Universal Design Beyond the Classroom

Next Start Date Autumn 2024
Duration 25 hours


This course is for colleagues who interact either directly or indirectly with learners beyond the reaches of the classroom setting who wish to utilise the Universal Design for Learning framework to provide an inclusive educational experience. It will provide practical knowledge and tips to empower student support and engagement staff working beyond the classroom in further and higher education and training. This Badge is sibling to the Digital Badge for Universal Design in Teaching & Learning. Not sure which Badge is for you? Complete this quick quiz to help your decision.

This 10 week course consists of:

  • 5 self-directed online modules
  • 4 peer group sessions: these meetings allow participants to engage with each other, learn about different contexts, and share ideas.
  • 3 recorded webinars
  • 1 redesign activity: using the Universal Design framework and a +1 approach, participants will redesign an aspect of their work and report on findings from their implementation.

A flexible programme to fit around busy schedules, this course provides an opportunity for sustained reflection, helps make sense of inclusion, enhances participants’ skill sets and is a valuable piece of continuous professional development. This badge will serve to inspire you to universally design your practices, regardless of your role, so that all students and staff can engage with your work.

You’ll Learn to

  • Explain the current context in relation to Universal Design in tertiary education, reflecting on the diversity of your own student/learner populations.
  • Explain and demonstrate understanding of the key areas of accessibility legislation which must be adhered to in an educational setting.
  • Evaluate the diverse needs of learners, identifying how learners’ circumstances can impact their experience.
  • Reflect on how you can remove barriers to access through Universal Design of student/learner supports and services.
  • Apply the principles of Universal Design to your own practice.

On earning your open badge award for this course, you will have achieved further recognition in the following domains of the National Professional Development Framework for Staff who Teach:

  • Domain 3 Professional Communication and Dialogue emphasises the importance of excellent, clear and coherent communication skills within the changing learning environment.

Course Developers

This open course has been developed by the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education in partnership with:

Dara Ryder

AHEAD: Association for Higher Education Access & Disability

Danielle O’Rourke

AHEAD: Association for Higher Education Access & Disability

Erica Meslin

AHEAD: Association for Higher Education Access & Disability

Daniel Elliot

University College Dublin

Dr Bairbre Fleming

University College Dublin

Dr Lisa Padden

University College Dublin

Kathie Orr

University College Dublin

The development framework involved wide consultation and support from the further education and training and high education sector. The following organisations were heavily involved in this framework:

  • Atlantic Technological University
  • Cavan and Monaghan Education and Training Board
  • City of Dublin Education and Training Board
  • Cork Education and Training Board
  • Dundalk Institute of Technology
  • Education and Training Boards Ireland
  • Higher Education Colleges Association
  • Irish Universities Association
  • Louth Meath Education and Training Board
  • Mary Immaculate College
  • National Disability Authority
  • National Student Engagement Programme
  • Solas
  • Technological Higher Education Association
  • Technological University of the Shannon
  • Union of Students Ireland
  • University College Cork

Enroll in this Course

Facilitator Led

Learn as part of a group in an upcoming facilitator led programme


Facilitator-led courses run at different times throughout the year and result in a digital badge. Some are entirely online, some are blended, and others face-to-face. Additional facilitator training may be provided so that you can later facilitate your own open course.

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Next Start Date: 05 June 2024