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Universal Design for Learning
Curriculum Considerations

Representation and the Community of Inquiry Model

Let’s return to the third principle of UDL and use the Community of Inquiry model to explore multiple means of representation and equity education.

Selecting content that models decolonizingOpens in a new window practices and representing this in multiple ways is the emphasis of this principle. In terms of supporting an online Community of Inquiry, shared intellectual focus between learners engaged in discussions, brainstorming, or study dyads or groups is enhanced when students have access to multiple means of constructing meaning from the content. Modelling questions that draw out critical discourseOpens in a new window (used either by you or your students to demonstrate curiosity), interactive inquiry, and metacognition are all integral to the process of learning. This revised Bloom’s TaxonomyOpens in a new window may offer you some ideas of wording for these questions.

Three overlapping circles form a Venn diagram. Each circle is a different colour. Where two circles overlap, the shading is darker. Where all three circles overlap is white with the words “Educational Experience” at the centre. The top left circle is labeled “Social Presence.” Underneath this label are the words “Group Cohesion and Shared Intellectual Focus.” The top right circle is labeled “Cognitive Presence.” Underneath this label are the words: “Information Exchange and Integration, Constructing Meaning.” The third circle at the bottom, centred, is labeled “Teaching Presence.” Underneath this label are the words: “Direct Instruction and Supporting Critical Discourse.” In a curve that follows at the base of this circle is the label “Setting Curriculum (UDL Design).” Where Social Presence and Cognitive Presence overlap at the top centre is the label “Supporting discourse.” Where Cognitive Presence and Teaching Presence overlap is the label “Selecting content.” And where Teaching Presence and Social Presence overlap is the label “Setting climate.”

Social Presence

  • Does the collaborative environment invite student exchange through a variety of mediums (audio, visual, text, language/symbols, etc.)?
  • Are diversityOpens in a new window and lived experienceOpens in a new window integrated into student exchange in ways that promote new learning and solidarityOpens in a new window?
  • Do student exchanges go beyond purely social, and beyond quantity, to deliberate communication with shared intellectual focus?
  • Do the technological tool choices promote social presence in the course in an accessible way?

Cognitive Presence

  • Are there a variety of means for diverse students to experiment with concepts and meaning construction?
  • Do opportunities for problem-solving acknowledge social identitiesOpens in a new window and power structures that shape critical interaction with materials?
  • Are there opportunities and options for problem and solution identification?
  • Are options for information exchange stemming from a foundation of inquiry (vis-a-vis each other and between students and teachers)?

Teaching Presence

  • Is the distinction between direct instruction and facilitation clear and balanced in application?
  • Do developmental options (scaffolding) assist students in identifying gaps in their knowledge? Do they support critical discourseOpens in a new window and help make sense of complex information?
  • Are options for inquiry and question design represented in a variety of ways?
  • Does the feedback provided support mastery learning and the scaffolding of the course?
Next sectionP.O.P. Revisited