all UDL is the collaborative endeavour of five Montreal area post-secondary institutions. Each partner institution is unique in their path towards furthering UDL implementation, yet share the common goal of striving toward increased student success through access.
Centennial College is a private college located in Montreal, QC. Centennial offers a pre-university Social Science and Commerce Program and a Science and Commerce Tremplin Program. We aim to provide a successful educational experience for students who have diverse learning needs. Our mission is to develop autonomous resilient learners through collaboration and innovation. In order to achieve this mission, the Centennial has adopted the philosophical framework of Universal Design for Learning (UDL).
Centennial’s tools and techniques to promote the UDL framework in the classroom include: online course materials, handouts and assignments; diverse course presentation methods (e.g., lectures, discussions, videos); diverse evaluation/assessment methods (e.g., written, oral, interactive, and experiential) and text-to-speech literacy tools. Our unique approach also includes C-Space: a mandatory one-hour period, per course, per week, in which students can study, complete assignments and receive coaching from their teacher. C-Space gives students the opportunity to practice learning strategies under the guidance of their teacher and also gives them the confidence to ask questions, seek help and work independently. The Centennial staff and administration meet weekly to review best practices and to further develop courses through the UDL framework. Centennial recognizes that this is a process that requires ongoing discussion, reflection and collaboration amongst all stakeholders in the institution.
The Research Centre for the Educational and Professional Inclusion of Students with Disabilities (CRISPESH) is a college technology transfer centre in innovative social practices (CCTT-PSN) and is affiliated to Cégep du Vieux Montréal and Dawson College.
CRISPESH is a non-profit organization which contributes to the advancement of knowledge, development and promotion of social practices promoting educational, professional and social inclusion of individuals with disabilities via applied research, knowledge transfer, consulting services and training.
CRISPESH offers various services to develop and implement initiatives in the area of social innovation. The Centre takes a collaborative approach and works with community partners, educational milieus and industry to respond to their needs regarding the social inclusion of individuals with disabilities.
Established in 1968, Dawson College became the first Anglophone College in the Cégep network. Today, with a total enrollment of over 10,000 students in day and evening programs, Dawson College is also the largest public college in Quebec. Within Dawson’s mission statement are two fundamental statements: “to provide a sound education in English to the broadest possible student population” and “to value the ethnic and cultural diversity of our College and to celebrate this diversity within the context of an English education”. A pioneer in promoting inclusion throughout the institution, Dawson has been providing services and accommodations to students with disabilities long before this kind of support was funded, or even officially recognised, by government.
Dawson has developed a rich culture of research in the area of disabilities and inclusion through the work of Dr. Catherine Fichten and the Adaptech Research Network. Currently, other Dawson researchers are engaged in a number of initiatives based on the principles of Universal Design for Learning, including the establishment of a Faculty Learning Community to promote Universal Design across disciplines. In partnership between the Cégep du Vieux Montréal and Dawson College, the College Technology Transfer Centre in Innovative Social Practices (CCTT-PSN), the Centre de Recherche pour l’inclusion scolaire et professionnelle des étudiants en situation de handicap(CRISPESH) works to develop research activities with the goal of supporting the educational, social and professional inclusion of individuals with disabilities.
Dawson College has also undertaken a commitment to transform teaching and learning spaces by moving away from the traditional classroom environment of chairs, desks, and black or white boards, and incorporating active learning classrooms, interactive technology and academic and para-academic activities that move students out of classrooms and labs altogether. At Dawson, inclusion takes many different shapes; it is woven into the fabric of the teaching and learning culture and it embraces the entire Dawson community.
John Abbott College
John Abbott College (JAC), known as having excellent teachers, is an English language institution located on the western tip of the island of Montreal with a student enrolment approaching 7,000. We offer two types of programs: two–year pre-university programs that lead to university, and three-year career or professional programs designed to lead directly to the labour market. The staff, as well as the student body, is multicultural, representing more than 100 countries. We have 300 students who have self-identified as having a physical or learning disability and as any other educational institution, all of our students have various learning styles and levels of academic skills.
UDL is very much a part of the philosophy of John Abbott. John Abbott embraces using multiple means to delivery concepts and information through reading, hands on and practical experiences. The College makes a practice of reaching out to students from various cultural communities by acknowledging contributions of people from all over the world. It makes an effort to design environments that address the possible barriers of the diversity of students on campus which include: age, gender, learning or sensory preference, and physical ability.
The Academic Dean is committed in making UDL a standard practice at JAC and the college has been represented at several conferences in the Quebec Region as well as New Brunswick, focusing on the philosophy of UDL. A variety of efforts to embed UDL across the College have been undertaken, including a class profile document – a confidential survey to provide teachers with information as to the type of students and their needs to direct and design teaching methods, tools and tips posted on the teacher web portal, a UDL advisory team, as well as a teacher “show and tell” sharing event.
Recognized as one of Quebec’s top pre-university colleges, Marianopolis College boasts a diverse student body comprised of about 2,000 students from over 175 public and private high schools, English and French, from Quebec and abroad. Recognizing the value of inclusive education, Marianopolis encourages a Universal Design for Learning (UDL) approach that helps all students (both those with and without disabilities) achieve academic success. In fall 2013, Marianopolis partnered with four other English institutions (Centennial College, Dawson College, John Abbott College and McGill University) on a Ministry-funded project to develop a UDL kit for faculty. In winter 2015, a Marianopolis teacher began to integrate UDL principles in her French class. The project was a success and UDL continues to be implemented in the next level of French in winter 2016, providing students with continuity in UDL practices. In addition, continuous efforts are being made to sensitize and assist teachers in the implementation of UDL practices.
Founded in 1821 McGill University is a leading institution of higher education in Canada, and the world. Recognized around the world for teaching and research excellence, McGill is home to an incredibly diverse student population. Our student body is the most internationally diverse of any research-intensive university in the country with students coming to McGill from some 150 countries. McGill is a bustling university with two campuses, 11 faculties, 300 programs of study, and 40,000 students. The University partners with four affiliated teaching hospitals to graduate over 1,000 health care professionals each year. At McGill we strive to build a community of people who love to teach and are excited to learn. We strongly believe that diversity and differences of ideas and cultures enrich the student experience and are committed to providing programs and services which are student-centered, inclusive and reflective of McGill’s diverse community.
The Office for Students with Disabilities, in collaboration with key stakeholders and partners from across the University, promote the pedagogical framework of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) to create inclusive learning environments which are equally accessible to our diverse student population. We provide professional development opportunities for Faculty, Students and Staff on the topics of Access, Inclusion and Universal Design to support our community in the development if sustainable pedagogical practices which respond to the diverse needs to students. There is a growing interested from course instructors in exploring and implementing the UDL framework in their classrooms. A highlight of UDL promotion at McGill was the “UDL: Canadian Perspectives” conference in May 2015. More than 300 participants participated in the conference and discussed UDL implementation in a national and international context. With additional funding being allocated towards UDL implementation and promotion, McGill continues its work on creating accessible and inclusive learning environment and supporting student wellbeing and success.