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Integrating UDL in Ontario, Canada, and beyond with Jodie Black

On Episode 12 of the ThinkUDL podcast: Integrating UDL in Ontario with Jodie Black, host Lillian Nave talks with Jodie Black, a Teaching and Learning Specialist at Fleming College in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada. Jodie and Lillian discuss the UDL initiatives she and her colleagues are undertaking at her college and across Ontario. Jodie tells us how UDL is being introduced in the quality assurance processes and how UDL is infused in program and course design frameworks, in teaching & learning days, and in the New Faculty Experience at Fleming College. We also branch out into how Jodie is disseminating this information at conferences all over Ontario and the world, and get a recap of her experience at the AHEAD conference in Ireland. Finally, Jodie shares with us about the mindset shift that must accompany UDL implementation (which comes from her chapter co-written with Ruth Fraser that appears in Transforming Higher Education Through Universal Design for Learning: An International Perspective, and her new book, co-written with Eric Moore, UDL Navigators in Higher Education: A Field Guide, which details the needed work of UDL specialists and coordinators in Higher Education.


Follow Jodie Black on Twitter: @jodieblack32

Fleming College: Here is a look at Fleming College in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada

Transforming Higher Education Through Universal Design for Learning: An International Perspective: Jodie Black and her colleague Ruth Fraser wrote chapter 14 “Integration Through Collaboration: building strategic faculty partnerships to shift minds and practices.” She speaks about one of those mind shifts during the podcast and mentions the others.

UDL Navigators in Higher Education: A Field Guide: Jodie Black and co-author Eric Moore  details the needed work of UDL specialists and coordinators in Higher Education and provides a roadmap for the work ahead!

Here are several links Jodie provided for anyone interested in learning more about the AHEAD Ireland conference and the Guelph conference she mentioned in today’s episode.

AHEAD Ireland – general website

AHEAD Ireland – UDL page

AHEAD Ireland – conference info

AHEAD Ireland – conference videos

Accessibility at Guelph conference
CAST: The Center for Applied Specialized Technology explains the UDL guidelines and offer resources for all educators interested in applying the UDL framework.


Will be available as soon as possible.

[Lillian]  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.  [Music] 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.


Thank you for joining me for episode twelve of the Think UDL podcast: Integrating UDL into systems in Ontario, with Jodie Black.  Today, I talk with Jodie Black, a teaching and learning specialist at Fleming College in Peterboro, Ontario, Canada.  In this episode, Jodie and I talk about the UDL initiatives she and her colleagues are undertaking at her college and in greater Ontario.  Jodie tells us how UDL is infused in program and course design frameworks, quality assurance processes, the new faculty experience, and teaching and learning days at Fleming College.  We also branch out into how Jodie is disseminating this information at conferences all over Ontario, and get a recap of her experience at the AHEAD conference in Ireland.  Finally, Jodie shares with us about her writings.  First, The Mindset Shift that must accompany UDL implementation, and second: her new book, UDL Navigators in Higher Education: A Field Guide, which is co-written with Eric Moore, and it will be available May 28, 2019.  Jodie, thank you so much for joining me on the Think UDL podcast!


[Jodie]  Awesome thanks for having me!  I’m glad to be here with you.


Well, we appreciate your time, and I’d love to ask you my first question, something I ask all my guests, and that is what makes you a different kind of learner?


[Jodie]  Good question for a UDL podcast.  For me, what makes me a different kind of learner, I guess the answer would be to that: it depends.  It really is contextual for me, and as it is for so many of us as we know from how learning operates within different contexts.  And so, in some contexts, if I know all the people I’m with or I’m with my kind of professional learning crew, I can be quite adventurous, or kind of risk-taking in some conversations.  When I’m with some people that I don’t know as well, perhaps I’d be a little bit more introspective first, before thinking about what I was going to share.  It depends as well on what I’m learning about, if I like to read it or talk about it or to watch a documentary about it, or how I process that information.  So, for me, I don’t know how different it is, but that’s what works for me in terms of my learning.  It really does depend on the context.


[Lillian]  Well, that’s really interesting too, because you bring up the social and emotional parts of learning in your definition there, you’re explication.

