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Open AccessArticle

Taking Universal Design Back to Its Roots: Perspectives on Accessibility and Identity in Undergraduate Mathematics

1
Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Helsinki, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
2
Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Educ. Sci. 2020, 10(1), 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci10010012
Received: 1 December 2019 / Revised: 26 December 2019 / Accepted: 28 December 2019 / Published: 31 December 2019
Universal Design has been promoted to address the diversity of learners in higher education. However, rarely have Universal Design implementations been evaluated by listening to the voices of disabled students. For this study, we investigated the perceptions of three disabled students who took part in an undergraduate mathematics course designed with the principles of Universal Design for Learning and Assessment. The study consists of two parts. First, we observed the experiences students had in relation to the accessibility of the course design. The second part consisted of a further analysis of the students identifying processes to understand how they talked about their learning disabilities during the course. Our results highlight many opportunities and challenges that the course offered to the students, whilst also raising concerns about how the students excluded themselves from their student cohort in their identifying narratives. Based on our results, we argue that Universal Design should be returned to its roots by connecting it with the social model of disability. We call for future research to learn from our mistakes and consider the identifying processes of the students while designing, and hopefully co-designing, inclusive learning environments in mathematics. View Full-Text
Keywords: Universal Design; Universal Design for Learning; Universal Design for Assessment; undergraduate mathematics education; the social model of disability; accessibility; identity Universal Design; Universal Design for Learning; Universal Design for Assessment; undergraduate mathematics education; the social model of disability; accessibility; identity
MDPI and ACS Style

Nieminen, J.H.; Valtteri Pesonen, H. Taking Universal Design Back to Its Roots: Perspectives on Accessibility and Identity in Undergraduate Mathematics. Educ. Sci. 2020, 10, 12.

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