Berkeley's Instructional Design Community Looks into Universal Design (UDL)

March 6, 2013

Berkeley’s new Instructional Design and Faculty Support (IDFS) group is a community of practice on campus that brings together instructional designers and faculty support staff who share common interests and strategies for addressing professional opportunities.*  The group currently includes staff from ETS, the Law School, the Library, the Center for Teaching and Learning, EECS, and the Student Learning Center.

Since November, we have met monthly to get acquainted, brainstorm topics of interest and to delve deep into a topic that we all want to learn more about.

UDL/Universal Design for Learning

We devoted our last two sessions to UDL, or Universal Design for Learning. Many of us in a support role on campus work with faculty who need or want to know how to make their courses more accessible to their students. There are many ways to approach this:

You can take a few steps as you create your syllabus and prepare course materials to ensure that a wider range of learners can access your materials. Staff from ETS, CTL and DSP have contributed 3 resources to help you get started:

  1. Five Ways to Make Your Course Accessible
  2. Creating a Complete and Accessible Syllabus
  3. Preparing Course Readers and Other Materials

Or you can re-design part or all of your course. For instance, you may want to re-think how you assess your students on the outcomes you establish for them, which may in turn prompt you to present content in alternative forms or to create alternative assignments. A helpful article to start with is Margaretha Vreeburg Izzo's "The Faculty Perspective on Universal Design for Learning." If you’re interested in learning more about UDL and applying it to your course, feel free to contact The Center for Teaching & Learning or ETS’ Training & Support team for assistance.

And if you’d like to learn more about the IDFS group, feel free to contact ETS' Lisa Rothrauff at

* This groups has its origins in a currently active UC-wide group, also called IDFS, which is a sub-working group of the IT Leadership Group.