[Jodie]  Yeah, for sure.  I think that’s a very important part to my learning and definitely for other people as well.   And, when I would lean on the more–not necessarily introverted, but more on that end, and so I do find its easier for me to take risks in learning with people I’m comfortable with.  That’s one of the reasons why the UDL crew is such a great crew, because you’re kind of among your people, you can take lots of risks and there’s–its kind of designed that way, by design, with all of these like-minded folks.  So that’s, I think, one of the things that makes the UDL crew in general so supportive of professional learning for lots of people.


[Lillian]   Yeah, it really does, and you bring up that idea about who you’re with and how that environment really does set the tone for how we learn.  Its important that we offer that in your position, also in my position, when we’re working with faculty, to have those faculty think about what is that environment for the students, and how can they be comfortable to take those risks and really thinking about all those other things in the learning environment that we often do not pay attention to until a UDL specialist or somebody brings that idea up.  We should give as much attention to those things as we do the list of things we want the students to know, but also know those other things that go into how they feel while they’re learning.


[Jodie]  Yeah, totally.  And with–in my position too, we work with students, but mostly our students (in kind of air-quotes) are faculty.  And so, faculty are our primary learning group that we’re designing for.  And that is a big part of what we think about too, the social/emotional parts of faculty learning as well.  And how to set our learning environments up to provide options for faculty to get to choose what works for them in their learning, not just big conferences, not just reading circles, but a huge variety of things that work for them that they can choose from. 


[Lillian]  That’s brilliant.  Its brilliant that you’re thinking of that and you’re implementing that in all of your dealings with faculty.  So you are a teaching and learning specialist, and that means you a college-wide influence, so you’re working with faculty across the board at Fleming College in Peterboro, Ontario, is that right?


[Jodie]  Yep, that’s correct.  So in my role, there’s a few teaching and learning specialists, and a couple learning technology specialists that are part of our team.  And our team has a college-wide role.  So, Fleming has four campuses, and different sites around the region, and so our team works with faculty members in program areas and service areas across the college and across each campus. 


[Lillian]  That’s great.  And you’re working with a whole variety of things, so I was hoping today we could talk about some of those different areas where you are implementing the UDL framework and using UDL to reach those faculty, and I was really interested, first of all, to hear about the course design framework that you work on there. 


[Jodie]  Yeah.  So, one of the things that we are working on is re-vamping our program and course design framework.  And they’re always in a state of becoming, as all things are. 


[Lillian]  Yes, that’s good.

[Jodie]  But, in our current ideation, what we’re trying to integrate is more of a kind of a seamless UDL influence into curriculum design at both the program course and quality assurance review levels.  So, throughout the life cycle of a program, there would be a UDL influence throughout that.  So, it may not be called out as the UDL checkbox, and that’s by design.  So, in, for example, the course design framework, clear goals, learning outcomes, critical, right?


[Lillian]  Yes.

[Jodie]  So, we work with program level and course level programs, or we work with program level and course level outcomes.  At the program level, while some of those are mandated by industry, or the province,  the ministry, some are within Fleming’s control, and to re-design.  So, one of the ways that we’ve layered UDL into our development and review of outcomes, either at the course or the program, course, or lesson level, we have an outcome to do with learning expertise that we’re trying to weave in.  So, to be intentional about those at the program level.  Its very early days, very early.  But, the main goal of this ideation of these frameworks is to weave UDL throughout, so its not a siloed thing.  Its not exclusively to do with accessibility, its not exclusively one department’s initiative, but it is woven throughout.


[Lillian]  Is this something that is over a course design institute over a few days, is this something where you’re meeting with the faculty week by week, or how is it you’re implementing this?


[Jodie]  Yeah, so currently, we don’t have a course design institute, but that is something that we’d like to do.    We’ve done kind of bootcamps before in the May/June period for faculty who are doing course re-design, primarily.  So, we’re helping them work through the framework and that’s been quite successful as creating that little professional learning group and its multidisciplinary, but with a similar focus of course, re-design and there’s been some great things that have come out of that.  Our team also is involved with new program development.  So, when a new program is being developed, our team is the primary contact, the teaching and learning specialist is the primary contact to support the faculty, as the subject matter experts with the curriculum development.  So, we’re part of that process as well, so that would be another touch point of this framework.


[Lillian]  So, you’re reaching out to them at multiple points during the semester.

