Universal Design for Learning: Strategies for Blended and Online Learning

Section 2.5: An Example of Online Learning

Semester-based, asynchronous online courses offer students much flexibility to take on 3-credit courses that fulfill their elective requirements as part of their degree or certificate programs.  A few samples of online courses at JIBC are ENGL-1100 Academic Writing, BUSN-1100 Business Communications, PSYC-1100 Intro to Psychology, and RESM-2100 Research Methods.

  • The courses span across a 14-week semester period and roughly require 3 hours of work per week.
  • Instructors may/may not offer synchronous sessions.
  • The courses all have a consistent look and feel, and templated course syllabus and assignment guidelines are applied.
  • Each week there is at least one or more online learning activities (e.g. discussions, quizzes, short written assignments, journals).
  • At the end of the course, there is typically a final assignments/projects.

Short Analysis

These online courses offer a high level of flexibility and allow learners to work independently online. Syllabus and assignment guideline documents are always available, which allows learners to plan out their 14-week at the start of the course. Weekly modules follow a consistent design template and create a predictable learning experience for all students.

However, because it is fully online, it may not contain an in-person face-to-face component. The barriers that emerge can be related to feelings of community and connectedness, to self-regulation, and to mapping the course structures.

Read the example again, and ask yourself:

Reflective Question:

  • What may be some of the barriers in this blended learning course?
  • If you are the instructor, how might you address the barriers using UDL framework?


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A Comprehensive Guide to Applying Universal Design for Learning Copyright © 2022 by Dr. Seanna Takacs; Junsong Zhang; Helen Lee; Lynn Truong; and David Smulders is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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