But How Does UDL apply to Nursing? with Jen Wallace

Welcome to Episode 61 of the Think UDL podcast: But What About UDL in Nursing? with Jen Wallace. I am so excited to bring this episode to you, our listeners, because I am often asked about how UDL works in applied fields when students have to pass a strict licensure exam, or something else of the sort with high stakes and lots of pressure, and Jen has worked diligently to integrate UDL in her nursing program. Jen Wallace is an Assistant Professor in Nursing at Lawrence Memorial Regis College in Medford, Massachusetts. In our conversation today, Jen is speaking on her own behalf and not necessarily on behalf of her employer. Jen has brought us some really great resources that she mentions during our conversation today and all of these are on our ThinkUDL.org website, so please be sure to check those out on Episode 61’s page and there is one more resource that she doesn’t mention in our conversation that she wanted me to share with you all, especially if you are trying to implement UDL in your college, university, or workplace and don’t know where to start, and that is Eric Moore and Jodie Black’s UDL Navigators in Higher Education. She said that it has proved immeasurably helpful in her UDL implementation in her Nursing program. So please add that to your resource list if you are implementing UDL and you’ll find a link to that book also on our resource page for this episode. Thank you so much for joining me and Jen Wallace today for our conversation!


Follow Jen Wallace on Twitter @JenWallaceRN 

UDL Navigators in Higher Education: A Field Guide by Eric Moore and Jodie Black can be found at CAST: UDL Navigators, or find it on Amazon: UDL Navigators. Jen Wallace highly recommends this resource if you are trying to implement UDL at your university or program.

National League for Nursing

Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing 

Society of Nurse Scientists Innovators Entrepreneurs and Leaders 

The Rebel Nurse Handbook

99 Tips for Creating Simple and Sustainable Educational Videos by Karen Costa 

Reach Everyone Teach Everyone by Kirsten Behling and Thomas J. Tobin

Goodwin University

Universal Design for Instruction in Nursing Education: An Integrative Review 

Using Universal Design Principles in a Fundamentals Course to Promote Student Transition to Nursing Education 

Implementing Universal Design Instruction in Doctor of Nursing Practice Education


Lillian Nave  00:00

Welcome to think UDL, the universal design for learning podcast where we hear from the people who are designing and implementing strategies with learner variability in mind. I’m your host, Lillian Nave. And I’m interested in not just what you’re teaching, learning, guiding and facilitating, but how you design and implement it, and why it even matters. Welcome to Episode 61 of the think UDL podcast. But what about UDL in nursing with Jen Wallace, I’m so excited to bring this episode to you our listeners, because I am often asked about how universal design for learning works in applied fields when students have to pass a strict licensure exam or something else of the sword with high stakes and lots of pressure. And Jen has worked diligently to integrate Universal Design for Learning in her nursing program. Jen Wallace is an assistant professor in Nursing at Lawrence Memorial Regis College in Medford, Massachusetts. In our conversation today, Jen is speaking on her own behalf and not necessarily on behalf of her employer. Jen has brought us some really great resources that she mentions during our conversation today. And all of these are on our think udl.org website. So please be sure to check those out on episode 60 ones page. And there is one more resource that she doesn’t mention in our conversation that she wanted me to share with you all, especially if you are trying to implement UDL in your college, university or workplace and don’t know where to start. And that is Eric Moore and Jody blacks UDL navigators in higher education. She said that it has proved immeasurably helpful in her UDL implementation in her nursing program. So please add that to your resource list if you’re implementing UDL, and you’ll find a link to that book, also on our resource page for this episode. Thank you so much for joining me and Jen Wallace today for our conversation. Thank you, Jen Wallace for joining me on today’s think UDL podcast.

Jen Wallace  02:31

Thank you happy to be here.

Lillian Nave  02:33

I’m glad to get to talk to you after we met almost a year ago, learning how to move everything online together. What a great community of practice, we got to be in camp cool together. So I’m really excited because I’ve learned a lot from you. And I have a very different background than what you are doing, which is in nursing and a very practical field. So that’s one of the reasons I really wanted to talk to you today is I get a lot of questions as somebody who proselytizers about universal design for learning. A lot of people will say to me, Okay, that sounds great for the Humanities, that sounds great for art history, or First Year Seminar. But what about something real, you know, something like nursing? So I’m excited to ask you those questions later. But I’ll start with my first question for all my guests. And that is what makes you a different kind of learner.