[Jodie]  Exactly.  And during the existing life cycle of a program.  So, its not–we’re trying not to have an additional thing, like an additional kind of UDL layer, its woven into just business as usual of teaching and learning excellence.


[Lillian]  Well that’s fantastic! 

[Jodie]  Yeah!  Well, we’re trying.  Its certainly not seamless yet, or perfect as we all know.  But that’s the intent behind it as we’re kind of re-designing and re-thinking our frameworks.


[Lillian]  So, is that also part of the quality assurance process?

[Jodie]  Yes, again, we’re re-designing our quality assurance process this year, so the timing for change at that level has been good.   And, the intent there as well is to weave UDL throughout those processes.  That is kind of the next hill that we’re focusing on.  So, we started with program level, then course level, and now we’re going to focus on how we can weave a UDL approach intentionally through the quality assurance processes.  And, kind of starting with that intent, and that mindset that the goal is to integrate, not silo UDL.  So, and into existing processes and improving existing processes, so faculty–there’s a lot of buy-in, there’s familiarity, as part of a kind of changed management approach.


[Lillian]  That makes a lot of sense, instead of introducing an entirely new program or something that everybody has to learn or get on board with, these small nudges are much better received, I would think. 


[Jodie]  That’s right, yeah.  A nudge can go a long way.

[Lillian]  Yes, it can. 


[Jodie]  And it’s a good chance too to celebrate and acknowledge the things that faculty are doing already.  So when they see the work that they’re doing reflected, like, the great work that they’re doing to design for our learners, and to provide formative feedback, and to support social/emotional learning, and they see that reflected in the quality assurance processes, I think is really validating too to the work that they’re doing already. 


[Lillian]  Yeah, that’s really great feedback for those professors, for all of your instructors there.

[Jodie]  Yeah, so, like I said, very early days.  But, that is our next kind of hill to focus on with integrating UDL into some of our processes for our curriculum processes.


[Lillian]  Well that’s still very–its very impressive even though its in the early days.  As you know, UDL is relatively new to the higher ed world, and the more people like you who are integrating UDL into the fabric of the university, the more we all can learn from it and other universities could follow suit.  So, I’m glad to see that you’re already starting that, and would love to continue to keep up with how it continues.  That’ll be very instructive for the rest of us, so I appreciate that. 


[Jodie]  Well, we’re happy to share the experimentation.

[Lillian]  Excellent, that sounds fantastic.  

[Jodie]  Yep, that’s where the good learning is.


[Lillian]  So, you and your colleagues, you’ve got five people on your curriculum development team, is that right?

[Jodie]    Yep, right now that’s what we’re–that’s what we’ve got right now.


[Lillian]  And how many university faculty do you reach, or how many at Fleming College, or in your consortium, how many people do you think those five people are supposed to reach?


[Jodie]  I don’t know the number of full-time faculty that we have right now, but a lot of part-time faculty as well, which we call contract, I think you call adjunct.


[Lillian]  Yes, in the US, yes.

[Jodie]  So we’re expected to reach a lot of people and a lot of non-repeating people. 


[Lillian]  Right.

[Jodie]    So, for our full-time folks, we see them, they’re part of –they’re a recurring part of the academic planning, and course development, the kind of life cycle.  For some of our contract folks, they are as well, in a very recurring way.  They’ve been teaching with us for years.  And, some folks might just kind of parachute in to teach one course, and their lives move on, and they may not be teaching with us again.  So, we have different kind of types of faculty in terms of their hiring and their employment status that we work with that makes it sometimes harder or easier to connect with them. 


[Lillian] Yeah.

[Jodie]  And one of the consistent things is that whatever faculty we’re working with, their enthusiasm, their interest, all of those things, are amazing, like regardless of how long they’ve been teaching in general, right, and so that’s been great.  But, yeah, there’s a lot of faculty to reach for just a few of us, that’s for sure.


[Lillian] Wow, and so, you’ve got a lot of work ahead of you.  Even though you’ve got a great start, but you’ll be continuing to make a dent in this. 

[Jodie]  That’s right.  And with that too, our focus really is about building systems.  Because we are five people, like we can’t–the cornerstone of our strategy can’t be individual interactions.  It can be–that can be a part of it, but we really are focusing on building UDL and building teaching and learning excellence into systems, so that they’re supporting folks even if we’re not there. 


