5 OER + Accessibility

Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

Education should help turn novice learners into expert learners—who want to learn, know how to learn strategically, and in their own highly individual ways, are well prepared for a lifetime of learning. Universal Design for Learning (UDL) helps educators meet this goal using a framework for how to create curricula that meets the needs of all learners from the start. The framework, developed by the Center for Special Applied Technology (CAST) (2018), recommends including multiple means of engagement, representation, and action/expression.

The CAST website also provides a set of UDL guidelines with concrete suggestions  for curriculum developers and faculty to ensure that all learners can access and participate in meaningful, challenging learning opportunities.

Download a graphic organizer of UDL Guidelines version 2.2 (pdf).

Download key questions to consider when planning lessons (pdf).

OER and  UDL together can offer flexibility for faculty to provide learners with multiple means of engagement, representation, and action and expression. This may include curating OER to offer multiple representations of the same course content with a variety of media, and/or varying the demand and resources to optimize the challenge for learners.


  • Example 1: Multiple Representations of a Life Sciences ConceptThe enzyme used for this process is DNA polymerase  (“poly” means many “mer” means pieces and “ase” tells me this is an enzyme).  So, the name tells me this is an enzyme (“ase”) that binds many (“poly”) pieces (“mer”) of DNA to each other. There are a number of other enzymes involved in this process as well (as you can see below). Some enzymes open the DNA strand, others copy the strand, and others fill in any gaps.
    UDL Example 1
  • Example 2:  Chemistry Unit “Learning Links“Below are online sources to help you study for this unit. Remember that you will be required to know the quiz material in the study guide for this unit. I would recommend looking at as many of these links as is necessary to be able to answer the questions in the study guide, although you are not expected to know all of the information covered in the links.
    Textbook links:

    CK-12 Chemistry

    CK-12 Nutrition

    OpenStax Chapter on Chemistry

    • Open Textbooks



    Other links:

    Khan Academy: Chemistry

    Water and Solutions Simulation

    An Interactive Periodic Table

    • Text and Interactive OER




    Carbon Cycle

    • Openly Licensed Videos



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OER @ Niagara College: A Quickstart Guide for Faculty Copyright © by Jackie Chambers Page and Siscoe Boschman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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