Essential Qualities

The Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) developed a theoretical framework consisting of three essential qualities that universally designed instruction should have: multiple means of representation, multiple means of engagement, and multiple means of expression.

1. The instruction utilizes multiple means of representation.

    Examples:
  • Chalkboard
  • Powerpoint presentations
  • Overhead transparencies
  • Models
  • Simulations
  • Assignments in written form and posted on course website
  • Accessible electronic materials
  • Lecture outlines or notes distributed in class and/or posted on course website
  • Study guides
  • Summary of major concepts

2. The instruction utilizes multiple means of engagement .

    Examples:
  • Variety of assignments (e.g., readings, group projects, tutorials, web searches)
  • Small group discussions, whole-class discussions, lectures, etc.
  • Teaching of explicit strategies to learn the material

3. The instruction utilizes multiple means of expression .

    Examples:
  • Variety of graded exercises (e.g., papers, examinations, homework, presentations)
  • Multiple formats on examinations (e.g., essay, short answer, oral)
  • Choices in graded exercises (e.g., final exam or final paper)
  • Sufficient time on examinations
  • Use of word processing, spell check, and grammar check

Sources:

Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST)
Curriculum Transformation and Disability (CTAD)