Universal Design (UD) is the design and composition of an environment so that it can be accessed, understood and used to the greatest extent possible by all people regardless oftheir age, size, ability or disability. An environment (or any building, product, or service in that environment) should be designedto meet the needs of all people who wish to use it. This is not a special requirement for the benefit of only a minority of the population. It is a fundamental condition of good design. If an environment is accessible, usable, convenient and a pleasure to use, everyone benefits. By considering the diverse needs and abilities of all throughout the design process, universal design creates products, services and environments that meet peoples’ needs. Simply put, universal design is good design. These principles can, and should be, applied to both built and digital environments in the university context. Universal Design for learning is an area that is important due to its wide ranging positive impacts, such as deeper learning, engaged learners and increased student retention. The principles of UD for learning are based on providing students with multiple means of representation, expression and engagement. If academics provide options and opportunities to learners, so they can experience learning in ways that have meaning to them, there will be multiple benefits. Implementing UD for learning will benefit not only students with a disability, but also a wide range of other students with different language abilities and learning styles. Over 4 million people in Australia have some form of disability, including 16 percent affected by hearing loss, 10 percent with dyslexia, and over a lifetime 45 percent of the population will experience a mental health disorder. In keeping with the theme of visions 20/20 – what’s next?, the vision of the team at Disability Services is that USC will be a leading Australian university in the area of UD. This discussion aims to increase the knowledge of USC academics of the principles of UD and how they can be applied in their teaching. Further beneficial information included in this presentation will be relating to processes for Disability Services here at USC. This is due to the growing number of USC students registering with Disability Services, and requests from academics to provide more information regarding our services and how to support students with a disability.
2016 Learning & Teaching Week: 2020 Teaching Visions. 2020 - What's Next?, Sunshine Coast, Australia 31 October - 4 November 2016