UDL Conference 2022


Welcome to our UDL Conference 2022 webpage!

Our second UDL conference was held on campus at ATU Sligo on Thursday 26th May, with the opening address by Simon Harris, Minister of Further and Higher Education, Innovation and Science.

We had full capacity with 130 attendees. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the event, which was filled with oral and poster presentations, a great goodie bag for all attendees, delicious catering, fab musicians and just a wonderful energetic ambience. Please take the time now to browse through our poster presentation brochure and watch the recording of all oral presentations. We have also included some great photos taken throughout the day.

Our yearly UDL conference is not to be missed so look out for information on our 2023 conference – date to be confirmed in the Autumn.

Dr Niamh Plunkett, Head of Teaching & Learning at ATU Sligo

Dr Niamh Plunkett

The UDL Conference Digital Poster Brochure

The UDL Conference 2022 Brochure

Conference Details

Conference Themes:

I. Engagement: Recruiting and keeping interest

Presenters will guide conference participants through an examination of a shift in the teaching dynamic to one of collaboration and interest giving students the information they need to take control and take ownership of their learning process. Presentations will discuss UDL redesigns that foster approaches by enhancing student engagement.

II. Delivery: showcasing UDL teaching approaches to delivery in the face to face and on-line classroom

Requested are presentations that showcase UDL delivery approaches to consider real world experience and prompt students to engage as the practitioner. Redesigns that delve into increasing student motivation through any of the following teaching approaches are welcome; work-based learning, enquiry-based learning, or problem-based learning approaches.

III. Materials: Adopting a UDL classroom with accessible materials for all learner types

Teaching through Covid-19 has enhanced the materials we produce for students to engage with and these materials are now enhancing the classroom experience post-lockdown. Presentations will provide experiences on improving the student experience through UDL enhancement of materials. Also welcomed, are redesigns that have sought to alleviate stress levels by providing key relevant digital tools to aid understanding in their subject material.

 IV. Assessment: Adopting alternative assessment practices through a UDL lens  

Presentations will address alternative pathways to success which remove potential barriers making learning goals attainable. Alternative representation examples of flexible options available in an assessment which can enhance access, support learner performance, and reduce possible perceived threats shall be included.

Conference Speakers

Keynote Speaker: Dr Sean Bracken

Dr Seán Bracken is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Principal Lecturer at the University of Worcester. He is currently the Course Coordinator for the National Award SENCO and he teaches on the PG Cert for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education. Alongside Associate Professor Richard Jackson from Boston College, Seán is co-founder of the International Collaboratory for Leadership in Universally Designed Education. 

Throughout his career, Seán has been a passionate advocate for marginalised learners. Seán has been a teacher, a teacher educator and an educational project leader in a diversity of contexts and jurisdictions including at schools and universities in; Samoa, Vanuatu, the US, Ireland, Tonga, Morocco and the UK. His research areas of concern include blended learning, educational leadership and the application of Universal Design for Learning to dis/ability and intersectionality.

Welcome and Opening the Conference

Dr Orla Flynn

President, Atlantic Technological University

Dr Orla Flynn

Minister Simon Harris TD

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science

Simon Harris

Professor Jacqueline McCormack

Vice President for Equality, Diversity & Inclusion and Online Development, ATU Sligo

Jacqueline McCormack

Oral Presenters

Trish O Connell Profile

Trish O’Connell 

(ATU Galway City) 

Geraldine Duignan Profile

Geraldine Duignan

(ATU Sligo) 

Ellen McCabe

Ellen McCabe

(ATU Sligo)

Dympna Walsh_nuigalway

Dympna Walsh-Gallagher

(St Angelas College) 

Ulrich Hoeche Profile

Ulrich Hoeche  

(ATU Galway City) 

Jennifer Flynn

Jennifer Flynn

(ATU Sligo) 

Liam Morris Profile

Liam Morris  

(ATU Galway City) 

Anne Tynan Profile2

Anne Tynan  

(ATU Galway City) 

Theme I - Engagement: Recruiting and keeping interest

Presenter – Trish O’Connell  (ATU Galway City) 

