Universal Design for Learning Teacher Tools

Input/Representation

  • Speech Synthesis
    Speech synthesis, or text-to-speech, is a category of software or hardware that converts text to artificial speech. A text-to-speech system is one that reads text aloud through the computer's sound card or other speech synthesis device.
  • Audio-Taped Text
    Some students who have difficulty reading traditional print textbooks and related instructional materials may benefit from using audio-taped text to supplement the printed materials. Ideally, students should follow along in the text as the text is read aloud through the tape player.
  • Effective Presentations
    Presentations are designed to inform, educate, inspire, persuade, or entertain. When the presenter considers guidelines regarding the use of text, color, diagrams, ideas, and content, the material will be more accessible to all learners.
  • Graphic Organizers
    A graphic organizer is a visual representation of knowledge that structures information into a pattern. They are effective tools for thinking and learning.

Process/Engagement

  • Cooperative Learning
    Cooperative learning is a teaching arrangement that refers to small, heterogeneous groups of students working together to achieve a common goal. Students work together to learn and are responsible for their teammates' learning as well as their own.
  • WebQuest
    A WebQuest is "an inquiry-oriented activity in which some or all of the information that learners interact with comes from resources on the Internet." A WebQuest can be utilized in almost any subject area, for all age groups, and for almost any ability level.
  • Guided Notes
    Guided notes are a skeleton outline that lists the main points of a presentation. Students are required to actively respond during the lecture, improving the accuracy and efficiency of note taking and aiding in retention of the subject matter.

Expression/Output

  • Tiered Assignments
    Tiered assignments are parallel tasks at varied levels. Tiered assignments meet the diverse needs of learners within the class while ensuring that all students develop the same essential understanding of ideas.
  • Portfolio Assessment
    A portfolio is a collection of student work that displays the student’s effort, progress, and achievement. The collection must include student participation in selecting contents, the criteria for selection, the criteria for judging merit, and evidence of student reflection.
  • Rubrics
    Rubrics are rating scales which consist of categories and descriptions of criteria in order to sort student-produced responses into levels of achievement. The purpose of a rubric is to give students informative feedback about their works in progress and to give detailed evaluations of their final products.

Developed by:
Suzanne M. Robinson, Ph.D., Diana Haynes, M.S., Laila Richman, M.S., and Tiffany Bode
University of Kansas


The University of Kansas prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin, age, ancestry, disability, status as a veteran, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, gender identity, gender expression, and genetic information in the university’s programs and activities. Retaliation is also prohibited by university policy. The following persons have been designated to handle inquiries regarding the nondiscrimination policies and are the Title IX coordinators for their respective campuses: Executive Director of the Office of Institutional Opportunity & Access, IOA@ku.edu, 1246 West Campus Road, Room 153A, Lawrence, KS 66045, 785-864-6414, 711 TTY (for the Lawrence, Edwards, Parsons, Yoder, and Topeka campuses); Director, Equal Opportunity Office, Mail Stop 7004, 4330 Shawnee Mission Parkway, Fairway, KS 66205, 913-588-8011, 711 TTY (for the Wichita, Salina, and Kansas City, Kansas, medical center campuses).