Welcome to Episode 30 of the ThinkUDL podcast: UDL for Faculty Development with Sarah Silverman.Sarah is the Program Facilitator at the Delta Program for Research, Teaching and Learning at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. And we had the opportunity to talk about how she incorporates UDL in her role as a faculty developer to help faculty and future faculty improve their teaching and learning. She has graciously provided her invaluable resources that she used at the Goodwin College +1 Transformation by Design Conference and you can find all of those helpful handouts including the outline of her session and the Instructor Development Cycle she mentions in the resources section of this episode on our ThinkUDL.org webpage. You can also reach out to her at firstname.lastname@example.org or look her up at the Delta Center website at the University of Wisconsin. You will find all of this contact information on our website as well. We had such an enlightening conversation that will be helpful and encouraging to those of you who work with higher education instructors to think about applying Universal Design for Learning principles in your work with faculty and future faculty! I learned so much from this conversation and I am glad to share this with you!
How to reach Sarah Silverman- email her is: email@example.com or find her at the Delta Program website and learn more about what she and her colleagues are doing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
Instructors are Learners Too: Here is Sarah Silverman’s outline for her presentation at the Goodwin College conference that she has generously shared with our listeners.
UDL Suggestions for Faculty Development: Another tremendous resource that Sarah has designed to help us think about applying UDL in our faculty development endeavors.
Instructor Development Cycle: This resource is from Richlin, L. (1995). Preparing the faculty of the future to teach. In W. A. Wright’s Teaching improvement practices: successful strategies for higher education Bolton, MA: Anker. Sarah would like to recognize her mentor, Dr. Cara Theisen, for introducing her to this model.
2nd Annual UDL in Higher Education Conference at Goodwin College +1 Transformation by Design Conference
[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.
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 30 of the ThinkUDL podcast: UDL for Faculty Development with Sarah Silverman. Sarah is the Program Facilitator at the Delta Program for Research, Teaching and Learning at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. And we had the opportunity to talk about how she incorporates UDL in her role as a faculty developer to help faculty and future faculty–meaning, graduate students–improve their teaching and learning. She has graciously provided her invaluable resources that she used at the Goodwin College +1 Transformation by Design Conference and you can find all of those helpful handouts including the outline of her session and the Instructor Development Cycle she mentions in the resources section of this episode on our ThinkUDL.org webpage. You can also reach out to her at firstname.lastname@example.org or look her up at the Delta Center website at the University of Wisconsin. You will find all of this contact information on our website as well. We had such an enlightening conversation that will be helpful and encouraging to those of you who work with higher education instructors to think about applying Universal Design for Learning principles in your work with faculty and future faculty! I learned so much from this conversation and I am glad to share this with you!
Welcome the Think UDL podcast. I am at the Goodwin College second annual Universal Design for Learning in Higher Education Conference in East Hartford, Connecticut, and today I have Sarah Silverman, who is the Program Facilitator at the Delta Program for Research, Teaching and Learning at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. And, she is here to give a presentation at the Transformation by Design, the +1 by Design Conference here about UDL and faculty development. So, I was really excited to get her insights about how we can apply Universal Design for Learning principles in faculty development. Usually, I’m talking to faculty who are doing that in their courses, and I really love the fact that she’s gone meta and is doing it in faculty development. So, Sarah, thank you so much for joining me today!
[Sarah] Yeah, thank you so much for having me. I’m really happy to be here, especially because I’ve been a listener of the Think UDL podcast for a while so, it’s a great honor.
[Lillian] Thank you, and I was really excited about seeing your presentation, so I’m really excited to talk to you. So, the first question I ask of my guests is what makes you a different kind of learner?
[Sarah] Great, thanks! I really like that question, actually, I have quite a bit to say. So, one of the funny things is that despite never really leaving school, going from high school to college to PhD, and straight on to a teaching and learning position, I actually don’t have a lot of success with traditional classroom learning. I’m an incredibly self-directed learner, and I do really well with independent project-based tasks, and I also was recently diagnosed as being on the Autism spectrum at the age of 27. So, pretty late in life for most people, and that gives me a little bit more context for my own learning style and differences. And, one other interesting thing about me as a learner is that the learning I do is in context of my religious tradition which is Judaism, which also has a very rich history of different learning formats which I draw upon in my teaching. And some of those include setting text to musical notes, sustained learning with a peer partner, and also learning projects that are designed to address real life questions and dilemmas. So, I’m always drawing on that as well.
