Date of Award

Fall 2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


STEM Education & Professional Studies


Instructional Design and Technology

Committee Director

Tian Luo

Committee Member

Shana Pribesh

Committee Member

Kevin Mallary


This study sought to address the gap in knowledge about the effect of UDL features on asynchronous online postsecondary learners’ achievement, engagement, and self-efficacy. The study also described a process for redesigning an online course to incorporate UDL components and provided specific examples of the implemented UDL guidelines. The study was conducted in a three-phase multimethod research design, which included quantitative and qualitative data collected from the participants, the learning management system (LMS), and the course instructor.

In collaboration with the course instructor, the researcher redesigned an existing asynchronous online university Computer Science course using UDL guidelines to address learning barriers. The researcher developed the UDL Redesign Cycle for Online Courses during this process. The UDL-enhanced course was taught during the same semester as the original course as two separate sections taught by the same instructor. Participants in the original course served as a comparison group (n = 20), and participants in the UDL-enhanced course (n = 23) served as the treatment group. Canvas LMS collected grade and participation data throughout the semester. Near the end of the semester, participants completed an online survey that contained demographic items, an adapted version of the Online Learning Self-Efficacy Scale (OLSES), and three open-ended items related to their achievement, engagement, and self-efficacy. Final course grades, measures of participation in the LMS, and OLSES scores were compared between the groups at the end of the course. A semi-structured interview with the instructor was conducted to investigate observed differences between groups and perceptions about the benefits and challenges of implementing ULD.

Results from the study showed that UDL interventions had no effect on learner achievement but did positively affect engagement. UDL interventions had a strong, positive effect on self-efficacy, measured using an adapted version of the OLSES. Recommendations for implementing UDL in online courses and recommendations for future research are provided.


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