Jen Wallace  03:33

I, when I found out that you’re going to be asking me that question. I was kind of excited because as a avid listener of your podcast, I’ve always been, I knew this was the first question and I’ve always been really interested in what other guests have said. So it was great to have the opportunity to kind of reflect on my own. So I think what makes me a different kind of learner is that kind of my approaches to learning new information, sometimes conflict and bump into each other, but they somehow managed to coexist. So kind of my first approaches, I’m a Virgo, I’m very tightly wound. I like control. I enjoy list making. I love categorizing new information into neat little rows and boxes. I love things like graphic organizers, timelines, concept mapping, but at the same time, I’m super curious about everything. And I like shiny things. to approach us sometimes kind of don’t fit. But with kind of that second approach, I love the feeling of getting lost in new information and new experiences. Now where I have no control, I, one of the things I miss in during COVID has been the opportunity to aimlessly wander through a library and serendipitously pick books off the shelf. I love journaling and free writing. I love listening to music while I’m working or driving especially. And just having those connections of all that seemingly random information kind of fit together. And something that makes sense. I love being around people who have a different perspective, or expertise than me. And I’m really working on doing more listening than talking. Because I’ve realized that’s for me, I learned so much just from listening. And what I have figured out is that this is how I’ve learned like my whole life. And so now in my role as student, myself educator, or in my personal life, these two strategies have worked really well. Whether it’s with knitting, baking with sourdough cooking, or UDL, or my work with students, so

Lillian Nave  06:14

Oh, I love it. I can definitely, I feel your pain about not being able to wander aimlessly in a bookstore or a library. I, it’s one of my very favorite comfort places is going on. Oh, look at all this information I could be just browsing through I love the smell of books, you know? Oh, so great. Wow. Okay, so a lot of that answer explains to me why we connected so well. I think a year ago when we first met, I see a lot of similarities in in both that organization and wanting to have things perfect, but also needing to kind of swim around in a soup and wait for it to distill. I find that that happens for me, for me as well. So thank you for it’s such a great answer. And I was interested to in your, I guess your journey in the UDL. So I wanted to ask you, how did you first come upon Universal Design for Learning?

Jen Wallace  07:25

Well, I think my journey started about five years ago, when I transitioned from a clinical role as a staff nurse, caring for new mothers and babies in a hospital setting, which I had been doing for many years, I transitioned to a full time academic and clinical nurse educator in a two year associate degree program right outside of Boston. And I will be forever grateful to my former boss, Dr. Jana IRT, who took a chance on me saw something and gave me the opportunity to teach. So I was a content expert. But I quickly realized I was in way over my head. And I didn’t have the teaching and learning tools to be able to really understand how to teach a classroom full of students. So shortly after I started the position, I enrolled in the graduate certificate for nursing education program at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. It was five semester, fully online asynchronous course. So it was really my opportunity to really like dig in and be a student again, which I loved. my graduate degree, my master’s degree that I have already was very clinically focused. Not at all, no element of teaching and learning at all. So within those five semesters, I could choose two educational electives. And the first one I chose was called foundations of higher ed. Okay, and it was unlike any other course I had ever taken. Prior to that course, my experience with online learning had been courses that were flat, kind of set it and forget it very unengaging. I kind of actually dreaded them, right. But this course was really easy to navigate the learning management system, I didn’t have to figure it out. Like intuitively it led me to assignments and activities. I was introduced to tools like VoiceThread flipgrid. One of the coolest assignments was to create a meme about trends in our respective disciplines, the student peers in the course, we’re not None of them were from nursing, which was awesome. Yeah. Um, so we really, you know, brought in a lot of great discussions in our discussion board. The professor was really active in the discussion board, and would give really meaningful feedback. And it was really exciting for me, I literally found myself getting up in the middle of the night, jotting down notes. For the next discussion post. I thought, wow, this is crazy. Like, I didn’t really I really wasn’t thinking, how is this happening? Why is this different? I just knew it was different. It was really my first experience, academically stepping away from nursing. Okay, historically, nursing, practice and education has been very siloed. I’ve always been very intrigued by nurses in academia who pursue eds. Okay.