[Lillian] Oh, fantastic. Wow, that is a very well thought out answer to this question, so, fantastic! So, you have really done a lot of thinking about Universal Design for Learning in your position at University of Wisconsin-Madison, and I am excited that you are sharing it here today. But, for all of those people who can’t be at the Goodwin Conference, I wanted to make sure they heard what you have to say today. So, you’re going to give a talk shortly, actually right after our interview, called “Instructors are Learners, too: UDL for Faculty and Future Faculty Development Programming.” And, I wanted to ask what brought you to this and tell us about what you’re going to be presenting today.
[Sarah] Great, so, first I’ll say a note about how I got into this field in the first place. I in fact have my PhD in Entomology, which is the study of insect biology. So, fun fact if you’re listening to this, I can usually identify insects with reasonable accuracy from a picture if you have any in your house that you want to send to me. But, while I was in grad school, I was employed as a TA consultant–a consultant for other graduate student instructors on my campus and I was trained to do teaching consulting and run teaching workshops and the like at the center for teaching and learning there (this was at UC Davis). And, that really led me down the path of thinking, this could be my career. This is a field that makes me feel like I’m really making a difference in education. It also just suits my working style and personality, and I’ve met so many incredible colleagues through the faculty development and educational development space. So, I decided to apply for a position at UW Madison, and what we do there at the Delta program is mostly future faculty development. We mostly work with graduate students and post docs who are learning to be more inclusive, more evidence based teachers. With regard to UDL, and how I got involved in that, UDL has always been a framework that has really appealed to me as a teacher back when I was teaching in grad school, and I continue to teach in my current position. But, in my current position, I almost never interact with undergraduate students. All of the people I work with are instructors in their own right. So, when they come into the classroom, they have this dual identity. They’re there to learn, but they are also instructors who are planning to apply what they learn. And, in my mind, I’m an early career person, so sometimes I think my ideas are a little bit broad for someone who has such little experience, but I’ll go for it anyway. There’s two factors in instructor development, especially in higher education. One is getting people in the room and sort of mobilizing the community to want to improve as teachers and want to learn what the newest research is and what the best practices are. And, there’s lots of ways to do that. You can appeal to people needing to serve new demographic populations that are coming into higher ed, adult learners changing demographics, applying the newest research; but then, once they’re in the room, its really important that people have a successful learning experience, number one, and also want to continue coming back to continue on their journey as educators and developing as educators. And so, I try to apply UDL in that context, number one, to support the instructors as learners in the room, and also so that they have seen UDL practices modeled in their own learning environment so that they can apply them in their own classrooms.
[Lillian] Great. So–and, I love your big ideas! This is fantastic. And, I have seen on many campuses this need for bringing, as you say, bringing them into the room. There are lots of fantastic centers for teaching and learning that faculty have no clue exists, right? So, being able to get the word out and one of the reasons for the podcast is to get the word out about why UDL might be helpful for people to use in their teaching and on their campus is really big, I think you’ve hit on a giant idea that I appreciate you bringing that to our podcast and to the folks here at Goodwin College. So, tell me more about how you are introducing UDL into this faculty development.