Title – Using UDL to Foster Student Engagement 

Trish is a lecturer in the School of Science & Computing. Having joined ATU Galway (formerly GMIT) in 2013, she had previously worked for NUI Galway & Regis University, Colorado, USA as an online tutor for the MSc in Software Engineering. Trish commenced working on a PhD as a follow on to her Masters in Software Engineering & Database Systems from NUI Galway which was awarded in 2011. Whilst lecturing in Biopharmaceutical and Medical Science Maths & Statistics her PhD was awarded in 2019. Her research interests include the human factors in software engineering, maths education, authentic assessment and student engagement. 

Presenter – Geraldine Duignan (ATU Sligo) 

Title – Role models, Road maps and “Real” Recreation: Multiple means of Engaging students in workplace competencies. 

Geraldine is a dedicated Teaching and Learning professional in Higher Education with a background in Pharmaceutical Analysis, Drug Development and Science Communication.  Interested in creating authentic (real world) experiences in which students can practice the application of knowledge and skills and explore their own personal and professional development.   Other areas of interest include: Universal Design for Learning (UDL), Planetary Health, Sustainable Development, Creative Engagement and Team based learning. 

Theme II - Delivery: showcasing UDL teaching approaches to delivery in the face to face and on-line classroom

Presenter – Ellen McCabe (ATU Sligo)

Title – The iNote Student Journey Framework 

Dr Ellen Mc Cabe has worked in educational research for 12 years. She is an Instructional Designer with the Centre for Online Learning at the Atlantic Technological University, Sligo. Ellen’s research interests include student supports and the dissemination of inclusive pedagogies. Her book Living the Stories We Create: Preparing Students for the Digital Age was published by Springer in 2018. Ellen has also published a series of articles for The Guardian and The Irish Times. She is currently engaged in the development of online student supports through the Innovative Opportunities Transforming Education and Higher Education for All projects. 

Presenter – Dympna WalshGallagher (St Angelas College)  

Title – The impact of the implementation of the UDL principles on a Nursing Practice Skills Module 

Dympna lectures on the undergraduate and postgraduate Programmes in Nursing, Arts and Disability Studies; in addition, she supports PhD students with independent analysis of transcripts. She is currently employed as a lecturer, Disability Liaison Officer and researcher within the Department of Nursing, Health Sciences and Disability Studies, St Angela’s College. After completing her RNID, RGN, BNSc (HONS), PG (dip), RNT and MSc Dympna then completed her PhD where she concentrated on Disabled Women’s Experiences of Pregnancy, Childbirth and Motherhood. In 2018 Dympna also graduated with a Post Graduate Certificate in Education and Law. Dympna the International Disability Expert Advisor to the Disability Midwifery Research Society. 

Theme III Materials: Adopting a UDL classroom with accessible materials for all learner types

Presenter – Ulrich Hoeche (ATU Galway) 

Title – Transforming the Virtual Learning Environment in the context of UDL 

Ulrich is a lecturer and researcher on the Galway Campus at the Atlantic Technological University in the Department of Culinary Arts. He has teaching and learning expertise in the areas of Food Product Development, Culinary Innovation, Food Labelling Design and Packaging, Food Marketing, Digitalisation in Education, Blended Learning, and VLE transformation. Ulrich research activities include the advancements of digital education, with a specific focus on the online learning environment and its transformation in the context of the Universal Design for Learning. He places a student perspective approach at the core concentrating on access by learners with very divers abilities. 

Presenter – Jennifer Flynn (ATU Sligo) 

Title – Attuning Library Services to Student Needs with UDL: re-focusing social media platforms as a channel for teaching 

Jennifer is an academic librarian who has worked across a range of library services, from specialist research to public library services. 

