Understanding the needs of students with disabilities based on Universal Design of Learning and some implementations

Presented at 10:30am in Mattie Silks on Friday, November 18, 2022.



  • Hongye Liu, Understanding the needs of students with disabilities based on Universal Design of Learning and some implementations, Univ. of Illinois Urbana Champaign
  • Lawrence Angrave, Teaching Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Session Details

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


Students with disabilities (SWD) may suffer a loss of learning opportunities especially due to their high rate of under-reporting. We present a sequence of large surveys of the needs of SWDs through the perspectives of universal design of learning regarding multiple modalities of content delivery, engaging and facilitating learning through LMS and alternative format such as accessible digital book made from lecture videos.


National statistics by the NSF and NCES report 19% of the 4-year undergraduate population have a disability. Researchers also found students with disabilities(SWD) has as high as 75% under-reporting rate. Using a sequence of large Universal Design of Learning (UDL) based surveys we identified the usage and satisfaction of SWD with course content representation methods, the different features on learning management system (ie. Canvas) and their needs in course digital books. We present these data and results that support the adoption of a UDL approach to course design and delivery, including searchable video with transcriptions, conscientious design using LMS and alternative format of content such as accessible digital book directly from lecture videos. We will also discuss take away points from interviews with SWDs regarding UDL and that of instructors on textbooks.


  1. Surveys demonstrates the importance of multiple resources for all students, one of the key UDL principles.
  2. Students with disabilities favor recorded videos with transcripts and asynchronous learning pathway.
  3. Students with disabilities may benefit from the digital book automatically made from lecture videos.

Disability Areas

All Areas

Topic Areas

Accessible Course Design, Accessible Educational Materials, Alternate Format, Captioning/Transcription, EPUB Track, Faculty Development & Support, Research, Teaching about Accessibility in Curriculum, Uncategorized, Universal Design for Learning, Web/Media/App Access

Speaker Bio(s)

Hongye Liu

Hongye Liu joined the Illinois Department of Computer Science after years of research experience in Biomedical informatics primarily in the Boston Longwood Medical area including Harvard Medical School and its affiliated hospitals. She received her PhD from MIT in the area of computer aided design.

Her educational research focuses on understanding the needs of students with disabilities and broadening the participation of students with disabilities. She is currently PI of three projects at the Univ. of Illinois on helping students with disabilities and developing resources for UDL based course design.

Dr. Liu's paper titled "A UDL-based large-scale study on the needs of students with disabilities in engineering courses" received 2nd Best DEI paper and 3rd Best paper award in NEE session at ASEE2021 annual conference and her paper titled "A Digital Book-Based Pedagogy to Improve Course Content Accessibility for Students with and without Disabilities in Engineering and other STEM courses" received Best DEI paper award in NEE session at ASEE 2022 annual conference.

Lawrence Angrave

Prof. Angrave has published extensively in the area of UDL and accessibility for students with disabilities (SWD) and is the PI of ClassTranscribe, a new accessible and inclusive video system used by 15 CS courses at UIUC and 2 courses at GVSU, and ScribeAR, a personal Augmented Reality live-captioning and audio-visualization system. His paper, "Improving Student Accessibility, Equity, Course Performance and Lab Skills..." received an honorable mention and nomination for best diversity paper at 2020 American Society for Engineering Education.