[Lillian]   Yeah.

[Jodie]  And we’re building capacity and our faculty have a lot of great expertise in curriculum as well, and are always learning more.  But, that’s one of the things our team is trying to do is to create more systems to support that, so they’re not relying on five people.


[Lillian]  Right.  Well, that’s fantastic.  So, when you have new faculty that come in, that’s a great time to get them started with Universal Design for Learning.  So, I was wondering if you could help us understand what you do at Fleming College with your new faculty experience, as you call it.


[Jodie]   Yeah, for sure.  So, our new faculty experience started, I think, two years ago, three years ago.  And it is a program that our team designed for new full-time faculty hires.  So, we recognize limitations in that, that there are certainly more folks that we want to reach, but that is where we started.  And so over the last–I think its been two years and we’ve had three takes–we’ve had probably about thirty-five or forty hires that have completed this program.  And, UDL is woven throughout the program.  So the structure of the program right now is a one-week intensive and typically its been an August intensive, but we experimented with a winter intake that had December intensive this year.  And then we meet as a cohort biweekly.  And, people are workloaded in, they are paid for this, it is–their schedules are cleared, so we have–its not the primetime slot, but its Fridays from 2-4


[Lillian]  Yeah–that’s yeah.  That’s about all they can do.

[Jodie]  That’s right.  And so throughout those Friday meetings, we do things like micro-teaches, we do peer assessment, reflective practice, we meet with other partners in the college, so we support the faculty with getting kind of linked in to the network of the college, too, through student services and academic policies, and all types of different partners that they would work with.  So, UDL is integrated both into that intensive and in the ongoing Fridays, as well, in lots of different ways.


[Lillian]   Wow, so have you had any –have you seen any results from this, either anecdotally or what you’ve heard from those participants who have been in this program so far?


[Jodie]   Yeah, anecdotally, we get very strong feedback from our participants.  Sometimes our full-time hires , like I said, have been teaching for years , these folks aren’t green to teaching.    And so, when you’re hired and said you have to be here for a week in August and every other Friday through the school year, they’re not always super-enthused to start with.


[Lillian]   Yeah, right.

[Jodie]   But, it quickly changes.  And, the community that is built, the expertise that the faculty bring, the focus on learning, on the faculty’s learning and the students’ learning is the cornerstone and in this we model UDL throughout, in our facilitation and design, and talk about how we have used it.  We bring in–on the first day, we talk about who are learners and about learner variability, just very high level–like, its not a super-deep dive, but just that it exists, right?  That our students are highly variable, but we can plan for that.  And setting some of those  expectations, I guess, setting some of those ideas in place about what teaching can look like as part of this teaching community that we build in the new faculty experience. 


[Lillian]  What a great community that you have created there, and something that is so needed for our–especially new, green teachers.  But, what a fantastic community for anybody, even with a lot of experience, so that’s great.


[Jodie]  That’s it, and we’re hoping this year to expand it to not just full-time hires.  So, that’s our goal for this intake.  So, we’ll see, stay tuned, but I think it’d just be awesome.  I’m really hopeful that we can get that –get others involved this year as well.  So, some of our — any faculty member, part-time, contract, full-time for the last twenty years, if they want to be part of this cohort, they are more than welcome, and that we have the resources to do that.  So, we’re excited about that possibility.


[Lillian]   What a fantastic idea, I love it, that’s really great for your faculty and for your students, as well, if they’ve got well-supported faculty.


[Jodie]  That’s right, its all about the students at the end of the day, and our kind of influence on that has a lot to do with the faculty community building and professional development, for sure.


[Lillian]  That’s great.  So, you are also involved in something else called, you said, the teaching and learning days.  How is that different, what are you doing there? 


[Jodie]   So, the teaching and learning days is again a college-wide professional learning day that is organized by the team that I work with, the learning design and support team, with other faculty members as well.   And its–typically we’ve had kind of three a year, at the middle of fall and winter semesters and at the start of the spring semester.  And they are one day professional  learning kind of events where faculty from across the college share things that they’re working on.  We share kind of comp share backs from conferences that folks have been to.  There’s room for kind of policy or procedure updates, and that kind of information sharing, as well, that impacts teaching and learning.  And, of course, sharing of best practices too.  So, its been great.  So we had one just a couple of weeks ago and it was the–we had kind of a stream, and the first session was facilitated by me and one of our accessibility counselors, and it was “UDL and accessibility: what’s the difference.”  And then the second session in that stream was about accessible documents and creating accessible media materials facilitated by our accessibility facilitator.  And then in the afternoon, we had a student panel that had students and some specialists and our learning strategist and myself, about Autism Spectrum Disorder and the college student.  So, it was about ASD and college with lots of students talking about their experiences, and it was great.  So that was kind of, one of the streams that we had put together.


