7 Designing a Course from Scratch

When we created this resource, we assumed that most of us are trying to make existing courses more inclusive. You have a unique opportunity if you are designing a new course, workshop, program, etc. from the ground up. In doing so, you’ll be able to carefully align the course’s intended learning outcomes with the other course components (e.g., explanations/lectures, assessments) and to purposefully build in principles of inclusion as you go.

One well-known framework for such a course design is Universal Design for Learning (UDL). These guidelines “offer a set of concrete suggestions that can be applied to any discipline or domain to ensure that all learners can access and participate in meaningful, challenging learning opportunities.” Start small or go all-in — you have the choice.

Our advice is simple: don’t let perfection be the enemy of progress. Everyone has a journey – perhaps a career-long one – to overcome biases and to ensure learning is as inclusive as possible. Every step toward doing this work better is valuable and contributes to improving the shared academic space.


Universal Design for Learning Guidelines: Engagement, Representation, and Action & Expression
Three-part framework of the Universal Design for Learning.

We strongly encourage you to work with a member of your Teaching and Learning Support Service (Centre for University Teaching) as you plan the learning. They have expertise in instructional design, UDL, and other aspects of course design (e.g., graphics).



Share This Book