Oral Session 4: Team-based learning academic accommodations and universal design for learning: Considerations in course construction and delivery
Date & Time
Tuesday, March 17, 2020, 10:00 AM - 10:15 AM
In this focus session, we examine the relationship between universal design for learning (UDL) and team-based learning (TBL). Universal design for learning holds that environments must dismantle irrelevant barriers to be accessible to the greatest number of people possible. UDL assumes every class has significant learner variability and that educators can foster success with good quality curriculum and instruction that offers flexibility in the ways students access material, engage with it, and show what they have learned. By contrast, TBL is a structured approach to course design and delivery. It is organized to make students accountable to their classmates by teaching, and learning with, others. Teams use course concepts to solve relevant problems, which “focuses student learning, provides traction in the learning process, induces team cohesion, and stimulates general student enthusiasm” (Roberson & Franchini, 2014: 275). We contend that some students (e.g. those with diverse needs in relation to mental health issues, neurodiversity, perceptual differences, etc.) may experience barriers in TBL courses. Therefore, while the team-based learning structure has offers many students powerful and engaging learning experiences, it also raises questions about inclusion and accessibility. This session considers some of those questions and comes from the experience of redesigning five undergraduate Sociology courses using TBL in a community college. We will outline some tensions between principles of UDL and TBL, as well as opportunities for addressing them. Most notably, we will explain some of the ways practitioners can maintain the TBL configuration while also minimizing barriers for students with unique needs.