Reading 7

Orkwis, R., & McLane, K. (1998). A Curriculum Every Student Can Use: Design Principles for Student Access. ERIC/OSEP Topical Brief (055 Guides: Non-Classroom; 071 ERIC Publications): Special Education Programs (ED/OSERS), Washington, DC.; Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Orkwis and McLane explore some issues in universal design for learning which are related to accessibility of general education curriculum for students with disabilities. The authors describe universal design for learning as generating learning materials and activities in the flexible curriculum which provide alternative options for students with various abilities and background.

The authors also complement the report with two figures for illustrating universal design for learning. The first figure illustrates the differences between universal design for product or environment and universal design for learning. The second one illustrates about three essential qualities of universal design for learning which are representation, expression, and engagement.

Even tough it is a quite old monograph, I really agree that universal design in the notion of learning means “learning materials, instructions, and activities that make learning objectives can be achievable by individuals with wide differences in their abilities to see, hear, speak, move, read, write, understand English, attend, organize, engage, and remember” (p.10). This concept works not only accommodate various students with physical, sensory, and cognitive disabilities, but also various abilities, culture and language backgrounds, and learning approaches.