The Science (Students) of Course Change #4 – Universal Design for Learning in Biochemistry
For instructors and course designers, the optimal way to structure a course is a critical question. With many pedagogical perspectives and a diverse array of student needs, it is challenging to find instructional methods that work for everyone. A framework that seeks to remediate some current challenges in teaching and learning is known as the Universal Design for Learning (UDL), an approach to education that emphasizes inclusivity and accessibility. However, its usefulness has not been extensively studied at the postsecondary level in science.
This Fall 2022 FSCI 396 project was the first part of a larger study to investigate the effectiveness of using UDL in the undergraduate biochemistry classroom. Its primary purpose was to lay the foundation for this work by developing tools for evaluating how well the classes being studied already adhere to UDL principles in their presentation slides. These will inform the formal implementation of UDL principles into course slide design and allow assessment of the effects on student experience and motivation. Our objective is for the results of this project to pave the way for more effective and inclusive course design in undergraduate biochemistry courses and beyond.
About the author:
Abigail Wolfensohn is an undergraduate student majoring in Neuroscience at the Faculty of Science. Beyond her main area of study, she is also passionate about making science more accessible and improving the state of education for all.
Abigail completed an FSCI 396 – Research Project in Science Teaching and Learning project in Fall 2022 in collaboration with Dr. Maxime Denis of the Department of Biochemistry. To learn more about FSCI 396, check out the FSCI 396 page on the Office of Science Education website or contact the FSCI 396 course coordinator, Tamara Western, at tamara.western [at] mcgill.ca.