Integrating UDL Strategies into the Online Course Development Process: Instructional Designers' Perspectives

Korey Jerome Singleton, Anna Evmenova, Marci Kinas Jerome, Kevin Clark


This qualitative case study design examined the perspectives that instructional designers at a 4-year research institution in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States have about integrating UDL strategies into the online course development process. The participants were six individuals involved in the online course development process: four of the participants were instructional designers working for the Instructional Design Team, one participant was an assistant program manager in the Office of Distance Education, and the other was an instructional designer working in the College of Health and Human Services. The interviews focused on the participant’s perspectives on the integration of UDL strategies and how they believe faculty perceived such practices. Using a series of semi-structured interviews and document analysis, three distinct themes emerged: (a) the importance of the instructional designer/faculty member partnership, (b) the number of factors impacting faculty adoption of UDL strategies in their online courses, and (c) faculty resistance to changes in how classroom accommodations are addressed in the higher education classroom. In addition to highlighting factors impacting the integration of UDL strategies, the findings also revealed techniques that could be useful in improving faculty adoption of such practices.


Online learning, accessibility, UDL, universal design, disability, distance education, higher education, online course development, instructional design

Full Text:



Aguirre, R. T. P., & Duncan, C. (2013). Being an elbow: A phenomenological authoethonography of faculty-student collaboration for accommodations. Journal of Teaching in Social Work, 531-551.

Allen, I. E., & Seaman, J. (2013). Changing course: Ten years of tracking online education in the United States (Sloan Online Survey No. 10) (p. 47). Babson Survey Research Group. Retrieved from

Asst. program manager (2015a, April). DE course portfolio results - Fall 2014 online pilots. PPT presented at the Distance Education Council Meeting, George Mason University.

Asst. program manager (2015b, July). Spring 2015 DE course pilots - DE course portfolio review results. PPT presented at the Faculty Developer De-Briefing, George Mason University.

Banning, J. H. (1997). Assessing the campus' ethical climate: A multidimensional approach. New Directions for Student Services, 1997, 95-105.

Burgstahler, S. (2012). Equal access: Universal design of distance learning (pp. 1-4). University of Washington, DO-IT. Retrieved from

Cho, J., & Trent, A. (2006). Validity in qualitative research revisited. Qualitative Research, 6, 319-340.

Corbin, J., & Strauss, A. (1990). Basics of qualitative research: Grounded theory procedures and techniques. Basics of Qualitative Research: Grounded Theory Procedures and Techniques, 41.

Creswell, J. (2009). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

Fichten, C. S., Asuncion, J. V., Barile, M., Ferraro, V., & Wolforth, J. (2009). Accessibility of e-learning and computer and information technologies for students with visual impairments in postsecondary education. Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, 103, 543-557.

Flyvbjerg, B. (2006). Five misunderstandings about case-study research. Qualitative Inquiry, 12, 219-245.

Flyvbjerg, B. (2011). Case study. In N. K. Denzin & Lincoln, The SAGE handbook of qualitative research (4th ed., pp. 301-316). London: SAGE Publications.

Hsieh, H.-F., & Shannon, S. E. (2005). Three approaches to qualitative content analysis. Qualitative Health Research, 15, 1277-1288.

Kumar, K. (2010). A journey towards creating an inclusive classroom: How universal design for learning has transformed my teaching. Transformative Dialogues: Teaching & Learning Journal [Serial Online]. November, 4, 1-5.

Kumar, K. L., & Wideman, M. (2014). Accessible by design: Applying UDL principles in a first year undergraduate course. Canadian Journal of Higher Education, 44, 125-147.

LeCompte, M. D., Preissie, J., & Tesch, R. (1993). Selecting and Sampling in Qualitative Research. In Ethnography and qualitative design in educational research (2nd ed., pp. 56-85). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

Lewin, T. (2015, February 12). Harvard and M.I.T. are sued over lack of closed captions. The New York Times. Retrieved from

Lloyd, S. A., Byrne, M. M., & McCoy, T. S. (2012). Faculty-Perceived Barriers of Online Education. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 8. Retrieved from

Lombardi, A. R., Murray, C., & Gerdes, H. (2011). College faculty and inclusive instruction: Self-reported attitudes and actions pertaining to Universal Design. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, 4, 250-261.

Maxwell, J. A., ,. (2013). Qualitative research design : an interactive approach. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: SAGE Publications.

Moriarty, M. A. (2007). Inclusive pedagogy: Teaching methodologies to reach diverse learners in science instruction. Equity & Excellence in Education, 40, 252-265.

Parry, M. (2010). Penn State accused of discriminating against blind students. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from

Ruddin, L. P. (2006). You can generalize stupid! Social scientists, Bent Flyvbjerg, and case study methodology. Qualitative Inquiry, 12, 797-812.

Schaffhauser, D. (2018). Online course enrollment sees relentless growth. Retrieved February 3, 2018, from

Schelly, C. L., Davies, P. L., & Spooner, C. L. (2011). Student perceptions of faculty implementation of universal design for learning. Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability, 24, 17-30.

Stake, R. (1995). The art of case study research. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

Szpaller, K. (2012). Disabled UM students file complaint over inaccessible online courses. The Missoulian. Retrieved from

United States Access Board. (2017). Retrieved November 6, 2017, from

Zou, J. J. (2011). Blind Florida State U. students sue over e-learning systems. Retrieved July 14, 2012, from


Copyright (c) 2019 Korey Jerome Singleton, Anna Evmenova, Marci Kinas Jerome, Kevin Clark