[Sarah] Great, yeah. So, the first thing that I like to think about is the full range of participants who are coming into faculty or future faculty development programming. And I think sometimes people have the idea–especially at the four year research institution, and frankly that’s one of the only types of institutions I’ve personally had the experience with–but, people have a sense that the faculty are slightly monolithic, that there are few disabled faculty, that people typically are coming from pretty privileged educational backgrounds, and its true that there are systemic reasons why many people are marginalized from the faculty community, and sometimes don’t end up as college faculty, but that doesn’t mean that we can ignore the full diversity of people who are there, and what their learning differences and learning needs might be. Additionally, a lot of college faculty don’t get a lot of opportunities to consider themselves as learners and how they learn best, especially in a classroom setting. They’re so frequently in charge of the classroom, not participating in the classroom. And so a lot of what I start out with is encouraging people to reflect on how they learn best. Even though it has been a while probably since they were in the high school or the college environment. Another thing that I really like to think about is the incredible time crunch that many faculty are facing. And this really parallels the time constraints that undergraduate students have with jobs, family, all sorts of other obligations and trying to fit learning in with all of that can be a major challenge and that’s one of the major areas UDL tries to address. So, I take the same approach with faculty. They have research obligations, advising, their own families, commuting, financial restrictions, lack of departmental support. And so, what I think is really beautiful about the faculty development community is that we provide, already, a range of formats, for example, for our programming. So, we do one-on-one consultations, we do group workshops, we do sustained learning communities, we also sometimes offer online modules or online programming that could be done in an asynchronous manner, and, yeah–so, that kind of the door opening to UDL in faculty development. And then, I have lots of other ideas about the actual activities and the actual learning that happens in that environment too.
[Lillian] Yeah, I want to get into those, for sure. I wanted to say I feel your pain about how our faculty are very much like our students. We planned a faculty retreat for our professors who teach first year seminar, and we had things to do before you get there, and then here’s what we’re going to do. And we found that they hadn’t done the reading, just like students come in and they haven’t done the reading and we used that as an opportunity to say here we are, we’re just like our students. We have the same time crunch, and how can we be more understanding and more inviting and provide more options for our students when our faculty are–they’re very much like they students that they’re teaching. And having the faculty understand that was a big–I think a big barrier for them to get over when they realized they showed up to the retreat, they hadn’t done the reading, and they had been upset at their students for not doing the reading, and there they were doing the same thing! So, how can we help everybody to prepare for and be part of this learning community?
[Sarah] Yeah, so one of the first things that I’ll always try to work with my participants are–and this is part of the UDL framework–sustaining effort and persistence–is try to heighten salience of goals and objectives. So, no matter how much time you have to work on your development as an instructor, what are your personal goals? Where are they coming from? And, can we come up with a plan to help you achieve those goals or at least make progress towards them. And instructors have lots of different goals. So, we need to provide a lot of options for how to address them. One of my favorite frameworks–and I can give you the reference if you want to add it on to the transcript–
[Lillian] Yes, put it in the resources so people can find it at ThinkUDL.org, I’d love to.
[Sarah] Perfect. So it is a model of instructor development where folks start out trying to obtain personal credibility and control in the classroom. So, this is when they first get there, they’re not really sure about their place in the classroom, how they’re handling themselves, if their speaking voice is too loud or not loud enough, and their focus is really on making sure they’ve mastered the material, building up their personal confidence, figuring out how to control the classroom. Then folks could move on to a phase where they’re a little bit more concerned with delivery of the content. How am I delivering the content? What techniques am I using? Can I be efficient in my work? And then, hopefully, they’ll eventually move on to facilitating learning, being more focused on the learner experience, learner-centered teaching. The reason we call this an instructor development cycle is because people always cycle back to the beginning when they end up in a brand new context or something’s changed that’s made them feel like, OK, I need to go back to the personal credibility and control phase now and start thinking about, OK, I have totally new students, this is totally new subject matter, or a new technique.
[Lillian] Right, or a different university and a whole different context.
[Sarah] Absolutely. So, this is one of the frameworks I use to provide options for how my participants engage with things. So, I want to always provide an option for people who are still looking to establish–I guess, get their feet wet in the teaching environment, people who are at the next stage of thinking about what techniques they’re using, and those who are both focused on learner-centered teaching. So, I always provide reflection opportunities with separate prompts that people can choose from depending on how they’re feeling that day, you know, you can go through the whole instructor development cycle in one class period. So, thinking about how am I coming into this workshop today or coming into this learning community today? I just came off of a really difficult class where it was hard to control everybody, OK, I’m feeling like I want to work on personal credibility and control today, and so what I want to come out of today with is some feedback and maybe one suggestion on how to get the class’s attention after we’re coming back from a group activity or a group discussion or something like that. That might be a very salient point for some people. Other people might be thinking how can I assess my learners when they’re doing active learning? How can I create an assessment that actually shows me how they’re doing on their learning outcomes when I can’t be in every group at every time? So, that’s a different stage of development, and we want to provide different options for people who are falling into those categories.