I was a doctorate in education.

Jen Wallace  11:06

Yes, I always done so. so brave. They’re leaving the fold. And so I was beginning to see Wow, this is a really cool experience. So through some discussion posts and some feedback, I learned that the professor of that course, was a faculty developer at the university, and she was involved in the university’s formal efforts to bring UDL to different departments. Okay. And I learned then that the course that I was in had been designed using principles of UDL. Wow, it’s kind of like recently I I think it was a Katie novec webinar. I can’t, I could be wrong. But she talked about when she would, in her faculty development work. At the end of a slide deck, she would have the last slide that says you’ve been UDL. Yeah. So that would give kind of that meta? Yeah. perience of being in it without having to manage the words and the frame rate can kind of tick Yeah, that’s

Lillian Nave  12:13

jen pusateri has that you can UDL that was it? Yep. Yeah.

Jen Wallace  12:19

Yes, that that’s, that’s probably where it came from. Also, in that course, I realized that my kind of mission throughout the remainder of the program was to really dig deep, and find places and spaces within nursing education that UDL could fit. Okay, and how, how could they fit? Did they fit? And in writing one of my papers, I came upon an article in the nursing literature from written by Dr. Janet Levy, and it was a systematic review of UDL, in nursing education, and what existed, theory little existed. But it was fascinating to me that there was even something that, you know, a resource, a person and thinking about fitting those two together. And although the kind of the focus of her research was her dissertation was head of focus on disability students with disabilities. It had so many other elements to it that I thought, Okay, this is it. This is what I really want to think about over the next few semesters. So that was, it was really my springboard was that course. From there while I went through the other courses in the program, I attended a three day conference put on by cast in Cambridge, and very convenient because I live very close to cast. It’s the next town. And I learned about that probably one of the tables with books, and cast resources, I learned that cast offered a graduate level online asynchronous course called UDL, one on one designing for learner variability. So I negotiated with my faculty have my certificate program to use that as my second elective. So that was fun. I also had the opportunity to take that course with my colleague who attended the conference with me, Karen Sawyer, who is not a nurse. So again, that great perspective of right you know, some interdisciplinary lens. Yeah, exactly. So at that conference, I’m too fat. hilty presented doctors john Konya, and Dr. Lisa was new ski from Goodwin University in Hartford, Connecticut, and Goodwin head has committed to kind of utilising their whole curriculum. Yes. And I learned through their presentation that they had a nursing program. And very much like my program, it was a, it’s a two year program, very practical, in vocational in nature, so I just ran up to them right after their presentation and just started picking their brain and they were so supportive and offered to introduce me to a UDL teaching fellow in the nursing department. Her name was Robin cournoyer. They also told me that they were facilitating a brand new UDL community practice at Regis college, which is affiliated with my school, okay. And they invited me to join the community practice. So that community practice was, again, asynchronous fully online, and was also facilitated by two instructional designers from Regis Edna Pressler. And Carol was new ski. And it was my really my first introduction to instructional design. Truly, until kind of all these pieces fell into place. The whole idea of intentional or proactive design, not reactive was new to me, like I. So that was really mind blowing to me that you know, that that you can do that. So I completed the program with the required teaching practicum. And the teaching practicum that I did was at Goodwin University in Hartford with Robin cournoyer. It was during the spring of 2020. That infamous COVID it to remote learning. And the class that I had worked all semester to build it was about child growth and development using principles of UDL was on the very last night of class. So the students knew in the morning, they were going remote. Yeah, so it was a really apocalyptic kind of feel. Yeah. And then my own program, right around that same time also pivoted to remote, and I had the opportunity to really lean heavily on to what I knew about UDL strategies, as we pivoted our own course, to UDL. Wow, so that was my journey.

Lillian Nave  17:59

Yeah, that’s amazing. You got into it, like at just the right time for, for moving your programs online. And I hear so many questions about how do we do things like science and labs and practicums. And things like nursing education where you you need to meet face to face. So I am interested to hear how now that you have your background in EDL how you’ve been able to do that. So I have another question about your personal connection. What’s your personal connection with UDL that’s brought you to champion it in nurse education?

