Teaching and Learning for All – Symposium – 12 July 2018

Technology as a Springboard to Inclusive Practice

Technology, Accessibility and the University of Reading

The effective use of technology can play a key role in reducing the barriers to student participation and success. Knowing how and in what ways current technologies can make learning accessible can act as a springboard to inclusive practice that can benefit all students.

Within the context of the Curriculum Framework, and the Teaching and Learning Strategy, this one-day event aims to raise awareness about accessibility and inclusivity in T&L and to provide practical advice and ideas on how technology can enhance teaching and make it more inclusive.

Programme and Booking             Speakers

The Symposium

The event brings together expert external speakers in the field of accessibility and inclusion, alongside internal University specialists who are addressing the issue of inclusive practice at the University. The interactive sessions are designed to stimulate discussion and provide advice, and ideas on how available technologies can help you to make the leap to inclusive teaching, ranging from Blackboard to Microsoft Office 365 and beyond. During the expert panel session, you can have your questions answered, while the TEL team and other University Support Services will be available during the day to get you started.

Sessions Highlights

  • Shapeshifting and invisibility – alternative approaches to inclusive practice,
    Alistair McNaught, JISC
  • Practical adjustments to make teaching more inclusive,
    Annabel Avery, DAS, University of Reading
  • Panel Discussion,
    Experts from the University of Reading, JISC, Microsoft, Blackboard
  • Microsoft built-in Accessibility Tools,
    Hector Minto, Microsoft
  • Accessibility and Beyond: Let’s play with ALLY,
    Gillian Fielding Blackboard and TEL team

    This fun workshop/competition will introduce you to the Blackboard ALLY tool which automatically creates alternative formats of your Blackboard course content to benefit all students and assists you in creating accessible documents in a step-by-step approach.

Symposium Programme and Booking             Symposium Speakers

The TEL Team

The University’s Policy on Inclusive T&L , Free Webinars on Accessibility and Global Accessibility Day

17 May 2018 will see the sixth Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). “The purpose of GAAD is to get everyone talking, thinking and learning about digital (web, software, mobile, etc.) access/inclusion and people with different disabilities.”

A number of events (f2f and online) are being scheduled for the day, including Free webinars by Blackboard. These will inform our practice, so that it aligns with the University’s Policy on Inclusive Practice in Teaching and Learning.

Further resources and information:
1. JISC: https://accessibility.jiscinvolve.org/wp/2017/05/11/global-accessibility-awareness-day-matters-everyone/
2. Blackboard: Free webinars

Changing the focus: Accessibility in Blackboard

When thinking about accessibility and inclusive teaching practice, technology is often cited as a solution. Technology can certainly assist students with disabilities but well designed online learning provision can benefit all learners.

Central to this is a shift in focus away from the ‘deficit’ model of perceiving disability, where Universities respond to a ‘need’ and adopting a ‘social’ model that addresses the structural barriers to students’ ability to participate, and succeed in learning. This is where technology can play a key role in levelling the learning playing field by designing systems that optimise access for all (JISC Quick Guide, Getting started with accessibility and inclusion).

The University’s virtual learning environment, Blackboard, is fully compatible with internationally recognised accessibility standards and has in-built features that allow students with different impairments to engage with digital content.

Turnitin is working towards full compliance. A text based PDF version of students’ work can be downloaded to work with screen-readers.

There are also things you can do to when producing your learning materials to ensure students have the best experience.

Find out how to make the most of the accessibility features in Blackboard and Turnitin.

Find advice on making your documents and screencasts accessible in the Creating accessible teaching and learning resources blackboard course. (Log-in and click the +Enrol button.)

The Library guide to Inclusive Technology provides advice on accessibility features that students can use including Windows, Microsoft and Office365.