Theme IV Assessment: Adopting alternative assessment practices through a UDL lens

Presenter – Liam Morris (ATU Galway City) 

Title – Assessing the impact of providing a choice in presenting a review paper under the UDL framework 

Liam is a Lecturer in Mechanical & Industrial Engineering Department at GMIT for over 16 years and is the programme chair for Biomedical Engineering (Level 8). He is a principal investigator and academic direction within the MET Gateway. His main research areas are in biomedical engineering and in particular replicating and simulating various disease types, the design and innovation of medical devices and treatment options. As a Lecturer and Researcher, he integrates his research with undergraduate teaching and learning. 

Presenter – Anne Tyne (ATU Galway City) 

Title – Using ‘Ladybird’ Assessment Activity to develop understanding and communication skills 

Anne has been lecturing in taxation and accounting at third level institutes education level for over ten years. Anne has also been involved with professional accounting and taxation education for fifteen years, as examiner on professional programmes, authoring educational textbooks and delivering both in-person and online seminars and workshops for professional students. Prior to joining academia, Anne worked for 10 years are a tax consultant with a Big4 Accounting firm and in the pharmaceutical industry. Anne is both a qualified accountant and Qualified Tax Adviser. 

ATU Sligo Presenters

Maureen Haran Profile

Maureen Haran

Lecturer, UDL Lead,

ATU Sligo

Tamsin Cavaliero

Dr Tamsin Cavaliero  

Lecturer in ATU Sligo

Jennifer Gilligan Profile

Jennifer Gilligan 

Instructional Designer in the Centre for Online Learning at ATU Sligo

Cathy O'Kelly

Cathy O’ Kelly 

Lecturer in the School of Business & Social Sciences,

ATU Sligo

Mairead McCann

Mairead McCann 

Lecturer in the School of Business & Social Sciences

ATU Sligo

Janette O’Neill Scott

Professor of Business & Management 

Georgian College, Barrie, Ontario, Canada

Presenter – Maureen Haran 

Lecturer, UDL Lead, ATU SLIGO 

Maureen Haran, Lecturer, Education Programmes in the Dept of Social Sciences & Programme Chair of the PG Certificate in Teaching, Learning & Assessment within ATU Sligo. She earned her B.Ed. in Middle School teaching from Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago, Illinois and is undertaking her PhD in Education at Queens University, Belfast with the focus of comparative research in implementing Universal Design for Learning across Ireland’s third level sector. Maureen leads on UDL programmes and initiatives within ATU Sligo and continues to work on inclusive education initiatives by leading on continuous professional development of academic staff. 

Title – Conceptualising the Student Voice through Communication Pathways 

How do we know if our UDL improvements are making a difference on the student learning experience? We can keep making curriculum design improvements to improve our practices but without communicating with our students to learn how this is impacting their learning, could all this development be in vain? ATU Sligo lecturers who attained a UDL digital badge (including those from the National Roll Out) were contacted to invite their student cohorts to participate in focus groups to voice their experiences based on changes made to their module, contributing to an overall evaluation of the effectiveness of these curriculum developments. These focus groups explored the students experience and the thematic analysis identifies the overall student experiences with UDL. Putting the student- centred method of teaching approach into practice, Maureen Haran worked alongside students to  ensure their feedback and ideas are captured and will help inform curriculum development with their voice. This  objective support platform captures their collective experience and the approach to student success will impact those who teach. 

Jennifer Gilligan Profile
Tamsin Cavaliero

Presenter – Jennifer Gilligan 

Instructional Designer, ATU Sligo

Jenifer is an Instructional Designer in the Centre for Online Learning at ATU Sligo. She holds a Masters in ELearning and Interactive Teaching Technologies. As an Instructional Designer she works to support and train academic staff in the use of appropriate technologies for teaching and learning. She co-teaches on the Graphic Facilitation badge module for staff and students with Tamsin Cavaliero, demonstrating how to use graphics combined with technology to teach and learn. 

Presenter – Dr Tamsin Cavaliero 

Lecturer, ATU Sligo

Tamsin is a lecturer in ATU Sligo. She teaches the Graphic Facilitation Digital Badge with Jennifer Gilligan. Her research interests include inclusive educational approaches. Her PhD explored Irish Travellers’ experiences of education. 

