We recognize that you may be teaching face-to-face, fully online, remote, or hybrid classes. When relevant, we provide specific resources related to these settings. For example, the two syllabus examples are for a face-to-face and fully online class. Depending on your method of delivery, you may need to restructure course elements that worked in one setting but not in another. Research tells us that in times of stress, students need activities that will help them to build community. It may be harder for them to be highly self-reflective. During the current pandemic of COVID-19, it is particularly important to think about the classroom climate, complicated dimensions of your students’ identities, the task load for students and how to build community.
We have found that incorporating elements of Universal Design for learning maximizes opportunities for all students in your classes, particularly when paired with the Negotiated Syllabus. Students with learning differences who have used this text have told us that its organization helps them understand where to focus and how to read. Our 2017 paper on Universal Design—which is included in these resources—outlines specific ways to shift your class to have a stronger learner focus. To help students focus their reading, we recommend using the Synopsis, Scaffolding, and Core Concepts at the beginning of each chapter to remind students about what they do know and to help them predict information in the chapter. An alternative would be to have students read the discussion questions and vocabulary at the end of the chapter before beginning their full chapter reading.