Journal of College Student Development 45.1 (2004) 107-110
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Curriculum Transformation and Disability: Implementing Universal Design in Higher Education. Jeanne Higbee (Editor). Minneapolis, MN: Center for Research on Developmental Education and Urban Literacy, General College, University of Minnesota, 2003, 319 pages, free of charge (softcover, on-line)
Curriculum Transformation and Disability: Implementing Universal Design in Higher Education, edited by Jeanne Higbee, addresses designing flexible curriculum, programs, and services (both in and out of the classroom) that are inclusive and beneficial for all students. The intent of this volume is to inform specifically disability services staff and faculty to Universal Design and provide student services staff with examples for student affairs. This book is divided into four sections.
The first section, Understanding Universal Design and Universal Instructional Design, focuses on how the professional development opportunities for faculty can promote the use of Universal Design (UD) and Universal Instructional Design (UID). Johnson and Fox begin by offering an informative introductory chapter that provides readers with the historical roots of how disability has been viewed and the fundamental principles of UD and UID. They skillfully identify the challenges and limitations of implementing the UID model and offer their thoughts as well.
In chapter 2, Fox, Hatfield, and Collins discuss the Curriculum Transformation and Disability Model (CTAD), which is a structured 2-day interactive training workshop for faculty designed to introduce the UID model and help faculty integrate it into their curricula. The authors also offer readers formative and summative data that were used to measure faculty members' satisfaction with the workshops and how faculty members modified their courses, altered their instructional design, and used technology to enhance the learning experience. The value of UID and how faculty altered their curricula as a result of the training workshops is further elaborated by the qualitative data presented by Hatfield in chapter 3.
Schuck and Larson, in chapter 4 address why the institutional environment (e.g., small class sizes, a flexible academic environment, and meeting students where they are developmentally) at a community college complements the UID model. One of the strengths of this chapter is the emphasis on faculty and staff development in meeting the challenges presented by a diverse student population and limited resources.
In the second section, Classroom Strategies, nine chapters authored primarily by faculty members capture how curriculum can be adapted for all learners and offer viable strategies on how to create inclusive classroom environments. The utility of this section is grounded in the first person accounts which illustrate how UID enhances student learning.
Pedelty begins this section by proposing different strategies for implementing the UID within the classroom. His use of verbally discussing accommodation statements with students and providing specific examples of actual student interactions illustrates the effectiveness of this approach to building an inclusive classroom environment. In the sixth chapter, Jehangir introduces the concept of learning communities and their various definitions. She elaborates on how [End Page 107] cooperative learning and faculty collaboration can provide students with multiple ways to represent, express, and engage in knowledge.
The remaining seven chapters in this section focus on discipline specific strategies for implementing the use of UID. Bruch offers a theoretically-based discussion of the implementation of UID in a basic writing course including an explanation of how he redesigned class assignments to be more flexible and inclusive. McAlexander addresses reading assignments in composition courses and suggests workable ways to motivate students. McAlexander aptly offers a workable strategy for how the UID model can be used to individualize the course material without diluting course expectations.
For introductory mathematics courses, Kinney and Kinney explain UID's utility for a computer-mediated format. A brief yet concise description is offered of the computer-mediated course and how it addresses different learning styles are provided. Brothen and Wambach offer a computer assisted model (Personalized System of Instruction [PSI]) in teaching a general psychology course. The two case studies in this chapter clearly illustrate how the PSI model and the computer-based course materials supported the philosophy of...