Program 5: The First Class Period


After all the planning is complete, the first day of class is really the opportunity to lay the foundation for the implementation of Universal Design for Learning in the class. In this video we're going to take a look at how Noel did this on the first day of his class.

The first step toward implementing Universal Design for Learning is to create a welcoming environment. To do this you need to be sure to introduce yourself to the class, you need to talk about how you can be reached outside of class, and you need to talk about your availability for meeting with students in office hours.

Our office hours, mine and Leslie's office hours as well, are going to be via appointment. In our course syllabus you have here the first page our e-mail, our office number, our phone number, ah feel free, should you have the need to just e-mail us or give us a call and set up a time to talk to us.

The other thing I wanted to point out is that if you really wanted to be insistent on "I need to talk with you now", you can use that beeper or pager function in ICON.

Also part of creating this environment isn't just including a disability statement on your syllabus, but it's openly discussing that statement on the first day. By openly discussing the disability statement, you're creating a comfort level for students with disabilities, and students with other issues, so that they know that you're open to working with them, to create a more learner-centered environment.

I would like for anybody who has a disability that may represent a limitation in how to approach the material, to learning the material, to just after class, talk with me so we can start devising the appropriate academic accommodations that you will need to be successful in this class.

First I need to let you know that should you need such academic accommodations, you need to be registered with the Student Disability Service Office, and then once we start talking with them and with you we are going to develop the appropriate accommodations to suit your needs. Just after class let me know so I can keep you in mind and do the SDS registration, and we will gladly work with you.

It's also important to explain to the students how the class will operate and what the expectations are in every aspect of the class, all the way from participation to exams and assessments.

So what class expectations do we have? I do expect that you guys will be doing your readings. It is expected that you will be ready to discuss the theories, the concepts, to bring questions, to bring and participate in the application- the role plays, the videos, the discussions, etc. We are going to have 3 exams in this class.

Exam number 2 is going to be completely on ICON. Mainly multiple choice, matching, fill in the blank, and a couple of questions related to a case study that you'll see on the exam.

An explanation of tools available as natural supports to the class, as well as how they work and where they can be accessed, is going to make students more likely to use these valuable tools.

One of the things that you will see is that you will have access to the class handouts before class and the other readings and what not, and you will have access to these in different formats. Each of you that may have a preference, or a special need, or a way that you like for things-better-for you to study, you can have access to the different things.

I will explain myself. For example, I don't know if you know, if you download a PDF file, did you know that the computer can read that back to you? Because Adobe Reader has an integrated voice reader, so if you go to View and then down the menu it will say "read out loud," so if you click that and the computer will read back to you out loud that things that are here posted on the PDF.

So if you are a student who would rather listen to the handouts, listen to the class notes, or listen to the readings, instead of visually reading- or if you like to read visually and have the auditory stimuli then you can do that too. They're all the same, they're just different formats, different ways for you to access them.

I have made sure that all these materials are accessible, so anybody who is using a screen reader, screen magnifier, whatever technology device, they can have access too, no problem.

In Noel's case, not only is he disseminating materials via the class website, he's disseminating them in multiple formats so they can be accessed by everyone. He's also making available class notes and study guides to facilitate learning.

In this class Noel's been using a very unique technology to provide class notes to students. He explained this on the first day of class.

We will be using what is called a SmartPen. And each of you, starting tomorrow, will be responsible for taking one day of notes using the SmartPen. It's very easy to use.

You go to the page that we are taking our notes, you hit record, and you will start writing. You will take your notes here as you would take notes in an everyday- you know, note for yourself.

Now, I need to say that this does not mean that the rest of the class will not be taking notes. You all are responsible for your notes. What is going to happen though is that we are going to post the materials that are the result of this pen- I will explain-

This pen is actually recording everything that I am saying now. At the same time, it is taking pictures of what is being written. So that material- we can put into a webpage format and we are going to have our materials posted on ICON. So you will not only have the materials from your book- your book chapters. And you will not only have your outline that you will get from ICON as well, you also will have access to the audio file that your colleague was responsible for taking notes that day- starting today.

Let me show you how that will work. If you access our ICON site, then you will see the actual link for the video- for the webpage, and once you open this in your computer this is what you will get.

"This is an example of the LiveScribe Smart Pen. It links it with your writing."

So that's what you're going to see. You're going to see the notes that your colleague took.

What's cool about it is, let's say that we're discussing a concept of one of the theories and you're down in the notes and you don't remember what that concept is, you can click on the word that was close to that- that you remember when the audio file was it, you just click there and it will take you to that part of the class.

So our goal is that you guys have multiple ways to access the material. What this is also doing is addressing each of your individual learning styles.

So if you're a person who really enjoys listening back to the class, or helps you listening back to the class because it allows you to review everything- be back in the classroom again so to speak. Or if you're just a person who needs the notes, you can have access to the notes anyway.

As you can see, on day one the foundation is laid for implementing Universal Design for Learning in the class, by creating a welcoming environment, by discussing the expectations for the class, and by discussing the supports that are available to the students.

We're going to follow up a little later in the semester to see how well Noel is using Universal Design for Learning in the class.

Implementing UDL