[Lillian] That’s a really great meta-cognitive exercise you’ve just given all our listeners because as you’re going through this development cycle, you have just described my career, right, in a nutshell, and all those “aha!” moments when I moved from I don’t have to pretend I’m a professor, I just always felt like I was pretending, you know when you start out, and that imposter syndrome is very prevalent for new teachers, and I know it also depends on our identities, you know. I started as a very young–I was 24 I think when I first had a hundred person classroom in upstate New York–and my whole persona was “I am in charge and I hope you think I’m in charge,” and now I–after lots of experience and lots of different classrooms–you’re right, it’s all learner-centered and so much of it is that focus on how do we get the students into a new place rather than how can I present myself.
[Sarah] Yeah, and I mean, drawing on this framework explicitly and letting participants know you might be in any of these categories, you might be in transition between them, is an opportunity for everyone to learn from other people as well. So, if you have people in the group–I work a lot with TA’s, you know, some people are in grad school a long time so they could be a sixth year TA, for example, and have all of that classroom experience under their belt, and you could be working with somebody who’s a first-time TA. So, too, with tenured faculty members and a first-year faculty member, and to normalize the fact that everybody is going through these transitions with teaching, and to learn from people who are at different stages while still normalizing that even if you’re experienced, you could be still working on your confidence in the classroom and just, you know, what to plan for that day, I think is very important.
[Lillian] Right. You’ve really asked your participants there to step back and reflect, you know, one of our UDL principles is that self-reflection piece and that meta-cognitive thinking about how am I approaching this thing, this–my teaching, my place in the classroom, is something that we often, we’re not doing unless we’ve got a facilitator like you that’s saying hey, this is important, let’s take a step back, and then it helps us to really plan to teach better in our classrooms, and to move forward in our teaching. So, I’m really glad that you’re offering your participants every time that self-reflection part–big part of our Universal Design for Learning principles.
[Sarah] Yeah. So, another thing that I don’t work on personally but I hope to talk about in my sessions, so I’ll give a little preview of that as well, is how do we use UDL to improve the experience for people who are participating in large teaching and learning events on our campuses? So, what I include in that might be like a campus teaching and learning symposium, or a lot of larger universities are starting these up now, where you’ll have faculty from the whole community come and showcase what they’re doing in their classroom or if they’re doing SOTAL (scholarship of teaching and learning), they will present some of that as well. And so, that’s an example. Also, a TA or a new faculty orientation sometimes have huge numbers of participants, and actually while I was at UC Davis, I helped to organize and put on a TA orientation for a couple thousand folks, and that gave me a lot of opportunity to think through what does that look like? One really important experience I remember from that is for several years we had used flickering the lights as a way to get people’s attention because we had like a hundred people in the room or maybe it was closer to sixty or seventy, but a lot of people, and I don’t have a very loud voice, and it’s really hard to get people’s attention and so we had been using flickering the lights, and I remember we got some feedback actually from a student with Autism saying “that really doesn’t work for me, that’s not going to–that doesn’t create a good learning experience for me, and you really should either try to use something else or warn people if that’s going to be happening.” And, I remember that was a moment that I discussed with the colleagues as well after thinking about, we don’t actually know who’s going to be in the room with this number of people, you know, we can do surveys and ask people what their learning needs are, but we really need to think more systematically about making this an accessible even for everybody. And, I think that we started down that path and its something that I’ve been trying to think more about continuing in my current position. In terms of learning at something like a teaching and learning symposium, there are so many good options. Like, I’ve always been thinking about when you have a poster session, you know, what are some UDL strategies that we can apply to help people get the most out of walking around those posters. I feel like I so often go into those and just sort of glance, I’m not sure if I want to start a conversation with the person. I’m a really big fan of scripts to give people, “here are some questions that you could use to open up the conversation, pick which one matches your interests at this time” and let the presenters know ahead of time, here are some questions people might be asking you, to help people get the conversation started.
