Universal Design for Learning at the University of Vermont


Good Technology, Bad Study Skills for College Students

Computers, highlighters, notebooks, flashcards, ipads, pens and pencils are all used to help students study.  But how does someone study?  This article explores research done by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln that finds that more college students are using their computers to study, but they are doing it mindlessly.  Furthermore, just because a majority of today’s college students have the tools to study, does not mean that they know HOW to study.

Universal Design for Learning places an emphasis on letting students gain access to more structure to help support and manage their learning experience. Tools such as webspiration.com can help students break down  information into meaningful chunks.


I feel that it’s important for educators to not take for granted that students may not be the best decision makers when it comes to studying.  A lot is going on in the worlds’ of young college students and keeping this research article in mind is important you look up and see a classroom  of eyebrows peering over the backs of laptop screens.

Article Link:
College Undergrads Study Ineffectively on Computers, Study Finds: Students Transfer Bad Study Habits from Paper to Screen

Tool Link:

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Multicultural Universal Design Checklist for the Physical Environment

Academic Support Programs (ASP) decided several years ago to assess the effectiveness our office space.  Our goal was to make our offices as inclusive, welcoming, and universally designed as possible.  We used the basic premises of Universal Design to create the attached Multicultural Universal Design Checklist for the Physical Environment.SLBmulticultural checklist

This checklist has 11 questions designed to assess an organization’s physical spaces to determine if they serve all students well, with a particular emphasis on students and staff who are not from the dominant culture.  We enlisted UVM students from our ASP Student Leadership Board to conduct the initial survey in 2008.  In 2009, our students conducted surveys of other UVM offices, including another review of ASP’s space.  Each review produced a written report, which included recommendations for ways to adapt the office space.  The first report from 2008 is attached for your review.Multi Report ASP 2007

Please use this checklist to evaluate your own office or personal space.


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A Quick Introduction to Voice Recognition Software

Three easy to use applications for translating your spoken voice into text:

A chart of three voice recognition softwares

A chart of voice recognition software that assist people with writing by processing spoken voice and translating it into digital text.(speech to text)

Click on the image to get a clearer view.

Who is the user?

Doctors and lawyers are known to use voice recognition software to quickly ‘type out’ patient instructions and the like. Individuals with limited arm/hand functions; individuals with learning disabilities, such dyslexia, auditory comprehension/processing, written expression difficulties; individuals with ADD/ADHD all can benefit from speech to text applications.

Things to keep in mind about Voice Recognition software:
•    Voice recognition systems require consistent vocal control, pronunciation and diction.
•    Natural language functions will allow the user to issue verbal commands without memorizing awkward command syntax.
•    Natural language support may not be available on computer systems with unsupported hardware.
•    Voice files can be moved between computers, installed with compatible Dragon Naturally Speaking versions, for greater access to campus-wide resources.
•    Voice recognition systems require  continued correction.
•    Voice recognition systems are best suited for use by patient and motivated individuals willing to commit the time to properly correct misrecognition errors.

This information was taken from a  presentation  at an AHEAD conference.  For a full list of materials and more detailed information on the conference go the AHEAD conference website.

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A collection of UDL resources

Presentation PPT file and TRIO Documents, and CAST UDL Representation Sheet
“I’m Autistic” on You Tubehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKzY3u_cUhk
Neurotypicals on wikipediahttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neurotypical
CAST Resources

How to Keep Students Engaged in Class
Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants- Marc Prensky
UDL Multiple Means of Representation Sheet
Diigo (online collaboration tool)
CAST UDL Blog (Example of how to facilitate a class or training session and keep info organized in a blog)
UDL Online Training Modules! (CAST)

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