EnACT~PTD Research Overview
With support from the United States Department of Education, Ensuring Access through Collaboration and Technology: Partnerships, Technology and Dissemination (EnACT~PTD) established and evaluated an innovative faculty development program in support of students with disabilities across seven California State University (CSU) campuses. Specifically, EnACT~PTD offered faculty the training and support necessary to ensure students with disabilities were provided a quality postsecondary education.
Recognizing the value of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) as a model pedagogical framework, EnACT~PTD offered 37 project faculty the skills, support, and training necessary to successfully incorporate UDL principles into their coursework. In addition, EnACT~PTD established campus-based Faculty Learning Communities (FLC) to compliment UDL faculty workshops. These FLC supplemented the traditional seminar-only professional development model by offering faculty a forum to mutually consider the scholarship of teaching and learning in small learning groups. Finally, EnACT~PTD offered faculty an opportunity to reflect and capture their UDL pedagogical practices utilizing a case story format, produced using Pachyderm. Multiple online Video Case Stories were developed which exemplify how faculty addressed specific instructional issues through the incorporation of UDL into their teaching.
Implications for Practice
EnACT~PTD advances a unique and valued approach to faculty development. By adopting UDL as our overarching pedagogical framework, EnACT~PTD faculty participants speak to the value of both our specific UDL workshop and the need to couple this training with an ongoing forum (FLC) for support. This two-pronged approach offers faculty the knowledge and support necessary to carry out important UDL course changes which would have not otherwise occurred. Data indicate that this model readily equips faculty to make ongoing course changes and faculty recognize that these changes are instrumental in the teaching and learning process.
In terms of student success, our project provides concrete information on how UDL practices are perceived by postsecondary students. Data revealed that there were few differences between students with and without disabilities in terms of how UDL course changes impacted their success. UDL changes offered by our EnACT~PTD faculty were of similar value to all students and students’ narrative comments affirm this finding. In addition, when evaluating the relative merits of specific UDL strategies offered to faculty by this project, few differences were noted between students with and without disabilities. This re-affirms the notion that UDL as a model pedagogical practice supports all students including students with disabilities.