Reaching Students in Online Courses Using Alternative Formats




Universal Design for Learning (UDL), elearning, learning styles, multiple means of representations, alternative formats


This research was conducted to explore whether students enrolled in graduate level courses found some Universal Design for Learning (UDL) strategies useful and if they actually used them. The strategies we investigated were presenting course information in alternative formats including PowerPoints with voiceover, screencasts, and videos as an alternative to text resources. In addition, students were invited to submit assignments in alternative formats as well as text. To examine these strategies, we used a student questionnaire, analytics from Blackboard, and assignment formats students used. The results indicate that text was the preferred format for accessing course information and resources as well as assignment submission. However, a substantial number of students acknowledged the benefits of using alternative formats and a smaller percentage used them. We suggest that instructors take advantage of UDL strategies that were examined since a sufficient number of students used them and because learning styles differ. We can reach more students by using these strategies.

Author Biographies

Patricia Fidalgo, Emirates College for Advanced Education, Abu Dhabi, UAE

Assistant Professor

Division of Curriculum and Instructional Technology

Emirates College for Advanced Education, UAE

Joan Thormann, Lesley University, Cambridge, MA, US

Educational Technology Division



How to Cite

Fidalgo, P., & Thormann, J. (2017). Reaching Students in Online Courses Using Alternative Formats. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 18(2).



Research Articles