Jen Wallace  18:43

Well, I think I, I was excited to kind of see that question also, ahead of time and have a little time to reflect on it. Because I, the same time that I was going through this graduate certificate nursing education, I was doing a year long fellowship with an organization called sun CL. And CL is a relatively new nursing organization. And the it’s an acronym for the society of nurse scientists, innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders. And my focus during my fellowship was about was on nursing innovations in nursing education. And I was very interested in kind of another opportunity to kind of think more deeply about the application of UDL to nursing education. So I had the opportunity to submit an essay to a book that ultimately got published the title of the book Look, is the rebel nurse Handbook, inspirational stories by shift disruptors. The writing prompt that we were given for the essay was to write about a personal or professional experience that kind of brought us to have an interest in nursing innovation. So I think I still had that article from the nursing literature about disability scale in my head. And at the time, that was really my focus early on. And so I kind of reflected back upon my experience as a homeschool parent in that essay, and my older daughter was homeschooled for K through 12, her whole you know, formative education and my younger daughter, homeschooled until eighth grade, and then transition to our local public high school. But my younger daughter, we discovered when she was a junior in high school has dyslexia, okay. And, in retrospect, she was a very successful student by formal terms. And when I thought back about her education, and why I enjoyed being homeschool parent, it kind of brought me to kind of my interest in UDL in nursing education. So inherent in our homeschooling, philosophy, so to speak, was collaboration. We were part of a informal, homeschool collaborative. So parents took turns teaching, we hired some teachers. The course courses were very much the topics were child LED, or student led, whatever the kids were interested in, we would gather a critical mass of kids figure out what resources we would need and just kind of really get out of the way. As parents with my daughter, if it took her three days to read a chapter, or if she wanted to listen to an audio book from the library. You know, it was fine. Yeah, great. It was great. So I think through my experience, being a homeschool parent, what I brought away from that experience was that learning can be joyful. And that learning should be joyful, and that students or learners should be able to own their own learning, and should be able to set the pace should be very much involved in the assessment of their own learning. And that learners should be trusted to know their own learning. And so that was what really, I think fit with kind of the underlying principles of UDL, my personal beliefs about how learning should go and UDL. So then it was my job to kind of figure out how I could take my personal philosophy, the underpinnings of UDL, and kind of plug it into nursing education.

Lillian Nave  23:55

Yeah, and, and that lived experience is really important for how you need to sell education and educating people in a formal area outside of your home.

Jen Wallace  24:07

The more I dug into kind of the nursing literature, and the more I the more experienced, I got teaching, I really realized that the groundwork was already there. You know, just as Janet leedy. In that first article, I kind of stumbled upon said that we can do this that there’s already a call for a more accessible, innovative and inclusive curriculum in nursing education and UDL really fits nicely in some of the other kind of connections that have been made in the literature and kind of in my own head that just helped that fit even more. Was that there is a call to diversify our nursing workforce. Not only is there a shortage of nursing now, and there will be, there’s predictions to have an even bigger nursing shortage at a time when we really need nurses. There’s also a call to diversify our nursing workforce. Because we know now a lot more about social determinants of health. And when our clients and our communities can be cared for nurses who look like them, and speak the same language as them, that it’s just better for health of individuals and health of communities. And so that, UT that learner variability in intentional design can really help us create those inclusive curriculums that can better meet the needs of our diverse student body. And it’s our particular program, it really that learner variability really hit home. Our not only our students in our program, racially, culturally, language, gender diverse, but they also have diversity in their preparation. Prior to coming to our program. We have students who are first generation, English is not their primary language. We also have students who have graduate degrees in other disciplines, and are coming to nursing as a second career. We have also students who are they’re all adult learners, the average ages in their early 30s. They many of them, attempted nursing school, at the traditional time, kind of right after high school. And for a multitude of reasons were not successful. Some of the reasons they’ve shared with me that they were not successful were immaturity, they had to drop out of school to care for aging parents, or like infirmed family members or special needs children. illness, finance, unintended pregnancies, all reasons that students aren’t successful at one point, but 10 years later, come back to school. So that variability is just incredible. It’s also variability in their clinical experience, something that’s really important in nursing, we have students who have never worked clinically, before. And then we have other students who have been rock star medical assistants or nurse’s aides or licensed practical nurses who come with a wealth of experience, all in the same classroom. Yeah, so it’s kind of cool to think about all that UDL has to offer all of those students who, who learn together and it’s really, in my mind become one of the strengths of our program, especially around collaborative learning. student led projects, we’ve been able to tap into all kinds of strengths that the students bring with them.

