Topic 3: Equity and Access in K-12 Online and Open Learning Environments (Revised)

In my initial topic 3 blog post I focused on explaining how UDL takes into account the variability of learners and how it is a guideline to ensure equitable access to education for all. Below is Ms.Gateley’s response to that blog post where she challenged me to go beyond UDL and explore other ways to implement OEP into my lesson design.

Below are some questions that I used to expand upon my initial blog post:

  1. What are some possible barriers to OEP?
  2. What are some other examples of OEP?

Here is my revised post;

In Topic 2 we learned that an Open Educational Practice (OEP) aims to remove barriers in education, providing equal opportunity for all. So how can we implement OEP into our lesson design to ensure equity in our teaching practice? By using the Universal Design for Learning Framework! Developed by researchers at CAST, the UDL guidelines are a tool to implement UDL into our learning environment. I had previously learned about UDL in my ED-D 420 Learning Support course. We designed a lesson plan following the UDL prinicples, you can find that lesson plan here, feel free to use and remix it.

Here is a video that I watched to solidify my understanding of UDL

Basham et al. (2018) state that UDL provides choice and flexibility for how information is presented, how students engage with the information and how they show what they know. Designing lessons around the 3 guiding principles “address the academic, social and cultural distinctions that exist in today’s schools” (p.480). The principles are;

Retrieved from

UDL has the potential to reshape teaching and learning by providing flexibility and choice. In an ideal learning environment, all lessons would be designed using the framework which leads me to wonder what barriers are keeping teachers from implementing it into their practice?

According to a study done by Anstead (2016) there were 6 possible barriers to teachers implementing UDL into their practice (p.130).

  1. Time – “Time to plan, time to plan collaboratively” and “more coordination to implement it better”
  2. Supplies – “Resources”
  3. Professional Development – “Training, support and workshops”
  4. Lesson Templates
  5. Lesson Modeling – “what it looks like in the classroom”
  6. Fear of Change

Reflecting on this list of potential barriers, it seems that what teachers need to implement UDL is support from other teachers. Teachers can support each other by opening their practice to other teachers through the development of a PLN focused on the sharing of experiences and OER. Through discussions on social platforms like Twitter and Facebook, teachers can share tools, strategies and resources, creating a collaborative space where they can learn from and with other teachers.

Moving deeper into my understanding of OEP, I did some research into other ways to implement it. As stated above teachers need support and guidance and Steiner (2018) has created the visual below with stages that can be used to develop and support you OEP. Steiner suggests that the stages don’t have to take place in a linear way, that users can “[make] use of continuous back- and cross-referencing of neighbouring stages”. As a visual learner this diagram greatly increases my understanding of the process of opening your teaching practice.

This course has equipped me with the knowledge and tools to develop a practice based on Human centered learning and an Open Educational Practice. By focusing on relationship development, expanding my idea of success and developing a practice centered around the 8 principles of OEP I can build a learning environment that is accessible and equitable.

This week my pod has been working on a project to critically examine and consider strategies to support digital equity in K-12 open and distributed learnign environment. Check out our Digital Equity and Perspective Pod Project.


Anstead, Mary Elizabeth Jordan. (2016) Teachers Perceptions of Barriers to Universal Design for Learning. Minneapolis, MN: Walden University. Retrieved from:

Basham, J.D., Blackorby, J., Stahl, S. & Zhang, L. (2018) Universal Design for Learning Because Students are (the) Variable. In R. Ferdig & K. Kennedy (Eds.), Handbook of research on K-12 online and blended learning (pp. 477-507). Pittsburgh, PA: Carnegie Mellon University ETC Press.

Steiner, Tobias. (2018, February 23). Open Educational Practice (OEP): collection of scenarios (Version 1.01EN). Zenodo. Retrieved from:

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