Instructor Training

We developed a hybrid course which we delivered to instructors at three community colleges during fall, 2010. The course blended one day of face-to-face instruction on-site at the colleges (in Pittsburgh, PA; Houston, TX; and Carson City, NV) with four asynchronous online modules hosted on LCIRT’s distance learning website. The course modeled Universal Design (UD) principles and incorporated Scenario-Based Learning (SBL) practices.

Syllabus: Accessing Technical Education Hybrid Course

Course Description

Accessing Technical Education is a hybrid course for technology instructors. It addresses some of the challenges of educating students in technical education programs to meet the demands of the workplace. Many of the students in technical education courses have significant learning difficulties that are hidden and undiagnosed. This course will include information about common profiles of students with learning disabilities and Universal Design principles that support diverse student populations. Participants will apply the principles of backward design to their course curriculum, and they will develop assessments for the widest array of student learning profiles. Participants will develop inclusive activities that promote soft skill development and self-regulation.

Goals

  • Participants will gain awareness of cognitive profiles that create barriers to learning
  • Participants will address the nine principles of Universal Design for Learning and implement them through a redesign of their course curriculum.
  • Participants will address the cooperative learning framework and apply it to the design of course activities
  • Participants will use the Universal Design framework to develop formative and summative assessments for course activities

Requirements

Attend Introductory Workshop, which will include an overview of learning disabilities and Universal Design for Instruction principles.

Task 1

  • Learn about various cognitive processing issues for students with learning disabilities and related disorders
  • Identify primary and secondary learning outcomes in your course.
  • Use the hard vs. soft skills matrix to identify outcomes and brainstorm alternative assessment ideas. Discuss the relationships of alternative assessment ideas to designing rubrics.
  • Practice accessing online course (skills matrix, DD modules, etc.)
  • Identify potential course assignment reviewers (DSO member, employer, peer, student, etc.)

Task 2

  • Evaluate the accessibility and usability of your course content and materials for students with different learning profiles.
    • Goal; Address UDI Principles #1 (Equitable in Use) and #4 (Perceptible Information)
    • Needs Assessment Themes (struggling students, rights & responsibilities, accessing course content with reading, writing, math issues, approach for supporting specific student profiles, availability of specific resources and services, soft skill of communication and self-advocacy)
  • Scenario: adopt a profile of a student with LD.
    •  Identify the problem areas of your course.
    • Identify the steps to take from ‘Rights and Responsibilities for Faculty and Students’.
    • Draft an outline of the conversation you need to have with the professor.
    • Post responses to reflection questions.

Task 3

  • Design a grading rubric that clearly communicates primary vs. secondary learning outcomes, the criteria of measurement, and the integration of hard and soft skills in measurable components.
    • Goal:  Address UDI principles #1 (Equitable in use), #2 (Flexible in use), #3(Simple and intuitive), #4 (perceptible information), #5 (Tolerance for error), #6 (Low physical effort), #7 (Size and space for approach and use), #8 (A community of learners), #9 (Instructional climate).
    • Needs Assessment Themes:  reading, writing, math issues; supporting specific student profiles; availability of specific resources and services; soft skills of communication and self-advocacy.
  • Scenario:  Design a formative and a summative activity. Review the primary and secondary learning outcomes, then
    • Fill in the hard skills vs. soft skills matrix
    • Design a formative assignment
    • Design a summative assignment
    • Ask a peer to review both assessments for UDI principles.
    • Post responses to reflection questions.

Task 4

  • Design a lesson activity that teaches a course concept and implements elements of cooperative learning theory and UDI principles.
    • Goal: Address UDI principle #8 (A community of learners), and #9 (Instructional climate)
    • Themes: Soft skills of communication and self-advocacy
  • Scenario:
    • Using your cooperative learning resources, match desired group behaviors with the learning group activity most likely to facilitate those behaviors.
    • Create a lesson for your course that includes a structured cooperative learning group activity.
    • Ask a peer to review your lesson plan and group activity and give you feedback on your implementation of cooperative learning and UDI principles.
    • Post responses to reflection questions

Task 5

  • Design a lesson activity that addresses widest array of student learning profiles.
    • Goal: Goal:  Address UDI principles #1 (Equitable in use), #2 (Flexible in use), #3(Simple and intuitive), #4 (perceptible information), #5 (Tolerance for error), #6 (Low physical effort), #7 (Size and space for approach and use), #8 (A community of learners), #9 (Instructional climate).
    • Needs Assessment Themes:  reading, writing, math issues; supporting specific student profiles; availability of specific resources and services; soft skills of communication and self-advocacy.
  • Scenario:
    • Develop a class activity that teaches a course concept and implements UDI Principles
    • Ask a peer to review your syllabus and give you feedback on your use of the UDI principles
    • Post responses to the reflection questions

Resources

  1. Best Practices for Teaching Students with LD in the Community College Setting: A series of 18 online learning modules developed by the Landmark College Institute for Research and Training on a variety of topics related to supporting students with LD and ADHD in post secondary settings. (Directions for accessing the modules will be added at a later time.
  2. Universal Design for College Algebra: a website with resources for instructors and students related to the issues of struggling students learning algebra. http://www.useablealgebra/landmark.edu/
  3. http://www.washington.edu/doit/Resources/
  4. http://www.facultyware.uconn.edu/

Course requirements

  1. Attend the full day workshop at your site that begins this course.
  2. Complete the six tasks that are due at intervals throughout the course.
  3. Post responses to the discussion and reflection questions for each task.