Resources for Hybrid Teaching and Universal Design for Learning

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With the new school year underway, we know that members of the ATE community may be adapting their lessons and syllabi to accommodate different learning modalities in the rapidly changing circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic. Even with several semesters of experience, there is still much that we all can learn about effective teaching and learning in remote, hybrid, and even in-person formats.

In the spirit of mutual support and collaborative learning, we are sharing five resources that we believe will be helpful for all educators to strive to make their pedagogy more inclusive, accessible, and useful for all students. 

A young woman with curly hair studies at a laptop in front of a shelf of books.

A young woman with curly hair studies at a laptop in front of a shelf of books.

How Hybrid Learning Is (and Is Not) Working During COVID-19: 6 Case Studies

This article from Education Week provides readers with a series of mini case studies that highlight what did – and just as importantly, did not – work well for teachers and students around the U.S. as they rose to the challenge of working in a variety of remote and hybrid environments. The article highlights some unsurprising but lamentable findings: reactions to remote/hybrid education options range considerably among teachers, administrators, parents, and students; the digital divide is sadly still a reality; technical issues abound; and getting remote students to complete work and assignments can be extremely difficult. Even so, there are some bright spots. Teachers learned to be creative and innovative with their use of technology, utilizing phones, laptops, clickers, and more to better engage students. Multilingual families often benefited from being able to connect more easily with interpreters in an online environment. Disciple rates dropped and for some families it was easier for parents to meet with teachers without the struggle of finding daycare. Reading through this article can provide both educators and parents with food for thought and help them consider which portions of hybrid and remote learning may be worth keeping in the educational mix moving forward.

CAST: About Universal Design for Learning

Whatever educational environment we find ourselves in, remote, hybrid, or in-person, one thing is certain – utilizing the tenets of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) can help make it better for all learners. According to CAST, the creators of the framework, the goal of UDL is "to improve and optimize teaching and learning for all people based on scientific insights into how humans learn." This portion of the CAST website provides a solid introduction and a guide to understanding the basics of UDL. At its heart, the overarching framework helps educators and others guide the design of their instructional goals, methods, assessments, and resources so they are personalized to meet the educational needs of all learners. Visitors to this page can use it as a jumping off point to explore the rich and diverse set of resources available, while also coming to understand the underlying goals of UDL through videos and data that highlight key components. The "UDL at a Glance" video is a particularly good starting point for anyone interested in exploring techniques that help minimize educational barriers and make learning more inclusive and transformative for everyone. 

An Introduction to Hybrid Teaching

From the College of DuPage, An Introduction to Hybrid Teaching is a handy PDF guide to planning a hybrid learning course. Teachers and curriculum designers of all kinds, whether new to the model or old pros, will find this guide rich with information about hybrid teaching, including its benefits, best practices, advice on structuring a hybrid course, and common pitfalls to avoid. Additionally, the guide is a short, easy read, making it easy to fit into the busy life of an educator. An Introduction to Hybrid Teaching also features a detailed Sources section for further reading. 

Universal Design for Learning: Creating a Learning Environment that Challenges and Engages All Students

Many educators and curriculum designers are familiar with Universal Design for Learning (UDL), which has grown in popularity in recent years. However, the means of incorporating and utilizing this educational framework may remain unclear. Universal Design for Learning: Creating a Learning Environment that Challenges and Engages All Students, created by the IRIS Center at Vanderbilt University's Peabody College, is an interactive educational module about UDL that examines its three principles – representation, action and expression, and engagement – and discusses how to apply these principles to curricula. Structured in five stages, the module describes a series of classroom conundrums and asks participants to use UDL principles to solve them. This module provides a handy review for those who are familiar with UDL and an immersive educational experience for those who are new to the framework. It also includes an outline, so visitors can review the overall content and structure without committing to the approximate 2.5 hours necessary to complete the entire module. 

Hybrid Pedagogy

Hybrid Pedagogy is an open-access journal dedicated to the discussion of "critical digital pedagogy by advocating for students and fostering awareness of academic hierarchies." First launched in 2011, the journal provides voices in education that might otherwise be marginalized with a venue for peer-review and publication. In addition, Hybrid Pedagogy curates primers on "Online Learning" and "Digital Pedagogy" that will be especially useful for educators adapting to online and hybrid learning models. These can be accessed by clicking on "About" in the menu at the top of the page and scrolling to the Primers section. Readers can also click "Podcast" to listen to HybridPod, produced by the journal and hosted by Chris Friend. The journal has also published several book-length works (accessed under "Books"), including Critical Digital Pedagogy: A Collection, and Hybrid Teaching: Pedagogy, People, Politics, which are available through an open access Creative Commons license. 

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