Activity 4.1 Challenges faced by disabled students in HE

My notes so far:

Activities

Challenging to

My context

Registration processes on campus and online

Can present challenges to varying degrees to all students. For those with an impairment the process can be stressful and difficult to complete e.g. form filling, communicating, being organised, attending in person.

An online process with phone support. Not sure the online process is accessible for those with visual impairments.

Lectures – face to face

Those with visual, hearing and cognitive impairments may need support with being able to participate and benefit from the lecture and be able to take notes. May need alternative forms of aspects of lecture presentation, or handouts before. May need additional tutor support.

Face-to-face study days are held in various venues with different facilities. Students may require additional time with trainer to check understanding and cover any aspects that were difficult to follow or missed. Not sure all our students declare an impairment or ask for additional support.

Lectures – online

Similar to face-to-face these may present difficulties for students with various impairments, although being online may provide students with simpler solutions they can provide themselves.

Media used may be simple powerpoint slides, with or without audio, or video or other types of multimedia activities.

eLearning design may not be accessible to all – thinking about layout, colours used. We do provide transcript for audio, but need to check if we do the same or subtitle video or provide captions for images.

Discussion forums and webinars

As for lectures online these will present challenges, whether synchronous or asynchronous, verbal or text based.

Plans to use more discussion forums and webinars. Think about accessibility for visual and hearing impaired as well as cognitively impaired students.

Accessing subject specific resources e.g. books, journals, web pages, databases.

Those with visual, cognitive or physical impairments may find print or online resources difficult to use.

Online resources may offer more flexibility and solutions to disabled students.

Most material is online on our VLE. We provide links to further resources but don’t check the accessibility of these. Need to check  how we refer to these in our online materials.

Assessment activities

Disabled students may need additional time or special arrangements and support to enable them to complete an assessment. Or an alternative form of assessment.

Written assignments submitted online. Think about support provided for dyslexic or visually impaired?

What is purpose of assessment – to demonstrate learning and understanding and application of this. Think of appropriate alternative ways to do this.

Lab based or fieldwork activities

Challenges of the specialist environment, including safety issues and supporting disabled students to be able to benefit from the learning experience and participate.

No comparable activities for us.

Subject specific language, terminology and symbols etc

Difficult for those with cognitive impairments or with visual impairments. Also those with hearing impairments. Need alternative forms of representation or specialist software e.g. for mathematical or chemical symbols.

Terminology can be challenging for those new to a topic, do we do enough to support this aspect? Make assumptions about knowledge and understanding.

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About Mel B

Residing on the edge of the Cotswolds enjoying the great outdoors and getting creative, inbetween studying the Open University taught Masters in Online and Distance Education (MAODE).
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