[Lillian] Yeah. I know when I walk into those big conference poster sessions, its really–usually a big room, and super crowded. And if I find something that is very interesting, they might already have three people or so that they’re talking to and I’ve come in the middle, so if there’s a way to asynchronously get that information, so always have a handout or a QR code even, you know, things that–multiple ways to get that information, or playing something on a loop–I think that’s great. We haven’t thought about that enough. We’re still kind of in those dinosaur days where twenty years ago, thirty years ago, that was the thing, and here we are still doing it the same way. We don’t even have to make the posters anymore, we could have screens, we could have any number of things.
[Sarah] Right, and I’ve seen that increasingly, sometimes with screens. I’ve even seen, this is UDL from the perspective of inviting a greater diversity of presenters there, I’ve seen somebody skyping with the in-person participants. And, you know, its those sorts of things that sometimes come up as an accommodation basically that we can be integrating I think a lot more into the design.
[Lillian] Right. When we were thinking about this–the podcast, the idea for the podcast was out of that, like, what happens if you can’t go to conferences? What happens if you, you know, all these things are happening, but we can’t travel to fourteen different campuses and learn all of this. So, if we produce a podcast and find out what amazing people like you are doing on campuses, then we can get this information out, we’ve got it on the website, people can listen to it on their commute, we should be thinking about how we can integrate these things in a multitude of ways. That’s why I was so excited about how you’re doing it with faculty development. Which is something that is close to my heart, too.
[Sarah] Yeah, so I think, you know, in general, my overall approach is just to really be considerate of the full range of learner variability within the faculty. And I’m always really interested in hearing from people about their experience as learners, as instructors basically. And that’s one of the warm-up questions I’ll ask the participants today is are you involved in faculty development at all just to see who’s there, but also the same question you asked me, you know, who are you as a learner? And try to prompt people to think about that. One thing I often think about is people’s preference for interaction. There’s–it seems to be sort of an orthodoxy in the educational development space that there has to be interaction, that everything has turn to a partner or join with a small group, and surely, we will do some of that in our workshop, but I always also try to think about, what if somebody doesn’t want to participate in that group in a verbal way? Can we create a full range of group roles that don’t always involve talking, but still contribute something and demonstrate engagement in the task. Can we build in opportunities for reflection? Not just at the end of the program, but throughout every stage, every activity, for every learning outcome. And, one other thing that I would say is that just in terms of typing and text, I think it can be a really useful thing to bring into faculty development programming because I think a lot of instructors have to talk a lot. And I know that this is something I get really fatigued from, is having to talk all the time. There’s nothing better for me as a learner when somebody comes and says I want to hear your opinion, one option is to type it in on our student response system. It’ll show up on the board, everyone can see it but you just be quiet with your voice for right now. So that’s something I try to build into my stuff a lot.
[Lillian] Well, and when you do that, you are valuing those learners and valuing their ideas, and not privileging the extroverts, right, over the introverts, or those that prefer a particular kind of language or ways of participating. You’re valuing all the ideas in that room when you offer multiple means for them to get those ideas out.
[Sarah] Yeah, and I have a lot of multi-lingual learners. Teaching PhD students especially, UW Madison has a big international PhD student community, and post doc community, as well as faculty. And, I think, in general, supporting people who are learning English or speak English as a second language, offering lots of different ways to participate that don’t just mean speaking with your voice out loud, is a really good way to promote engagement.
[Lillian] Yeah. That’s fantastic. And, so your session today is going to offer lots of these times of reflection, and one of the things that I’m learning now, too is that when you said reflection not just at the end, like, giving those people a chance to reflect in the beginning and bring their thoughts together, is also really life-giving, like you can start to form your ideas–we often want it to go, like, quick quick quick, we’re moving on to the next thing, moving on to the next thing, and not giving our students time to really sit and think about something, and in that moment, if we give students time–I know I often want to be too fast, but if somebody makes me sit down and think through it, I can get through or talk to somebody else, like I’m just talking through a problem, I actually get to some answers, instead of waiting for somebody else to bring me along.
