In the marketplace we call our society, where you can buy 37 different types of yogurt, toothbrushes for anyone from infants to budgies, where scanning and shopping and choosing can actually overwhelm us, and where we consistently feel the pressure to stand out from the crowd, any suggestion of providing options can feel that same as a mildly anaesthetized 6-month-old plunked in front of Paw Patrol for the first time.
And since providing options and choice is a central tenet of Universal Design for Learning, threshing out the (what you think is) 37 flavours of yogurt aspect of the framework can feel exhausting.
There is so much work and so much individual attention and NOW YOU WANT ME TO PROVIDE OPTIONS? AND CHOICE? AGAIN? MORE? WHy ThO SeAnnA.
So I’m going to keep this short and I’m going to keep this sweet because I’m already feeling like an anaesthetized 6-month old by the holidays approaching and would really prefer a nap amongst the Ferrero Rocher.
Planning for choice in your course is not like throwing the doors open to 37 types of yogurt.
Planning for choice in your course is more like deciding between vanilla or blueberry.
Planning for choice sounds like soliciting feedback from students on the five top concepts they found valuable.
Planning for choice means that of those top concepts, they can choose two for assessment.
Planning for choice means that you can offer either short answer or long answer; multiple choice or essay; take home or in-class.
Planning for choice means that in the time provided, they can rehearse and get feedback on their presentation or get feedback on exam prep.
Vanilla or blueberry.
If you have planned and there are problems and there are 1456 emails about assignment 2 and nobody is reading the course presentation and you are calling Accessibility Services and you have a bimodal distribution of grades and classroom discussions feel more like your UDL consultant napping amongst the Ferrero Rocher then your first step is to provide (limited, feedback-based) choice.
DO NOT PLAN SOMETHING ELSE/BETTER/MORE INSPIRING. PLAN OPTIONS.
What do you like about the material?
What would a valuable assessment look like?
Here are your two choices: multiple choice or short answer.
Vanilla or blueberry. Not 37, two or three. Vanilla or blueberry.