Lillian Nave  28:31

You know, throughout the whole time, you’re explaining your answer, I wanted to paint this picture for our listeners to because we don’t have a video for for the final cut, but I’m able to see your hands coming together and interlacing your fingers. So often, when you’re talking about the variability of your learners, right, and that there’s so many out there, and I know you’re in a large metropolitan area, I mean, you’re right outside Boston. So you’ve got just every kind of learner, every kind of person, an age variability, ethnic diversity, language, diversity, and it starts to make me think as you were describing all of those things. And as you’re bringing all these people together as you interlace your fingers and bring your hands together to show the number of learners in your classroom, that it’s that perhaps learn nurse education, did not have that in the forefront of the design mind that created that nursing education, because you’re so excited about and seeing that learner variability as a strength, you know, how can we leverage all of these learners in our classrooms so that we can learn from each other, we can pull those various strengths, not deficits, but see these as strengths. Because as as you said, Have those different learners become certified nurses, a qualified nurses is going to be better for the community at large for all of the people everywhere, right? If we can get that diversity of learners, the skills that they need to serve their family and their community, we are all better for it.

Jen Wallace  30:23

Absolutely, absolutely. And in. And when you were talking, it brought me back to that meme assignment that I had, that I loved so much in that foundations of higher ed course. Because I am a very visual person. And I think that images can tell a lot about, you know, a topic. So my thinking about trends, that was the assignment for the mean project. I had two images side by side, the first image of the first image on the meme was who I think I’m teaching. And it was a picture from the 50s of nursing students. A vintage, beautiful, old vintage photograph of nursing students lined up a long old style brick nursing school. All white? Yeah, not only dressed in all white skin, all white. Their hemlines were perfect. Like, you could fall with a ruler. Oh, wow. No, they were different heights, their hair lines were all the same. And they were in the exact same position, all with caps. So that’s who I who I was teaching to, in my mind. Yes. And that was kind of the, you know, many nursing programs that are very traditional in nature. That’s who their students are. But then the next image was this kind of mishmash, this crowd of multicultural learners. They were tall people, they were short people, they were black people, they were brown people. They were dreads. You know, they were tattoos. And they’re all smiling, and they’re all happy and they’re all hugging. And I thought this, these are my students. Yeah, this is who I’m teaching to. Yeah, this is this is the learner variability that’s here. So that came to mind just when you were talking?

Lillian Nave  32:40

Well, yeah, it’s so true. And that’s what many of my conversations are about who we really do have in our classes? And is our design really focused on those students? Or is our design focused on an idea of what it used to be or what we thought it used to be? Or what we think it is, but it really isn’t. So I really appreciate your bringing in actual reality, you know, what we have in our classroom? So you started already with your education you buddy for nurse education, with infusing universal design for learning. So I wanted to ask about that welcome video you made for incoming students to just put it right into practice right away.

Jen Wallace  33:26

Yeah, it was so fun. It was so fun. So as you mentioned, we were together in the online learning toolkits. Camp, cool camp operation, online learning. laughs Oh, it

Lillian Nave  33:39

was so fun. Yes.

Jen Wallace  33:40

So fun. So fun. So one of the they weren’t really assignments, but one of the opportunities, so to speak was to make a welcome video. And yours was very cool.

Lillian Nave  33:53

Yes, I go cave diving, right cave exploring with my students. Right. And I loved yours.