[Lillian]  How instructive for your faculty, this is really fantastic. 

[Jodie]  Yeah, it was really helpful and, like on the ASD panel, too we talk about, like, its great because the students share their experiences, the clinicians share kind of their experiences, and then the faculty that share, well UDL is really the solution for lots of things.  And then the students are like “yeah that’s what we like, we like when teachers do those things.”  Right?  By design, not just for being those types of interactions and supporting each other with that is really cool for the faculty too.


[Lillian]   So are these full day events, like a 9-4 or something like that?

[Jodie]  Yeah, usually they’re like 9ish to 3ish. 


[Lillian]   And are they just in the middle of the semester or is it on a day like a day where there aren’t classes, or how is it that you are able to get faculty to come on those days?


[Jodie]   Yeah, good question.  It isn’t mandatory, so folks who are there, want to be there.  Our numbers that–we’ve had the highest numbers this year, ever, which is great.  And, the dates that we pick are–we try to plan on, you know, we call it week eight, our like our  “break week” in the fall and winter.  So, we try to plan it on our break week so that everyone can get there.  We all know what time’s like on those break weeks, its pretty competitive to get a spot.  But, we book early, and advertise a lot, and have good food and good sessions and we do get a decent turnout.  So, the spring is usually our highest, the winter is usually our lowest, and the fall is usually kind of in the middle. 


[Lillian]  Ok and that’s for everybody at Fleming College that wants to participate, all of your faculty and so adjuncts or I guess you would call contract, right?


[Jodie]  Yep, and everybody, staff,  student services, administrators, everybody is welcome because everybody has a part in learning, so everybody is welcome.


[Lillian]  Ok.  Brilliant, I love that example, and especially the panel that you mentioned about students on the Autism spectrum.  We have so many more students in higher ed who, we know, are on the Autism spectrum, they might have been before, we just didn’t know it, but we have so many more going into higher ed, and such a variety of students going into higher ed, that we need to be designing for all of those students.  And we, for many years, haven’t been.  And so I so appreciate that you at Fleming College and your host of faculty is now well-aware and able to reach all of those students, that’s a fantastic program. 


[Jodie]  Yeah, its been good, and great to have students involved, that’s definitely been the highlight, for sure.


[Lillian]  You guys are very busy, and doing incredible things!  So, what about sharing out and telling others about that?  Is there a lot of conference participation for what you and your colleagues are doing up there? 


[Jodie]  Yeah, we’re trying to.  And so this year, like, its kind of the conference season, right?  So we’re going to what’s called the SODAL retreat.  Its at the university here in town, about the scholarship of teaching and learning.    We want to integrate more of that into our practice, as well, and be more intentional about some of those aspects with our faculty.  We do king of the circuit here in Ontario.  I’m on a panel here in a few weeks about UDL, and a colleague and I, Darla Batten Kearney at Mohawk, and I do a session at the Goff Accessibility Conference this year in Ontario about UDL and accessibility, and kind of what’s the difference, and knowing how they’re the same and how they’re different can help you with the practice of both.  So, something else cool that’s on the horizon is Darla Batten Kearney at Mohawk and Danny Smith from George Brown, two other colleges here in Ontario, and I are putting together under Mohawk’s leadership and Darla’s amazing leadership a UDL conference for higher ed.  So we’re launching that next April, in April 2020, in Hamilton, Ontario.  So, it will be at Mohawk College, the dates will just–we’ll be sure to send them out once they’re totally confirmed, we’re just waiting on a couple things.  But, the focus of this conference is exclusively higher ed and exclusively UDL.


[Lillian]  Wow, fantastic. 

