Incorporating Universal Design for Learning Principles in Online and Hybrid Technical Communication Courses
This paper draws on best practices in Universal Design for Learning (UDL) to evaluate newly-designed hybrid and online technical communication courses. Technical communication courses generally include students who are from multiple disciplines and who may be resistant to taking a required course offered by faculty outside their major. A UDL framework that enables students to engage with course content in multiple ways can both lessen student resistance and increase students’ confidence in their professional skills. By comparing face-to-face assignments and student outcomes with online assignments and outcomes, we demonstrate how the incorporation of UDL principles encouraged us to make our courses more engaging, accessible, and flexible for diverse groups of students. We also highlight the recursive nature of these changes by explaining the ways our online course development has influenced the design of our face-to-face classrooms and assignments.