Jen Wallace  34:00

So ours was so fun. The It was awesome to be able to do camp cool. With my three colleagues, Mary’s entus, Mary Lou Keller, her and Ruth Lackey. And Mary Lou Keller was actually with us in spirit Mountain Camp. But, um, we just had such a ball together. And along with other nurse educators, we formed our own little kind of sub community of practice. But the welcome video was an opportunity to create a video to welcome students into our courses. Karen Costa was one of the facilitators of the program. And she had just written a book called 99 tips for creating simple and sustainable educational videos. So I had just devoured that book. when it arrived, so I had that kind of those tools, she talked about welcome videos in the book, and then what we learned about welcome videos in the content of cool camp. So we created this video to welcome students into our what would have been the fall course, fall 2020 course, because we knew that students would be coming into that semester with likely a lot of residual trauma from the pivot to online learning. In the previous semester, we also had students again, our students or adults, many of them had been working, clinically caring for COVID patients, or had had spouses that lost jobs. Were coming in with financial worries, we’re coming in with the unknown of a brand new course in nursing. Our courses the third out of fourth, four courses, so our students are coming in as juniors. So the work really ramps up junior year. We also knew that students didn’t know us, and that we were anticipating because of COVID safety protocols. Being in the hyflex hybrid classroom, with masks, face shields, standing in front of the classroom, some students in front of us some students on zoom, so a lot of physical barriers to making that connection. So we came up with this welcome video idea to together literally welcome students in to the class, the course. So we each videotaped a very short introduction on our phones, we made sure that we were all outside or in front of a bright, sunny window, that we we kept our tone approachable and friendly. We told a little bit about personally who we are and why we enjoy doing what we’re doing. Our course coordinator, Mary’s entus gave some kind of basic information about the course some overview. We really also wanted to let students know that it would be this would be a course that they would not only be welcomed into, but one that we wanted them to feel a sense of belonging, and camaraderie and community. So we also wanted to make the video accessible. So we some of the tools we used were screencast ematic. We use closed captioning, we made sure we had a written transcript, we made sure that there was an audio file that the students could listen to that summer. While we were creating that video. I read Tom Tobin and Kristen banelings book reach everyone teach everyone. So I kind of had in my mind accessibility on a mobile device. Knowing that many of my students couldn’t come commute long distances from work to home or work to school. So we wanted to make sure that they could access that video on their device. We used an unlisted link on YouTube to kind of keep it somewhat private, and accessible only to people that had the link. And we posted it to our learning management system, which is Moodle a few weeks before the course started. But then knowing that many students wouldn’t have watched it the first night of the class. We included it as part of our kind of formal orientation on that first night of class, which we were so happy about. Because by the time that first night of class came we were knee deep into safety protocols. Yeah. All you could literally see of us was like our eyes. Wow. And for the students. The students were fully masked, you know, many of them had eye protection on and so that we could we felt really grateful and thankful that we had a way to show them our faces and they could see us as real human beings.

Lillian Nave  39:57

Yeah, you know, I must say that I I have had to go to a lot of doctor’s appointments with a family member. And every during this COVID, right, and every person is wearing masks and oftentimes the face shields, and I have noticed in the last year, more and more doctors offices and hospitals are putting pictures of unmasked doctors. So you know, or and nurses and, and all of and the support staff, so you actually know who you’re talking to, or who you’re dealing with or what your physician looks like, right? Because otherwise, you really just have a very anonymous massed person. And when you’re dealing with health care, that’s a very personal thing. So having that welcome video, especially for something like nursing, medical school, or if something practical or clinical, when you have to be wearing safety precautions, I mean, I could even see this in something that would be very technical, you know, if you have to wear a melt, welding mask, right, or something like that, where you’re obscuring who you are, but you need to trust that person, you need to know who that person is to have a video that somebody could could at least relate to or know what you look like and, and get a sense that you’re approachable. And that welcome, that you may not be able to do if you’re face to face in a you know, during COVID. Or, or if that clinical rotation or that technical position requires you to be, you know, in full gear, I can see this as a really great way to create a bridge that trust and start that that community that camaraderie and that I guess relationship is what I’m looking for. Right?

Jen Wallace  41:50

Yeah. And that whole what you just described, and what our experience was actually was an innovation that happened at the bedside with clinical nurses, and respiratory therapists and other professionals who are caring for COVID patients. And not only were they masked with eye protection, like we were in the classroom, but they were suited up from head to toe and caring for scared. sick patients who were I can only imagine tremendously overwhelmed. in intensive care units. direct care providers started wearing their pictures taped to the front of their scrubs are full peopIe for that exact reason. Wow.