[Jodie]   So, yeah we’re pretty pumped.  And so there’ll be colleges and universities, there’ll be lots of folks there.  And, the agenda really is going to be driven by the people who are there. And so we’re really hoping to get some folks from outside of Ontario as well to join us because we don’t want to get in our own little Ontario bubble, its great to have outside voices.  So, that’s something to watch for, too, if you’re looking for an April conference.  And then we’ve in the spring I went to the AHEAD conference in Ireland, it was great, so had a chance to go over there and participate in that as well.  So, we’ve had some good opportunities for learning and for sharing. 


[Lillian]   So, what would you say, are the most important things that you’ve learned in the conferences that either you’ve been presenting at or going to in your area, and then I’m going to ask the same thing about the AHEAD conference, so I’ll start with those conferences you were mentioning in Ontario.  What are the most important takeaways that you have had going to and presenting at those conferences?


[Jodie]  Yeah, I think one of the big themes that I’m seeing in the Ontario context is because we have legislation in Ontario about accessibility, its called the Accessibility for Ontarions with Disabilities Act, colleges are aware of accessibility and I think UDL has gotten kind of in that same realm, it hasn’t been clarified that its not just about accessibility, its about expert learning, and accessibility is critical to a UDL design, but it can’t stop there.  Its about expert learning and developing that intentionally with all your learners, that is the main– is our ultimate goal there.  So one of the themes that I’m seeing in the Ontario context is that clarification between these two frames and these two ways of thinking, and how they support each other but also how they are different, because that’s really critical with planning strategically about how to support the integration of UDL so that it isn’t just to do with AODA, that’s often “well, I’m doing AODA”


[Lillian]   What is–can you explain AODA for our US listeners?

[Jodie]   Oh yes.  AODA is the Accessibility for Ontarions with Disabilities Act.  It has multiple sections to it, but one of the sections that impacts our schools as educators is the accessible media materials section.  So, creating accessible documents, creating videos with closed captions, you know, accessible online courses, those important things.  There’s often confusion between accessibility and what Universal Design for Learning is and how it informs your design.


[Lillian]   So is that in Ontario different from the rest of Canada, or is it pretty similar and Ontario is even more structured in that, or what would you say?


[Jodie]  Yeah, our–across Canada, there’s different legislation provincially.  So, Ontario was the first with accessibility legislation.  I can’t remember what other provinces–I think B.C. has it now, I think maybe Manitoba, Nova Scotia’s on deck, but don’t quote me on that.  But there are other provinces that are kind of joining suit.  There’s also federal accessibility legislation that is on deck as well, and I don’t know how that will impact, but we will stay tuned and see.  I think, though, because of Ontario, the AODA put accessibility to more of the forefront in a very positive way, it was important and is important to have educators be thinking about accessibility intentionally and proactively and for resources to go towards them learning that and supporting that, and so we want to continue that as well as integrate UDL into curriculum so into goals, methods, materials, assessments, and processes to support that and the expertise like we talked about.


[Lillian]   Right.  So, that’s great!  So, in Ontario and all of your dealings with conferences there it seems like Universal Design for Learning is really ramping up and you’re spreading the word.  I want to know about AHEAD in Ireland, where you just went, and I know in talking with previous guests that the legislation for students with disabilities has also been a major mover of why UDL is being  used in higher ed in Ireland.  So, I would love to know, I wish I could’ve gone, I’m so glad you were able to go–yeah maybe next year–I would love to hear about your takeaways from that conference in Ireland?


[Jodie]  Yeah, it was such an awesome experience to be outside of the North American context and learn about the great work that’s happening in Ireland and across Europe, like there were people there from  all over Europe and talking about their practices with UDL.  And so, such great learning for me, and I got to meet a lot of people and learn about the work that they’re doing.  One of the things that really stood out to me and was commented often on by the participants  and by the other conference folks was the role that AHEAD has in shaping that culture around UDL and supporting multiple institutions and kind of taking a national leadership role in promoting and supporting Universal Design for Learning.  Which I just thought was awesome and some of the things that I learned, too, like in Canada we’re provincially–our education systems are provincial–and so, in Ireland, it is national.  So, there–even those differences made it seem to–as we’re talking about, one of the things that really facilitate this movement growing, and one of the things that are challenges for this movement growing, in a real way, like in an integrated, sustainable way, and the role of AHEAD in bringing people together, sharing resources, seemed to be a big part of that, which I thought was really cool. 


