Supporting Learning Differences in Post-Secondary Environments

This MOOC-Ed will initiate a mindset shift wherein professors and other staff more effectively and efficiently gain personal agency to identify, address, and implement best practice when supporting the learning of all students in post-secondary environments.

The primary audience for the Supporting Learning Differences in Post Secondary Environments MOOC-Ed is college and university professors, staff, and other faculty who regularly support and interact with students with learning differences. The approach will be applicable within and beyond the U.S. to educators and administrators working in postsecondary contexts.

Course Objectives

As participants engage in the Mini MOOC-Ed, professors and other support staff will:
  • UNDERSTAND how all people (other educators and students) learn differently, what learning differences look like at the postsecondary level, specific strategies and resources for addressing these learning differences, and how understanding these diversities lead to creating positively enabling postsecondary learning environments that meet all students’ needs;
  • APPLY strategies appropriate to their role as university faculty/ staff to better support postsecondary students with learning differences;
  • UTILIZE key framework and constructs through which they can consider and address their postsecondary students’ learning differences; and
  • CREATE courses and curriculum that better meet the needs of all students’ learning needs.

Learn More

Participants will further their thinking about Learning Differences and the "myth of average" among their college students. Educators will begin to develop and apply teaching mindsets and practices that address the learner variability on college campuses today which will support student learning in higher education. The essential questions for this unit are:

  • What are the characteristics of college students with learning differences?
  • How does seminal research and existing resources support better identification of learning differences you encounter in all of your college students
  • What are the benefits of cultivating a "mind-set" related to college students' learning variability?

In this unit, participants will learn and apply instructional design and other research-based strategies to better support college students' learning differences. The essential questions are:

  • What is UDL?
  • How can professors better support college students who learn differently from the typical student?
  • What are strategies or solutions that best meet your students' needs in higher education learning environments?

Participants are expected to do the following:

  1. Complete an initial survey about your background, organization and goals for taking the Learning Differences in Post-Secondary Environments MOOC-Ed as part of the registration process.
  2. Review selected background materials (videos, webcasts, readings) for each unit. These will provide some common background, frameworks and language to inform the discussions, projects and peer feedback. The modules will also contain additional recommended resources and personalized pathways that participants can choose to pursue.
  3. Complete the unit activities to enrich your learning and to apply the content into your own teaching practices.
  4. Contribute to the Learning Differences in Post Secondary MOOC-Ed by asking questions, responding to others' questions and sharing ideas in the discussion forum; agreeing with or identifying comments as insightful; suggesting resources that will be useful to others in higher education; and sharing your expertise in other ways.
  5. Participate in blended learning opportunities during suggested Professional Learning Community activities that can take place online or face-to-face
  6. Complete a survey about the MOOC-Ed at the end of the MOOC-Ed and provide suggestions for improving it in the future.

Friday Institute Online Professional Learning Courses provide a scalable, accessible, and flexible approach that is aligned with the principles of effective professional learning. Our approach is grounded in authentic, active, and collaborative professional learning activities. The approach builds upon the following key design principles: 

  • Self-directed learning, through personalizing your experience by identifying your own goals, selecting among a rich array of resources, and deciding whether, when, and how to engage in discussions and activities to further your own learning and meet your goals. 
  • Peer-supported learning, through engaging in online discussions, reviewing your colleagues' projects, rating posted ideas, recommending resources, crowdsourcing lessons learned, and participating in twitter chats and other exchanges appropriate to the individual course. 
  • Job-embedded learning, through the use of case studies, classroom and school related projects; developing action plans; and other activities that center your work on critical problems of practice and data-informed decision-making in your own classrooms, schools or districts. 
  • Multiple voices, through learning about the perspectives of other teachers and administrators along with those of students, researchers and experts in the field. Our courses are purposefully not designed around one or two experts who present online lectures. They provide exposure to a rich set of perspectives presented within the context of course elements that reflect these core principles.

You will see these design principles implemented in our courses through the following instructional elements:

  • Conceptual Frameworks
  • Resource Collections
  • Asynchronous Discussions and Twitter Chats
  • Student Scenarios
  • Expert Panels
  • Participant Projects and Peer Feedback
  • Crowd-sourcing
  • Professional Learning Community (PLC) Guides

Future Start Date(s) TBD
Primary Audience College Instructors
University Faculty
College/University Student Support Staff
Cost Free
Certificate Available Yes
Certificate Hours 10
Facilitators Christina Simmons

Previous Courses

Fall 2017
Spring 2017