Use of technology to enhance learning, teaching and assessment should be considered and appropriate, and should never exclude any learner from engaging in the process. The burden of inclusivity lies with all staff, by curriculum design, and it should not be left to students to adapt.
Universal Design for Learning (UDL)
UDL helps academics by providing a framework for understanding how to create curricula that meets the needs of all learners from the start.
The Three Principles
- Principle I: Provide Multiple Means of Representation (the ‘what’ of learning). Learners differ in the ways that they perceive and comprehend information that is presented to them.
- Principle II: Provide Multiple Means of Action and Expression (the ‘how’ of learning). Learners differ in the ways that they can navigate a learning environment and express what they know.
- Principle III: Provide Multiple Means of Engagement (the ‘why’ of learning). Affect represents a crucial element to learning, and learners differ markedly in the ways in which they can be engaged or motivated to learn.
More information about UDL can be found here.
Inclusivity – Quick Advice
1. Make course materials available online and in advance. This will allow students to process, prepare and modify into alternative formats that may be more suitable for their needs.
2. Ensure course materials are visually clear and that examples, illustrations and case studies are accessible (i.e. jargon is minimal and cultural references can be universally understood).
3. Provide flexibility in how information is delivered and discussed such as giving instructions verbally and visually. Use a variety of teaching strategies, activities, and assignments that will accommodate the needs of all students.
4. Recognise and value your students by approaching teaching sessions with an ethos of dialogue. Find ways to connect with and learn about the uniqueness of all students through ice breakers and personal reflection activities and facilitate peer-to-peer discussions to encourage students to support each other.
5. Provide flexibility in how students demonstrate their knowledge and how you assess this by varying the assignment type (for example presentation, lab report, reflective portfolio) and allowing choice in assignments, where appropriate (for example between topics or allowing students to set their own questions).
6. Prepare and support students in the assessment process by giving clear guidelines, access to marking schemes, organising assessment specific tutorials and providing opportunities to practice via class tasks or formative assessment.
7. Utilise your pastoral role. Be aware of what support services are available in order to refer students on to the right place. These services also exist to provide guidance to academic staff on how to teach more inclusively so if in doubt, ask the experts.
8. Everyone is different. Invite those who may have requirements to talk about what might be best for them.
9. Inclusivity is a journey. It is not about being all things to all people all of the time but about continually reflecting on teaching practice and asking, how can I do better?
Quick Advice adapted with permission from Plymouth University (2015).
Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)
Inclusivity can refer to efforts made to address a broad range of issues in making technology available to and usable by all, whereas accessibility primarily focuses on people with disabilities.
WAI provide strategies, guidelines, resources to make the Web accessible to people with disabilities, including these Accessibility Principles.
If you are interested in finding out more about inclusivity and accessibility then please contact TEL@yorksj.ac.uk.
CAST. 2011. Universal Design for Learning Guidelines version 2.0. Wakefield, MA: Author. Available from:http://www.udlcenter.org/sites/udlcenter.org/files/UDL_Guidelines_Version_2.0_(Final)_3.doc
Plymouth University. 2015. Inclusive Teaching, Learning and Assessment. Accessed 16 October 2015. Available from: https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/your-university/teaching-and-learning/inclusivity