[Lillian]  Wow, and you were there, I know, with a book that was being released there that I have heard of and spoke with some of the authors before but that’s the Transforming Higher Education through Universal Design for Learning: An International Perspective, and that was edited by Shawn Bracken and Katie Novak, we’ll put that on our resources page when we talk to another chapter author, it was before the book came out, but we’ll put that up on our webpage for folks who are interested in getting that.  And, you wrote a chapter, can you tell us about what you and your co-author wrote about?


[Jodie]  Yeah, totally.  So, Ruth Frazier, my awesome friend and colleague from Douglas College in Vancouver, we wrote about shifting mindset when working with faculty.  So kind of from the—we took kind of the case study of accessibility services folks, and what they can do to help faculty shift mindsets and lay that groundwork for a UDL approach.  Accessibility services doesn’t have to go it alone, there are partners to help faculty with integrating UDL.  So we had kind of five–there was five shifts in thinking that we had, and some different examples of how to apply those shifts in thinking in conversation with faculty.  So that was the focus of our chapter, so it was about shifting minds and practices, and really focusing on the shifts in thinking that need to accompany shifts in doing to make lasting change.


[Lillian]  Would you give us a small preview of what one of those shifts in thinking might be in helping folks move over to the UDL mindset?


[Jodie]  So, one of the shifts in thinking that we focused on was from kind of ad hoc implementation to intentional implementation.  And, so we wanted to recognize that there’s a lot of great ad hoc work happening with faculty and that lots of good UDL–things that seemingly align with the UDL approach are happening kind of organically, right?


[Lillian]  Right, it happens a lot and then we don’t know its called UDL .

[Jodie]  And we don’t know its called UDL, exactly.  So, we outlined five shifts of thinking to build a UDL mindset.  And, one of those shifts is from ad hoc to intentionality.  So we know there’s lots of amazing work happening that really aligns with the UDL framework, that the person doing it or designing for it might not call it UDL, or it might have happened and it might have really worked, but we didn’t really plan for it.  And so, one of the questions that we pose is how can we shift from and grow from ad hoc to more intentionality?  So, using those lessons that you learn in those ad hoc moments to then design with that same intentionality.  So sometimes, one of the things we come up with is, “was that UDL?”  And one of the questions I ask is “well did you need it to be?” Was it intentional?  And along that like–in the theory and practice book about expert learning and expert systems and expert teaching, that we are all getting–we are all continuing to get better, and so we kind of put these things along that spectrum as well.  Its not is it UDL, but how UDL is it?  And it can be more UDL, if its more intentional and if its directly aligned to your learning goals.  If those types of acknowledging that type of growth is possible, while not limiting the great things that happen in that ad hoc way.  And so those are some of the shifts that we outline and there’s five.  We shift from thinking about disability as a medical view to a social view, from learning labels to learning variability, from response to design and planning, and from accessibility to expert learning.  Yeah, trying to help clarify some of those underlying mindsets that help support UDL integration with folks.


[Lillian]   Wow, that sounds fantastic and we will make sure to put  link to that book which is available now.  And your chapter is chapter fourteen, which is “Integration through Collaboration: Building Strategic Faculty Partnerships to Shift Minds and Practices” by you, Jodie Black and your partner in crime or at least in writing, Ruth Frazier.


[Jodie]  Crime is also appropriate.

[Lillian]   Yes, that’s great.  Well that’s going to be really helpful I think for quite a few people who are in UDL coordinator or UDL specialist, that sort of position at an institute of higher ed all over in North America or Europe or all over the world, I would think. 


[Jodie]   Yeah, and the other chapters in the book are just awesome, like some of the work that’s happening is just wicked.  And so looking at systemic change, right, I think is just very exciting.  And how like inter-departmental collaborations and different multi-campus, like all these different partnerships are happening and so there’s some great reads in that book, for sure.


[Lillian]  Wow, that’s great, thank you so much for telling us a little more about your chapter there, and it seems you have a lot of things to share because you are doing so much, you are changing the teaching at Fleming College and I sure hope that you are going to tell us a lot more about it and maybe even have a book coming out, maybe at the end of this month, in fact I’m really excited because I know you do, it’s the UDL Navigators in Higher Education: A Field Guide with another friend and part of our UDL in higher ed cohort, Eric Moore at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, so can you tell us a little bit more about that book that’s coming out?


