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A Brief History of UDL at GBC

UDL has been growing and evolving at George Brown for nearly a decade. In 2015/16, 20 faculty from nine academic and service departments attended the 2nd annual Pan Canadian UDL Conference in Montreal. This led to many more orchestrated UDL activities, including a UDL Academic pilot, which recommended the creation of the Access and Inclusion coach role within Accessible Learning Services. Eventually, this role migrated to the TLX and became the Manager of UDL Integration position. Ravinder Brar held this position for over five years and led the development of a variety of workshops, related technology pilots, process integrations (such as the New Program Approvals Process) and finally, the robust course titled Universal Design for Learning: Inspiring Equity and Inclusion in Higher Education. This course, often referred to as the UDL certificate, intentionally weaves together the UDL framework with other equity frameworks and initiatives such as accessibility, antiracism, Indigenous learning, and critical digital pedagogy.

Would you like to connect with your George Brown colleagues, who are also exploring UDL as an equity-focused teaching and learning framework?  

How would you like to connect?

UDL Coaching

You can reach out to TLX Faculty Facilitators and Associates for help with integrating UDL into your teaching and learning practices. Perhaps you’d like to revise a course or assessment, develop multiple means of representation, problem solve around a challenging aspect of your course or program etc.  

UDL Certificate

The course is designed to enhance the existing expertise of teaching faculty, curriculum and educational technology specialists, instructional designers, accessibility consultants, and others who support student learning through modelling the principles and practices of UDL, equity, and inclusion. Utilizing cross-disciplinary collaboration and the application of social and adult learning theory, participants are invited to proceed through the materials and activities in ways that coincide with their interests and learning goals.   

Self-paced learning is encouraged through four open asynchronous modules, frequent self-reflection, interactive learning check-ins, and materials that can be downloaded at the end of each module for future reference. If taking this course as part of a cohort, participants will also engage collaboratively with others, and may choose to enhance their inclusive teaching and learning practice with additional discussions and synchronous sessions. Participants are reminded of the power of forming a community of practice to engage in a collaborative process of sharing information, experiences, and skills with the goal of learning from each other, enabling professional self-development and building capacity.   

The course takes approximately 14 hours to complete. You will receive a certificate of completion and designation as a GBC UDL Champion upon completion.  Please talk to your chair about having this work compensated and/or incorporated into your Standard Workload Formula (SWF) for the semester.

If you’d like to complete the UDL Certificate, please reach out to the Manager of UDL and Accessible Pedagogy within the TLX. Alternately, you could reach out to your own manager and ask them to arrange a cohort of certificate learners from your program or department.

UDL Community of Practice

Everyone who is interested in furthering their equity-focused UDL practice at George Brown is welcome to join the UDL Community of Practice (CoP) Microsoft Team. A community of practice is a group of committed individuals who come together to engage in a collaborative process of sharing information, experiences, and skills with the goal of learning from each other, enabling professional self-development, self-reflection and building the capacity of its members (Wenger, 1998).  

The GBC UDL CoP was established in 2023 to connect UDL practitioners across the college in a shared space.

The main purposes of the GBC UDL CoP are to: 

  • Facilitate a collaborative learning and resource space.  
  • Coordinate formal and informal opportunities, including mentorship, information sharing and skills development, for UDL/equity education practitioners to learn from each other.  
  • Model UDL within the activities that the CoP facilitates. 
  • Explore UDL intersections between decolonization, antiracism, UDL, the social model of disability and other equity initiatives, both institutional and interpersonal.  
  • Encourage membership from GBC educators across the college.  
  • Further the promotion of UDL/equity education integration across the college. 

You can self-enrol by requesting membership.  

Support at GBC

Other people available at George Brown to support your UDL practice:

Your program’s counsellor at Counselling and Student Well-being can support you with: 

  • Visiting your class virtually or in person to discuss mental health supports for students.  
  • Helping identify common student stressors (such as presentations and group work) and collaborate on ways to prepare students for coping with these.  
  • Leading specialized workshops for your students.  

Your program’s accessibility consultant at Accessible Learning Services can support you with:

  • Identifying common accommodations in your program area and strategize ways to proactively mitigate or reduce the potential need. 
  • Increasing accessibility of curriculum resources, learning activities and evaluations.  
  • Scaffolding student expectations to build towards students accomplishing both their own and course learning goals.  

Curriculum specialists in the Office of Academic Excellence can support you with: 

  • Mapping student workload to predict student pain points and redistribute workload where possible. 
  • Auditing courses for UDL components and build on these through course renewal.  
  • Meeting with your program team to discuss ways to incorporate UDL and other equity lenses into program design.  

Your program library liaison can support you with:

  • Connecting you to the person who can caption multimedia you’d like to use in class. 
  • Helping you increase multiple means of representation, starting with pivotal concepts/learnings in your courses that are accessible.
  • Visiting your class to discuss how librarians can support students with research and other learning processes.  

Indigenous Initiatives can support you with:

  • Connecting you to Indigenous events and other learning opportunities aligned with your curriculum learning goals. 
  • Connecting students to Indigenous Mentorship programs and Self-Identification processes at the college.  
  • Connecting Indigenous students to financial supports.  

The Office of Anti-Racism, Equity and Human Rights Services can support you with:

  • Guiding you and your students in adding preferred names on all digital college platforms.  
  • Connecting you or your students to 2SLGBTQIA+ Awareness training. 
  • Informing you of Black Futures presentations and a variety of training tools such as the Take 5 for Antiracism Primer and the Antiracism E-Course. 
  • Orienting you to the variety of policies that impact human rights and responsibilities at the college.