Lillian Nave  42:48

Yeah, just amazing. So and I really appreciate the way you are providing this design thinking in in your nurse education. So okay, so another question to go further is can you share about this UDL related faculty development, you’re doing faculty development work you’re doing for nurse educators?

Jen Wallace  43:14

Sure. So although this wasn’t formally, Faculty Development, it was sharing this welcome video with colleagues outside of our course. So in the fall, our local chapter of the nln, the National League for nursing which is our professional organization for nurse educators, the Marlin or Massachusetts, Rhode Island League of nursing, every spring and fall we host conference. So our conference in the fall was virtual. So we had the opportunity to participate in a virtual poster presentation. So we created a poster to share the process of making the welcome video. The title of the poster was using Universal Design for Learning to welcome students into a maternal child health course. It was a very cool experience. We were asked ahead of time to submit the poster, and also a video a companion video recording of us explaining the project. And each poster was given a breakout room at the conference and we had virtual wine and cheese. Just like if we were at a real conference. Yeah, real in person conference and nurse educators who are participating could pop in and ask questions from the poster. presenters. So that was, that was really fun. We we got a lot of interest in some great questions. Um, one of the the other one of the early faculty development offerings that I collaborated on with faculty from the Regis college education department, Julie Spector was titled, learning disabilities in nursing education. Nursing School is like riding a bike. And that was a play on a new if you’ve ever seen the mug, all kinds of other things besides plug in different things besides nursing school. Nursing School is like riding a bike, except the bike is on fire. Okay, everything’s on fire. Yes, yeah. It’s kind of the inspiration for the topic. Okay. Um, and we talked about disabilities in nursing education, or students with disabilities in nursing education. And we offered UDL as one of the strategies to kind of support students with nursing with learning disabilities. And it was really cool for me, because it was the first formal opportunity that I had had to collaborate with someone, again, stepping outside of my comfort zone of nursing, to co present with someone with education hat on. And so that was really kind of heady. We also, I also got some confirmation during that presentation of ours, that nurse educators don’t have a really good understanding about the American Disabilities Act. Okay. We understand accommodations. We, but as far as the specifics of the law, and our role in upholding that as far as accessibility, we really have kind of a knowledge gap there, which is supported in the literature. And we knew that we suspected that going in, we used some polling during the presentation, to kind of query the audience. Yeah. So that was a really cool connection for me to make going forward. Okay. Um, so those were probably the two biggest one I this past. During earlier in this semester, I had the opportunity to co present with another on nurse educator, Fabiola Lalanne day. And we did a faculty development presentation called using zoom to facilitate student engagement and formative assessment. So although it wasn’t formally a UDL presentation, we didn’t use the word UDL. When I was designing the slides, it was very much UDL ized. So yeah. Which was really fun for me to kind of be behind the scenes, creating this UDL, like, slide deck.

Lillian Nave  48:41

Yeah. Oh, great. So I’ve heard several different ways that you are making your nurse education program into a much more engaging program using universal design for learning. But I’d also like to ask you about advice. What advice would you have to give others who say that nurse education is fixed? It’s very demanding. It has fixed rules and high stakes testing. So how could you possibly incorporate Universal Design for Learning in this very fast paced, high stakes kind of educational environment? that’s required in nurse education? Because that’s the question I get a lot and I say, wait a minute, I’m going to talk to Jen Wallace. And maybe she can answer this for me.

Jen Wallace  49:34

Well, certainly, certainly, I’m, I’m no expert. I’m just somebody who has taken some time to kind of, you know, take some time and some opportunities to connect the dots. So I’m certainly certainly no expert. But what I I actually wrestled a lot with that exact same question in my head. Because nursing education is highly regulated, there is a major licensure exam at the end in order to, you know, ensure that we’re producing nurses that are safe and effective.

Lillian Nave  50:17

Right. We want that we want to make sure nurses are safe and efficient. Yes.

Jen Wallace  50:21

Right. Absolutely. And I think that there is a belief and an assumption that maybe something like UDL is you mentioned early on in our conversation. It’s kind of great for the Humanities. Yeah, it’s great for the English majors. But nursing. You know, there’s a, I think that there’s a belief that UDL will somehow reduce the rigor.