[Jodie]   Yeah, totally.  In the UDL community, we were seeing a lot of great information about what UDL is, and some great learning about how it looks in k through 12.  The big thing that we saw was missing was a higher ed context, number one, and number two is like how to integrate into systems.  Like, not just teaching strategies, those are critical, but not just the individual work, and that is critical work, like I don’t say it just to make it small.  But we wanted to look beyond individual classroom practices, and look at systems, and systems that support or detract from excellent faculty doing the excellent work they want to do.  And so our book is really focused on that UDL navigator role.  So, the person at the college or at the university who is trying to lead this UDL change and integration, and it could be a person or a collection of person, regardless of roles, trying to integrate UDL into these systems, and that’s what we’ve called a UDL navigator.  And that’s the main reason why we focused it in this way and why we wrote it, is we really saw a need in our own work and in the field for this type of field guide, and I always think “oh I wish there was a book for the things that I work on faculty with–or with faculty on,” sorry.    And, so we were like oh let’s try to put some of our ideas together of some of the things that we do or things that we would be thinking about if we were to kind of have a conversation with somebody whose in the field about what our work kind of looks like.  And so yeah that’s why we wanted to focus on this kind of field guide approach. 


[Lillian]   I see.  And that tells me the audience that you’re writing it for, folks that have a position like you and Eric have, or people who want to see some, not just minor changes, but systemic changes as well in higher ed with integrating UDL and what one could do to go about that.  So, can you tell us a little bit more about kind of what you have in the book, maybe just a little preview so we can run out and pre-order the book as soon as we hear this podcast.


[Jodie]   Certainly.  We focus on different elements of the kind of teaching and learning systems in higher ed.  So we start with a kind of a context setter about UDL in higher education, and some of the considerations that are unique in this context.  Because we know there’s a lot of –there’s historically been more focus on k to twelve, and UDL in higher ed is relatively new still.  So, we want to just set the stage of how we saw UDL in the context of higher ed.  And then we focus  a chapter on program-level design, a chapter on course-level design, a chapter on teaching and learning, and then technology and accessibility services in professional learning.  So we have a “UDL and” each of those topics for each chapter.  And weaving those together so you can read it start to finish–whoops, hit the microphone there–you can read it start to finish if you’d like, or you can dive in and read just a specific chapter, like the skinny book format really lends itself nicely to have it be practical and really based on what you can start using quite quickly in your practice


[Lillian]   Oh that’s great, that sounds incredibly useful and helpful for folks across campuses all over who can start implementing UDL or have heard about it and maybe they’re new to the position and now they’ve got a road map.  So, wow, very thankful that you and Eric were able to, I guess you don’t say set pen to paper anymore, like, tap on your keyboard to get this out to the rest of us.  So, thank you very much. 


[Jodie]   Oh, you’re welcome and stuff like we know from our fields that these are things that other folks are doing too, and so we’re really hopeful that this is just one contribution in this awesome growing field and that others can kind of share what they’re doing in these areas as well through our, you know, through our UDL in higher ed networks and we’re happy to be a part of that.


[Lillian]   That’s great.  Well, thank you so much, Jodie, I so appreciate your time in talking with me and in telling me and all of our listeners about all the things that you’re doing at Fleming College in Ontario, around the world, and the research you’ve been doing and getting out to the rest of us, its really very helpful and I know I want to get both of these books pre-ordered or ordered so that I can brush up on all the things that you and your colleagues have been doing to bring UDL and integrate it into colleges and systems.  So, thank you so much for joining me on the Think UDL podcast.


[Jodie]   Awesome and thank you for having me, and thanks for doing this type of podcast that gets the sharing and connecting and moving the field forward, its great.


[Lillian] Thanks, Jodie, I appreciate it.


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 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 aids based on UDL principles. If you’d like to know more, go to the website. Additional support for the podcast is made possible by Appalachian State University, where, if you call it Appalachian, I’ll throw an apple at you! The music on the podcast was performed by the Odyssey Quartet, comprised of Rex Shepherd, David Pate, Bill Folwell, and Jose Cochez. Our sound engineer is Tanner Jones and our social media coordinator is Ruben Watson. And I’m your host, Lillian Nave, thank you for joining us on the Think UDL podcast. [Music]

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