UDL Jedi Training: Move Learners and Leaders with Only Your Mind

Handouts Media

Presented at 9:15am in Westminster I on Wednesday, November 14, 2018.



  • Thomas Tobin, Conference Programming Chair, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 1-hr
  • Format: Lecture
  • Expertise Level: All Levels
  • Type of session: General Conference


This interactive presentation radically reflects on implementing the UDL framework to provide better learning access, expand time for study and practice, and save faculty members time and effort, by broadening our disability focus toward a mobile-device mindset. Learn use-them-tomorrow strategies—without changing what or how we teach.


AHEAD’s Higher Ground conference aims to make educational materials, practices, and interactions more inclusive and useful for all learners. This interactive presentation from the author of Reach Everyone, Teach Everyone: Universal Design for Learning in Higher Education radically reflects on how faculty members and course designers can adopt the Universal Design for Learning framework in order to create learning interactions that

* provide students with better access to learning, * offer learners more time for study and practice in their busy days, and * save faculty members time and effort in the bargain.

This session uses active-learning techniques and provides take-away resources for participants. By relating UDL to broader access benefits for all learners, this session’s activities serve as a model for participants to re-frame accessibility and inclusion conversations and practices with campus colleagues and leaders.


  1. Re-framing our accessibility conversations leads to greater adoption and implementation.
  2. Universal design for learning is a lot of work: we need to know where to start for maximum impact.
  3. We must reach learners where they are: 20 minutes can be the difference between struggling and success.

Disability Areas

All Areas

Topic Areas

Accessible Course Design, Administrative/Campus Policy, Teaching about Accessibility in Curriculum, Uncategorized

Speaker Bio(s)

Thomas Tobin

Thomas J. Tobin is the Conference Programming Chair for the Distance Education Professional Development department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, as well as an internationally-recognized speaker and author on topics related to quality in technology-enhanced education, especially copyright, evaluation of teaching practice, academic integrity, and accessibility/universal design for learning.

Since the advent of online courses in higher education in the late 1990s, Tom’s work has focused on using technology to extend the reach of higher education beyond its traditional audience. He advocates for the educational rights of people with disabilities and people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

He holds a Ph.D. in English literature, a second master’s degree in information science, a professional project management certification, a master online teacher certification, Quality Matters certification, and recently completed his Certified Professional in Accessibility Core Competencies (CPACC) certification (he tells his nieces and nephews that he is in 41st Grade).

Tom serves on the editorial boards of eLearn Magazine, InSight: A Journal of Scholarly Teaching, the Journal of Interactive Online Learning, and the Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration.

His books include

* Evaluating Online Teaching: Implementing Best Practices (2015) with Jean Mandernach and Ann H. Taylor. * The Copyright Ninja: Rise of the Ninja (2017). * Reach Everyone, Teach Everyone: Universal Design for Learning in Higher Education (2018) with Kirsten Behling. * Going Alt-Ac: A Guide to Alternative Academic Careers (in press, 2019) with Katie Linder and Kevin Kelly.

Tom was also proud to represent the United States on a Spring 2018 Fulbright Scholar fellowship, under which he helped Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, Hungary to develop its first faculty-development program, and he provided workshops and training to six other universities throughout Hungary.