AHEAD: Association for Higher Education Access & Disability
Creating inclusive environments in education & employment for people with disabilities.


CPD - the Digital Badge for Universal Design in Teaching & Learning

As part of the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching & Learning's open access digital badge initiative, AHEAD and UCD Access & Lifelong Learning have teamed up to create the digital badge for Universal Design in Teaching & Learning.

Register for the 2023 National Rollout here!In short, we've designed instructions and learning materials for a short introductory professional development course on universal design for learning and in partnership with the Forum, we are making these materials freely available to institutions interested in rolling it out locally by volunteer course facilitators. We provide the learning materials, the institution provides the staff time and admin to roll it out. The course can be rolled out in a completely online or blended mode of delivery and takes about 25 hours of learner effort in total. Every participant who completes the course will receive the Forum's digital badge for Universal Design in Teaching & Learning. 

 How is the course structured?

For the digital badge for Universal Design in Teaching & Learning course, there are three key elements you'll have to undertake to achieve the badge. Depending on the mode of delivery and the preference of your facilitator, you may undertake these elements concurrently or consecutively.

1. 5 short online modules building UDL knowledge and encouraging self reflection

  • Introducing Universal Design for Learning
  • Examining Multiple Means of Engagement - the 'why' of learning
  • Examining Multiple Means of Representation - the 'what' of learning
  • Examining Multiple Means of Action and Expression - the 'how' of learning
  • Reflecting On Your Practice

2. Group interactions with your peers (either through a workshop format or via ongoing groups of three known as Peer Triads - Depends on mode of delivery)

  • Exploring the diversity on your campus
  • Looking at how UDL can help to reduce barriers to learning
  • Discussion and brainstorming on how you can change your practice with UDL

3. UDL Redesign Activity

  • Select a teaching activity you will deliver during the course (module/lecture/workshop/training event/assignment)
  • Redesign at least one aspect of the module using UDL principles (e.g. assessment, teaching materials, classroom resources, student activities etc.)
  • Implement and deliver the redesigned activity
  • Produce a short report (written or video) on the process on the redesign and implementation - both your experiences and your students

 What kind of learning materials do you provide for Course Facilitators?

As a course facilitator, we provide you all the elements you need to deliver the course including:

1. Online Modules

  • All eLearning packages
  • Template welcome emails
  • Recommended Resources
  • Course facilitator instructions

2. Group/Peer to Peer Interactions

  • Detailed workshop plan if appropriate for your mode of delivery with required learning materials (e.g. slides) and associated notes
  • Peer Triad instructions and meeting discussion points for Triads to use
  • Course Facilitator Instructions

3. Redesign Activity

  • Activity Briefs
  • Template report for students to complete
  • Course Facilitator instructions

 What are the main tasks of the Course Facilitator?

As a Course Facilitator, your key tasks include:

1. Online Modules

  • Organising Upload to LMS (moodle blackboard) in conjunction with your eLearning department
  • Signing up students to course on your LMS in conjunction with your eLearning department
  • Sending welcome emails/general administration etc.

2. Group/Peer to Peer Interactions

Depending on the mode of delivery it could include:

  • Organising a workshop room and notifying participants, Printing/distributing materials, Facilitating the group discussions
  • Organising participants into Peer Triads and supporting them to meet throughout the course

3. Redesign Activity

Depending on the mode of delivery it could include:

  • Disseminating briefs and collecting/verifying finished reports
  • Ensuring that Peer Triads verify each other's work
  • Distributing digital badges

Other Key Tasks

  • Fixing course schedule (recommended plan provided)
  • Recruiting participants on campus
  • Course administration and communications

 What is a digital badge?

Any organisation can issue digital badges as a recognition for work achieved or skills acquired – think of them as the certificate of the future. Unlike ordinary certificates however, digital badges come with a weight of other useful information such as a descriptor of the badge, a set of criteria met in order to receive the badge and in some cases, links to evidence of how the criteria has been met (e.g. an actual course assignment). Digital badges are collected by individuals in a personal digital backpack, which acts as a visual record of the person’s learning journey. Watch the video below for more detailed info on what a digital badge is!

 Do I need to be a UDL expert to run this course in my institution?

No. But there are a few major criteria for new course facilitators:

  • That you have completed the Digital Badge for Universal Design in Teaching and Learning yourself before facilitating
  • That you have been awarded a Facilitators Badge for this course through the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching & Learning
  • That you are delivering the course to staff in further education and training and/or higher education staff in the Republic of Ireland

 I want to deliver this course - how do I get started?

Contact the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning to find out when the course is next being run so you can undertake it yourself before facilitating it. You'll also need to get the Facilitators Badge (this much shorter course usually run at the same time). 

If you've already done this course, full course facilitators package is available from the website of the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning so you are welcome to download, explore and use these materials at any time (they are under creative commons). Just download it from there and start to sift through the materials and instructions we've provided. 

If you have already rolled out the course previously, you can of course roll it out again at any time by downloading the facilitators pack and getting started.

If you are unsure how to get started and want advice, contact AHEAD.

Go to the Forum's digital badge page>>

Digital Badge Partners - AHEAD, UCD Access and Lifelong Learning and the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning.

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Creating Inclusive Environments in Education and Employment for People with Disabilities

East Hall, UCD, Carysfort Avenue, Blackrock, Co Dublin.
T +353 1 592 1467 E ahead@ahead.ie W www.ahead.ie RCN 20025182