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The Application of UDL Principles in Online Course Design to Improve Students’ Learning Experience

With the rapid growth in online learning within higher education, it is essential for the universities to implement inclusive design principles and validate standards for online courses to ensure quality student learning experience for students with and without disabilities. Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a research-based framework intended to optimise student learning by including student choice of content, process, and product in design. In this study, we explored the application of UDL principles in course evaluation standards to enhance student learning experience in the Office of eLearning in University of Missouri (UM) System. To promote quality learning experience for over 70,000 students across the four campuses in the UM System, we implemented the Quality Course Review process with 5 Pillars Quality Review standards for online courses, based on the Quality Matters rubric and UDL principles. In this exploratory study, among 115 submitted courses across the disciplines for review since September 2020, we closely examined 50 courses that have completed the review process and identified the common existing challenges in the course design through analyzing the summary report of the reviewed courses. Then, we would like to use the UDL lens to address those identified challenges. Implications and limitations are also discussed.

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