Accessible and Equitable: Using Universal Design for Learning in Earth Science Learning Spaces

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday 8:30am-11:30am Tate 201-20


Jennifer Lewis, University of Calgary
Wendi J. W. Williams, South Texas College
Laura Rowan Hollister, Pitman High School
Heather Houlton, Colorado School of Mines

Goals of this workshop are to explore the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL), discuss how UDL applies to different learning spaces (formal K-12, undergraduate, graduate, field experiences, informal educational, professional) and how UDL works in different learning formats using embedded accessibility techniques applied to a range of learning spaces such as face-to-face classrooms, synchronous and asynchronous online classrooms, hybrid classrooms, as well as applicable to informal settings such as museums and park programming . Participants will explore and implement aspects of UDL as well as disability accessibility in their content and facilitation styles.


Our earth science learning communities are inherently diverse. Learners come from different backgrounds, have different ways of learning and different skills. Those designing learning spaces must address this diversity by creating experiences that engage all learners. Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and Inclusive Design for Learning (IDL) provide a framework for developing and designing these accessible learning experiences.

Whether you are a UDL/IDL pro or are encountering UDL/IDL for the first time, this 3-day workshop is designed for you. This workshop will provide examples of UDL/IDL in formal and informal learning spaces, including the K-12 classroom, university classroom, professional organization content and venues, and field experiences. The workshop will also highlight how UDL/IDL works in different learning formats including traditional in-person experiences, synchronous and asynchronous online experiences and hybrid.

Participants will see different learning experienced designed with UDL/IDL, including the new Incorporated Institutions for Seismology (IRIS) asynchronous online "module" for first- and second-year non-geoscience major undergraduate students. This module was designed using UDL and embedded disability accessibility techniques as a recruitment tool to introduce students to the geosciences as a discipline, to specific geophysics concepts, and highlights what kinds of careers one can pursue with a geoscience or geophysics background. Importantly, this module uses Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) by design; it blends geoscience career information with topics such as identity, active bystander intervention, and authenticity.

Activities spaced over the 3-day workshop will allow participants to explore and implement aspects of UDL as well as disability accessibility in their course content and facilitation styles.  This interactive workshop will culminate with a project-sharing session among the participants, further development of the Earth Sciences UDL community of practice and lead to new curricular materials for the NAGT Teach the Earth Portal.

Workshop Program »

Target Audience

The target audience for this workshop are those who are interested in bolstering their workforce and DEI knowledge through an exploration of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and Inclusive Design for Learning (IDL).  This workshop is open to everyone, including students, pre- and in-service K-12 educators, post-secondary faculty and content creators.


By the end of this workshop, participants will:

  • Be introduced to and practice the principles of Universal/Inclusive Design for Learning (UDL/IDL)
  • Learn about common barriers to access and inclusion 
  • Explore accommodations for both visible and invisible (non-apparent) disabilities


The workshop will consist of short presentations, group activities, and discussion/reflection. Registrants will be asked to participate in brief pre-/post-meeting surveys, assigned select background readings, and provide facilitators short reflective responses prior to, and during, the workshop so that we can maximize learning interactions during our time together in Minnesota.

Pre-workshop activities will be used to provide an overview of issues and introduction to key topics so that we can start with a common background for scaffolding during our three mornings together. Pre-workshop work will include a brief survey, reading a few recommended papers and a round of guided introduction emails before EER 2022.

Personal/WIFI-enabled devices are highly recommended for this workshop.

Accommodations Note:

If you are a Person with Disability planning to participate in this workshop that would like to contact the facilitators in advance for additional consideration in accommodation, please contact Wendi at prior to EER (preferably at the time you register with EER to assist us with our planning efforts). Wendi will reply to your e-mail.

Note from Conveners/Demonstration of Accessibility:

The way this Workshop description page is formatted is deliberate. The font type and size are carefully selected to demonstrate Universal / Inclusive Design recommended practices to use sans serif fonts (e.g. Arial) *and* 16 - 18 point font.

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