[Sarah] I think that’s great. This was one change I made in some of my teaching. So, I teach TA learning communities, so a group of 8-10 TA’s who come together once a week to discuss how their teaching is going and new teaching practices. So, originally, I wanted to start right off the class with somebody contribute a current teaching challenge, and we’ll discuss it and get feedback about it. And it wasn’t working so well. Its hard to get people to sort of just produce that out of nowhere, so two changes I made–oh, and also, the discussion, it was very difficult because they would be difficult challenges, and people would just sort of say like “I don’t know, I’m new at this! Maybe facilitator Sarah, can you help?” So, the two changes I made were number one: always starting with a general life check-in to get the conversation going, so it could just be roses and thorns, what’s one thing that brings you joy this week, and one thing that’s causing you some discomfort this week or is tough? Or, you know, how are you surviving this week? How are you thriving this week? And, oftentimes, that gets the ball rolling towards the actual teaching challenges that people are having. And the second change I made was to institute a discussion protocol for that teaching challenge activity because I felt that some people were a little bit overwhelmed by all the questions that were being lobbed at them, and feedback that they either wanted or didn’t want. So, we changed the discussion protocol where the person who is sharing goes over their teaching challenge in their own words, and then framed for the group what they want feedback on. How can the group help them? Then, when it’s the group’s turn to respond, we start first with a round of just clarifying questions. The only thing you can ask during this time is, OK can you just explain a little bit more how many students were in the class, or you know, what background was that student coming from when they felt that they were not prepared for the lesson, you know, anything like that, and once everyone’s clarifying questions have been satisfied, then we can move on to feedback. And, that, I have found, is a way to get more students, in this case participants , TA’s, comfortable with bringing their own challenges to the group because they know that there’s a predictable and accessible way that they’re going to be able to participate, and everyone kind of has the same expectations for how the activity’s going to go.
[Lillian] Right. That’s a really great protocol. I think that’s going to be helpful to others who have a similar teaching challenge to the TA’s because there are so many questions and it really is an art and a science, right?
[Sarah] One hundred percent, yeah.
[Lillian] I loved–one of the things that you’re going to do in your presentation is you’re looking at personas. Can you tell me how you use personas when you’re working with faculty?
[Sarah] Sure, yeah. So, this is actually one of my inaugural times using personas, but I have dry run this workshop with some colleagues, so shout out to those that helped me. So, these personas are–they’re composite descriptions of what a faculty member’s–or future faculty, any instructor really–what their experience might be like coming into a faculty development setting. And I developed these by surveying colleagues and friends who are instructors in higher education, both about their own experiences and those who have jobs like mine, like, what challenges do you see people coming in with? What are some reasons they may be–they might not show up at programming, and some reasons that they might have difficulty engaging as learners when they’re there? So, I developed these four different personas, which, obviously, are, you know, somewhat limited in that there’s only four of them. But, I was really trying to get at the–like I always say, the full range of participant experiences and learning needs, and so we have some people who are PhD students, like my “person one” Rosa, who, you know, many of the challenges that she’s facing is lack of departmental support for her participation in educational development. Also, she’s dealing with being a student of color on a very white campus, and with a very white faculty body and staff. So, she’s wondering if the programming that she goes to at the center for teaching and learning will be culturally responsive or if she’ll feel included when she gets there. So, that’s a concern for her, right, so she has already a lot of teaching experiences, and she’s TA-ing every semester as a necessity. But, one of the questions is how do we help develop her educational identity even though teaching is a financial necessity, and she has a lot of other responsibilities, you know, how do we help her develop from someone who thinks of themselves as a TA as a job–which obviously TA-ing is a job–but also to somebody whose identity is being an educator. And hopefully she can take that further on into her career. We also have a couple personas who are adjunct professors. Adjunct professors are not people that I have worked with very much, but I have worked with a lot of PhD students who are instructors of record and who are occupying very similar positions to adjunct instructors. And I think one of the big issues that adjunct instructors face is that they are typically part-time and they’re paid by the course. And so, professional development is not always included as part of their job descriptions. Additionally, they’re typically under much greater financial stress because adjuncts are paid very poorly. And so, you know, there’s a lot of systemic changes that need to be made with adjunct faculty labor, including unionization hopefully, but also its good as faculty developers to think about how can we be providing professional development opportunities for people who may not have that as part of their job descriptions, but, nevertheless want to engage.
