Select Page

20170415c.500pxPresenter: Thomas J. Tobin, PhD, MSLS, PMP, MOT

Topic: Reach Every Student with Simple, Effective Design Strategies

Date: October 12, 2017

Time: 4pm-5:30pm

Location: Attend in-person or online, information will be made available to registrants only

Open to the public, especially our partner schools. 


Abstract: To help make educational materials and practices inclusive and useful for all learners, this interactive workshop radically reflects on how faculty members and course designers can adopt Universal Design for Learning in order to create learning interactions that provide students with more time for study and practice in their busy days: broaden our focus away from learners with disabilities and toward a larger ease-of-use/general-inclusion framework. This workshop is for teaching at all levels.

Description: This workshop will introduce you to Universal Design for Learning, especially as newly revised for higher education (CAST, 2014). You will discover how to implement UDL in the design of your online course environment so that it creates places for best teaching practices to take place in the classroom and beyond. This is best accomplished through an incremental approach, using a “next 20” series of milestones—achievements that can be attained in the next 20 minutes, 20 days, and 20 months (Tobin, 2014).

You’ll also find out where to look for help at your institution and as part of Blackboard: recent research from CAST and the Center for Universal Design in Education suggests that institutions whose faculty-support staff members use UDL, too, see better adoption rates and deeper penetration of UDL principles across all courses (CAST, 2014; DO-IT, 2015). By attending this workshop presentation, you will be able to:

  • help faculty colleagues to incorporate Universal Design for Learning (UDL) elements into their courses,
  • design/retrofit existing course components using UDL principles,
  • expand your institution’s use of UDL elements beyond the legally-required minimum.

This workshop uses active-learning techniques and provides use-them-now resources for participants. Especially by relating UDL to broader access benefits for all learners, this session’s activities serve as a model for participants to re-frame accessibility and inclusion conversations there.

This workshop posits diversity in its most inclusive form: instead of relying solely on providing accommodation services to learners with disabilities—which is most often a last-minute, ad-hoc, reactive process—adopting UDL as part of an institution’s culture of course design and teaching practices allows all learners to benefit, regardless of their place on the ability spectrum.

This workshop is for teaching at all levels.


  • DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology). (2015). Applications of universal design in postsecondary education. Center for Universal Design in Education. University of Washington.
  • CAST. (2014). UDL on campus: Universal design for learning in higher education—a guide.
  • Chickering, A. and Gamson, Z. (1987). Principles for good practice in undergraduate education. The Wingspread Journal (Special insert, n.p., June). Racine, WI: Johnson Foundation.
  • Tobin, T. J. (2014). Increase online student retention with Universal Design for Learning. Quarterly Review of Distance Education 15(3): 13-24.

Thomas J. Tobin, Ph.D. Bio

Thomas J. Tobin spent five years as the Coordinator of Learning Technologies in the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, and is now a faculty developer and professional consultant in State College, Pennsylvania. He is an internationally-recognized speaker and author on topics related to quality in distance education, especially copyright, evaluation of teaching practice, academic integrity, and accessibility/universal design for learning.Since the advent of online courses in higher education in the late 1990s, Tom’s work has focused on using technology to extend the reach of higher education beyond its traditional audience. He advocates for the educational rights of people with disabilities and people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

In the field of online-course and -program quality, he is best known for his work on administrative-evaluation techniques; his article on “Best Practices for Administrative Evaluation of Online Faculty” (2004) is considered a seminal work in the field, and has been cited in more than 150 publications.

Tom serves on the editorial boards of eLearn Magazine, InSight: A Journal of Scholarly Teaching, the Journal of Interactive Online Learning, and the Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration.

His most recent book is Evaluating Online Teaching: Implementing Best Practices (Wiley, 2015) with Jean Mandernach and Ann H. Taylor. He is currently writing Reach Everyone, Teach Everyone: Re-Framing Universal Design for Learning in Higher Education, expected from West Virginia University Press in early 2018.

His comic book (yes, comic book) on copyright, entitled The Copyright Ninja: Rise of the Ninja was published on May 15, 2017. It teaches college and university faculty members, support staff, and campus leaders about copyright, fair use, licensing, and permissions. Plus, it has ninjas.

Tom is also proud to represent the United States on a Spring 2018 Fulbright Scholars core grant, under which he will help Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, Hungary to develop its first faculty-development program.

For more, please visit: 

Co-Sponsored by

coli_canisius_ctr_4csqLogo-NY-Canisius-GriffCenter-officialEducation Technologies & Emerging Media