Title – Capturing Magic: How graphics can build a culture of inclusion 

This presentation explores the use of Graphic Facilitation as a tool for teaching and learning across a range of subjects and discipline areas to enhance communication. Aligning with the UDL principle of representation, Graphic Facilitation was introduced as a learning tool at the start of the pandemic to facilitate emergency remote teaching and assessment. The presenters (an instructional designer and a lecturer) reflect on their experiences of introducing Graphic Facilitation across all 4 themes – engagement (recruiting and keeping interest), delivery, materials and assessment as a means of facilitating diverse learning styles, enriching learning encounters, encouraging work-integrated learning, developing external links through community engagement, and facilitating co-creative learning opportunities for staff across the CUA.  

The presentation focuses on how we applied Graphic Facilitation through researching, planning, teaching, assessing, providing feedback and reflection on learning – examples of each aspect will be demonstrated during the presentation. Feedback from students is presented along with reflections on learning gleaned from this experience and adaptations to the use of the Graphic Facilitation in teaching and learning settings post-pandemic both online and in class will also be discussed. The presentation concludes with consideration for future applications across the ATU. 

Cathy O’ Kelly 

Lecturer, ATU Sligo

Cathy O’Kelly is a Lecturer in the School of Business & Social Sciences, ATU Sligo Campus, specialising in Management, Professional Skills and Entrepreneurship.  An experienced entrepreneur, professional and academic, Cathy gained expertise working in public sector, multinational and educational organisations in Ireland and internationally.  Cathy is a Facilitator Ambassador for Professional Development with the National Forum.  Research interests and publications relate to Universal Design for Learning (UDL), Problem / Project based learning, Entrepreneurship and Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL). 

Dr Mairead McCann 

Lecturer, ATU Sligo

Dr Mairead McCann, is a Lecturer in the School of Business & Social Sciences, ATU Sligo. Mairead teaches modules in Communication, People Management and Leadership. Mairead has conducted pedagogical research in the areas of UDL and Problem – Based Learning. She is a facilitator on the National Forum UDL Badge. 

Janette O’Neill Scott

Professor, Georgian College, Ontario, Canada

Janette O’Neill Scott is a Professor of Business & Management at Georgian College, Barrie, Ontario, Canada. Janette has 20 years of Corporate Executive Administration experience.  She is a Faculty Developer, and has received an award in Teaching Excellence.  As well as being a published Author, Janette is a  Consultant of Workforce Development. 

Title: Operation Brent: Embedding UDL into a Collaborative Online International Learning Experience 

This presentation will share the experience and insights gained by faculty members who have designed and delivered a UDL-inspired collaborative online international learning (COIL) project, Operation Brent. The Operation Brent (COIL) Project centered on building 21st Century employability skills such as resiliency, global competence, and intercultural learning, to better prepare students for workplace interactions in a global business world. The Faculty team worked together to embed UDL principles into each of the defined stages of the project, which included: 

  • Defining student learning goals 
  • Determining the length of the interaction
  • Designing comparative and collaborative activities 
  • Selecting methodology and technology tools for collaboration 
  • Monitoring student work and learning 

The presentation will:  

  • Share faculty learnings from the design and delivery of a COIL project: Detailing how faculty engaged and shared experiences to create a bespoke UDL curriculum opportunity, including building awareness of the principles of UDL and providing a collaborative learning space that enabled students to demonstrate their understanding of UDL. Snapshots from the journey will illustrate aspects of team-teaching and collaborative assessment and feedback. Reflective insights from the project debrief will also be incorporate. 
  • Demonstrate how the embedding of a poster assignment facilitated students to develop a deeper appreciation of the relevance of UDL to them as individual students and as a collaborative learning community.  The submission will also showcase the students’ output and contribution to a wider institutional awareness of what UDL is and means from a student perspective.  
  • Illustrate how UDL was rooted in a shared approach: the presentation will showcase a variety of examples of how multiple means of engagement and of expression were integrated into the project to facilitate students’ learning in this collaborative online international experience.

Conference Recordings

Video Presentations

Presentations over the day have been split into two videos below. 

UDL Morning Session

UDL Evening Session

Photo Gallery