with UDL principles and to implement the redesign during the course. This redesign happens during weeks 5-9 of the course, after the participant has undertaken significant learning about the UDL framework and sought advice from colleagues in their Peer Groups. Because of this, participants must have some form of teaching activity scheduled during this period which they can redesign (e.g. a lecture, workshop, training event, assignment etc.).

At the end of the process, the Peer Groups will meet to discuss what they learned with each other and share a brief report on their experiences.

In summary, participants will undertake the following as part of the 10 week, 25 hour course:

  • 3 course information webinars
  • 5 self paced online multimedia modules
  • 4 Peer Group Meetings
  • 1 UDL Redesign Activity - real time UDL implementation

Additionally, participants can choose to undertake the optional 5 hour add-on 'Facilitator's Badge' which trains them to roll out this national forum open course to their colleagues at a later date.

 Course Entry Requirements

Participants must:

  • Be currently working as an educator in a teaching and learning capacity in FET or Higher Education in the Republic of Ireland (can include any role where teaching/training is delivered to students/staff e.g. teacher, librarian, teaching enhancement staff, disability officer that delivers training) 
  • Have one or more teaching activity (lecture/training session/class/assessment etc.) taking place between week 5 and 9 of this course (October 29th – December 2nd) that they can redesign as part of the course.

 IT Requirements

This course will feature both webinars and small group online meetings which you will require a laptop/pc with a speakers/headphones, a webcam and a microphone (for best audio quality a headset rather than an internal laptop mic). The Zoom platform will be used for webinars so it’s a good idea to try and join this test Zoom link now in advance of the course starting and contact your IT administrator’s for advice if you have any problems. Similarly, the Big Blue Button platform is used for online meetings - You can test your computer/microphone/webcam for use with Big Blue Button in advance of the course beginning by clicking here, entering your name and clicking Join under the HTML5 link.

Since lots of the material on this course is delivered through multimedia, the course also requires a reasonably good internet connection capable of streaming video.

 Key Course Dates to Put in Your Diary Now!

Participants should put the key times and dates listed below in their diaries. All other course work can be done at times that suit (within specific time frames). You can download the full course schedule here.

Here are some some key dates:

  • 13:00 – 13:45,  October 1st - Orientation - Webinar #1 – Course introduction, tour of the platform, introduction to Peer Groups, week by week breakdown
  • 13:00 – 13:30, October 6th (suggested date/time to be confirmed with your Peer Group colleagues) – Peer Group Online Meeting #1 – Introducing yourself to your colleagues
  • 13:00 – 13:45, October 20th (suggested date/time to be confirmed with your Peer Group colleagues) – Peer Group Online Meeting #2 – Group discussions on barriers to learning and UDL solutions
  • 13:00-13:30, October 21st – Webinar #2 – Introducing the Redesign Activity
  • 13:00-14:00, October 28th – (suggested date/time to be confirmed with your Peer Group colleagues) - Peer Group Online Meeting #3 – Brainstorm your UDL redesign
  • 13:00-13:30, December 3rd – Webinar #3 – Submission and Getting Your Badge
  • 13:00-13:45, December 8th – (suggested date/time to be confirmed with your Peer Group colleagues) - Peer Group Online Meeting #4 – Verification and Sign Off

 Work of Previous HE Participants

Below are two video examples of UDL implementations made by badge participants as part of their work on the badge.

Ailish Breen

Laura Hegarty

Download the Full Course Schedule>> 

For more information on the digital badge model more generally and how facilitators can roll it out themselves, visit the webpage.

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AHEAD - Funded by the HEA

The core funding received by AHEAD for its higher education activities is provided by the Higher Education Authority.

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