[Lillian] Right, and as a former adjunct–I was an adjunct for a long time–its such a tenuous spot, so you wonder how much time and my own money should I be investing in this, which is something that I don’t even know if I’ll have a job next semester, so it’s a really tough position. I’m glad that one of your personas was dealing with that because that is a large number of our faculty in universities across the country. So, you have an–and you do have full, like, four different, very different personas, and what are you going to have your participants doing with these personas?
[Sarah] Yeah, so they’re first, probably going to spend a little time reading their–they’ll be assigned one, and they’ll read it by themselves, I always like to give people a chance to read something on their own before they have to communicate with anybody else. But then they’ll get in a small group, and what they’ll be thinking is first of all, what motivates and interests this person? I have tried to include a few details about why they’re–why this person is a teacher and what they like about teaching or what their goals are. So, that’s always at the beginning of designing an educational experience is what’s going to motivate these participants. So, then they’re going to think through what are potential barriers that this person could see in accessing professional development, and what could be affecting their ability to learn when they’re actually in that programming. And then the last step is that they’re going to try to design a +1 strategy to support participants who might have similar needs. So what’s one additional option for programming that you already do or you’ve already heard of that could support this person? And so, after each group works on their own persona, we’ll come back together and do some short presentations about what people discussed. Another activity in the workshop is going to be quite similar but instead of focusing on participants, we’ll focus on the programs themselves. So, we’ll work through, OK, like, how about a one off workshop or a learning community or a one-on-one consultation. What are some barriers people could face in participating and learning in those spaces, and what are some +1 strategies we could be using? So, that’s UDL again in practice and feedback, providing multiple opportunities to learn the same thing.
[Lillian] Right, absolutely. And I love that you’re asking these questions to help our participants in your workshop and our listeners here to be thinking about the learner variability of faculty. We started out talking about that, but we–I think the big point, what you are bringing to this discussion is we have thought of our faculty as you said as monolithic, and we have a wide variety of faculty that we can’t ignore and we need to support. And maybe the traditional ways we’ve been doing it, they need a +1 so that we can reach all of these varied faculty members.
[Sarah] Yeah, one thing I want to add is that I feel like a big gap in my knowledge and experience is primarily undergraduate institutions, community colleges, career-focused institutions; I don’t have personal experience learning or teaching in those spaces. My only experience has been in a four year university, mostly research university. So, if there’s any listeners who have a knowledge base to draw on or have participants who are faculty in those spaces, I’d really love to hear from you and discuss that more to build more personas who are working at different kinds of institutions and to just learn more about–as I said–as I keep saying–the full range of learner variability among faculty and their experiences and, you know, where they are.
[Lillian] So, we’ll have your email on the resources, is there–what way would you like listeners to contact you with those?
[Sarah] Yeah, email is perfect, my email you’ll include, certainly, and also you can look me up at UW Madison, the Delta program, I’m on the staff page there, and yeah, I’d be really happy to hear from any listeners or anyone else both about this and about UDL in general.
[Lillian] Great. Well, thank you so much for your time and I know you’ve got–I appreciate that you came and talked to me before your presentation, so I appreciate your expertise, what you’ve brought together, and the way that you’ve applied Universal Design for Learning to faculty development. So, thank you so much, Sarah, I appreciate it, and hopefully you’ll be hearing from our listeners, too.
[Sarah] Great, yeah, thanks so much for having me, I really enjoyed it.
[Lillian] 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 ThinkUDL.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 aids based on UDL principles. If you’d like to know more, go to the CollegeSTAR.org 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 I am your host, Lillian Nave, thank you for joining us on the Think UDL podcast.