This module models the UDL Principles of Representation and Action & Expression.

When Lecture is Necessary

Incorporating UDL into PowerPoint


Contributing Faculty

Dr. Christine Leist
School of Music
Appalachian State University


Dr. Christine Leist, MT-BC is a professor of Music Therapy in the Hayes School of Music at Appalachian State University. When asked about her teaching style, she began with a disclaimer: “I think most people teach how they were taught. I think it’s funny sometimes when you’re teaching in higher education with no training in how to teach. So when I went into teaching, I taught the way I was taught, which was lecture based.” Her experiences in the first two years of teaching made it clear to her how many different types of students exist; she “learned that everybody was different. You know that’s true, that everybody learns differently, but it was really brought home to me.” In the course of two semesters, she had radically redesigned her lectures into experientials based on students’ requests

Her classroom experiences led her to the concepts of Universal Design for Learning. “People started talking about UDL. I’m like, ‘UDL? What is UDL?’ And reading more about it, it makes so much sense. It doesn’t mean it’s easy to do, but it makes so much sense.” UDL radically changes the higher education relationship between sagacious professor and passive learner, often supporting alternative learning experiences to lectures. However, some information in the college classroom is most efficiently represented through lecture with PowerPoint presentations; the challenge is how to make them effective.

Backed by her studies and experience in Special Education and UDL, Dr. Leist actively transforms her PowerPoints to represent the curriculum when lecture is necessary. Her organized content and color coding aid in students’ activation of prior knowledge and highlight patterns and relationships. She imbeds images and graphs as alternative representation of grouped information, and links out to additional resources aimed at making the PowerPoint an interactive document for students to engage with in and out of the classroom.

Dr. Leist’s PowerPoint design integrates essential UDL guidelines that truly exemplify multiple means of representation in the classroom when lecture is necessary.

Module Format

Each of the College STAR modules includes a concept map, giving readers an overview of the module content. (A concept map represents information or concepts in a graphical format .) The concept maps show the links between the instructional practice in the module, possible outcomes, and, in some cases, the principles of Universal Design for Learning, known as UDL.

Figure 1, the concept map shown below, illustrates the components of the instructional practice in this module, which is enhancing the PowerPoint when lecture is necessary. Dr. Leist increases her use of multiple means of representation by increasing the content of her PowerPoints. She first organizes her content in a hierarchical concept. She then uses color coding of slides to indicate chunking of information. She utilizes images that represent the information in many angles, and embeds links to websites and videos so that the document becomes interactive to the students.

Clicking on the concept map, Figure 1, will enlarge the image.

Concept map presenting an overview of the module content as noted in preceding paragraphs.

Figure 1: Concept Map: When Lecture is Necessary

Module Navigation

There are multiple ways to navigate College STAR modules. Clicking on the sidebar menu takes you directly to the main sections and subsections of the module.

Navigation features located at the top and bottom of each screen allow you to move through the module. Clicking on the “breadcrumb trail” at the top of the module screen takes you directly to previously viewed parts of the module, as shown below in Figure 2 in the example from the Charting Student Information module.

Figure 2: A "breadcrumb trail" is located below the title of each page. A "breadcrumb trail" is located below the title of each page.

The navigation arrows at the bottom of each screen take you to the previous or next components of the module. The menu link at the bottom of each screen takes you to the top of the screen where you may view the menu sidebar as shown in Figure 3 below.

Figure 3: Navigation links are also located at the bottom of each page of a module.

Additionally, some links within the text lead to other sections of the module. Please use your preferred method of navigation to proceed to the next section about Universal Design for Learning (UDL).