Lillian Nave  50:47

Right, right. I get that a lot that it might dumb it down. And make it too easy.

Jen Wallace  50:53

Yes, yes. Yes. Which I really, truly do not believe is true. Yes. Um, and so I’ve kind of been collecting it over, you know, the past few years, collecting little pieces of evidence, so to speak. So when I’m asked this question, I can say, but yes. Let’s look at what the evidence says. So what the evidence said, tells me that nursing education is ripe for something like UDL. And maybe this is at this point in time, this is a moment when we can kind of integrate UDL in to nursing education more, in some of those pockets of evidence are that our professional organization that guides nursing education. nln has called for innovative and inclusive curriculum to support diverse learners. Okay, um, the nln has had more of an emphasis in blog posts and conferences around brain base, learning, neuroscience, cognitive science, the science behind learning. So again, stepping away from our discipline of nursing and bringing in more neuroscience and kind of educational principles. Nursing is highly regulated, and one of the regulatory bodies for us is asen. And that’s the end credit Accreditation Commission for education in nursing. And my preceptor, Goodwin University, Robin kanoya, was actually invited by asen. Recently to do a poster presentation, I’m sorry, a podium presentation about UDL in nursing education. And although there’s not a lot in the literature, yet, there are a few great, great write ups of application in nursing education, one was a fundamentals course, which would be one of the first courses in nursing school was built on UDL principles, and another was DNP or a Doctor of Nursing Practice program being built on UDL principles. So those are two wonderful examples at either end of the spectrum for video, in my, in my connections with other nurse educators interested in UDL, I have met on social media, and had some communication with nurses who have recently finished PhD programs in the the focus of their dissertation was UDL, which is very cool to think about, because certainly going forward, we’re going to need nursing research that supports the claim that we can have curriculum that’s been UDL alized and produce nurses that are safe and effective and can pass our very high stakes licensure exam. So I think that there is those are kind of some, just a few examples of kind of spaces in places that tell me that we might be ready, we might be ready for this.

Lillian Nave  54:58

That’s great. Yeah, I can already see in what you’ve done in, in your nursing educators program, how you have been welcoming, and supporting of variability of the, of the students that you have, or a variety I should say, of the students that you have. And, and it didn’t maybe didn’t work for them before because of life circumstances, a temporary disability or a temporary life change. And now you’re making it much more accessible for the people who want to do this, who, who have a chance to that they can finish. And they can do a good job and that you make it available for these folks, because we need nurses. And we’re going to need a wide variety of nurses for our wide variety of people that we have in the United States and, and elsewhere. So I thank you so much for your time, in thinking about these issues. And in working so hard, especially in the last several years, to bring Universal Design for Learning to our nurse educators program. I think we’ve got a lot to learn. And clearly we’ve got a long way to go. Right, we’ve got more to do. But thank you so much, Jen, for for taking the time to speak with me today.

Jen Wallace  56:26

Oh, you’re very welcome. It’s been really fun. And thank you for for all you’re doing to make with this podcast, and all the other work that you’re doing to really kind of make UDL accessible to people like me, who had been very siloed in my discipline for a really long time.

Lillian Nave  56:46

Right, right, that those silos, those, those things that keep us cut off from others. And we’re finding now how important that community is to learn from each other, as you said, somebody who’s in a different discipline, who sees the world in a different way, that different perspective, that has helped me so much. So thank you. Thank you for for taking the time to talk with me.

Jen Wallace  57:09

It’s great thanks.

Lillian Nave  57:22

You can follow the think UDL podcast on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to find out when new episodes will be released, and also see transcripts and additional materials at the think udl.org website. The think UDL podcast is made possible by college star the star stands for supporting transition, access and retention in post secondary settings, and the website provides free resources and instructional aides based on UDL principles. If you’d like to know more, go to the college star.org website. Additional support for the podcast is made possible by Appalachian State University where if you call it Appalachian, I’ll throw in Appalachia. The music on the podcast was performed by the Odyssey quartet comprised of Rex Shepherd, David pate, Bill Folwell and Jose coach has our sound engineer is Tanner Jones and I am your host, Lillian Nave. Thank you for joining us on the think UDL podcast.