Student persistence, retention, success, and satisfaction are enhanced when the learning environment and instructional methods consider any one of the hallmarks of Universal Design for Learning (UDL); Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI); or accessibility. However, thinking of and applying just one is not enough. We need to carry forth these approaches together. Understandably, the intersection of all three in course design and facilitation has a greater positive impact than one alone—not just on the achievements of our current students but on tomorrow’s learners, ourselves as faculty and staff, and even the wider community. Embracing the framework of UDL, the lens of JEDI, and the applications of accessibility (specifically, digital accessibility) hand in hand is a tangible way to nurture and promote a welcoming and supportive environment that everyone deserves.
But where can we start? We can start by incorporating “just one thing” in our course design and facilitation—a single principle of UDL, a single characteristic of JEDI, or a single practice toward accessibility. But do not stop there. Commit to applying just one thing, and then continue by taking the opportunity to reflect on this and decide how you can do more. Strengthen your learning activities and environment by combining one more thing from the varied applications across the full spectrum of UDL, JEDI, and accessibility.
This approach—starting with just one thing and incorporating more and more across UDL, JEDI, and accessibility practices—is the overarching best practice to put forth in your teaching when the aim is to build and maintain a welcoming, supportive environment where everyone can become an expert learner. In the following linked pages, you will find many items to consider as you develop your skills and apply them in all three areas.