Plus One Podcast

Video Episode 13 - Lisa Padden on UDL, inclusion & diversity

July 17, 2021


We discuss inclusion as a key influencer on education, and how Belmullet, County Mayo is a great place for getting almost 100% of students into higher education.  Removing barriers for students, becoming aware of the huge difference between urban & rural disadvantage.

Universal Design for Learning (UDL), for which Lisa is an internationally recognised expert.  Teaching more senior & experienced people like a set of GP’s at age 23 – in the evenings, and core academic skills teaching for every student.  Making Shakespearean Comedy accessible to a highly diverse group of students.  Helping students understand how to focus their time to balance effort against the assessment weightings.  The need to get rid of exams!

Reviewing the module & programme types of assessment to make sure they are diverse – not just based on written work for instance, to allow all types of learner to express themselves to their fullest potential.  Reflecting the diversity of your student population in the course communications and materials.



“I’m always interested and curious to learn from students, in terms of how they experience higher education, because my experience is just one experience.

… most people haven’t been exposed to actually have to think about - how do I adjust my teaching to make sure that I’m including students with dyslexia, students with ADHD, students with dyspraxia…

“…extra time in an exam… it’s not going to make up for the 12 weeks learning experience the student has had if they haven’t felt they were included in the classroom.”

Multiple modes of assessment – “If you want them to do a video, you need to teach them how to do a video.  If they’ve only ever written essays, they’re going to continue to just write an essay…”

“We have to be teachers, but we have to be learners as well”

“Rubric development as a process… can help people get over the fear of a new type of assessment.”


Useful Links:


The UDL Digital Badge rollout – Sept 2021 – sign up here!


The Book of Margery Kempe -


CELT (Centre for Excellence in Learning  and Teaching) at NUI Galway -


The DAWN Handbook – Teaching students with disabilities – Guidelines for Academic Staff -


 A Practitioner’s Guide to Choice of Assessment Methods within a Module, Dublin: UCD Teaching and Learning. (Geraldine O'Neill & Aine Galvin, 2011, Ed) – downloadable PDF -'s_Guide_to_Choice_of_Assessment_Methods_within_a_Module_Dublin_UCD_Teaching_and_Learning_O'Neill_2011_Ed


The Toolkit for Inclusive Higher Educational Institutions – Dr Lisa Padden & Dr Ann Kelly – downloadable PDF and online self-assessment tool -


UDL resources:

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