Inclusive University Digital Education: InclUDE project kicks off online
On 5th July the partners of the Inclusive University Digital Education (InclUDE) project came together online to launch their 15-month project, which will promote the accessibility and inclusivity of Higher Education organisations.
In March 2020, in response to the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, schools and higher education institutions across Europe, were forced to close their doors. Lecturers were required to transform their teaching practices overnight, to provide remote learning entirely online, creating new pressures for teaching staff and students as they navigated online learning environments.
As restrictions against the COVID-19 pandemic lift across Europe, schools and universities are beginning to return to classrooms and lecture halls for in-person learning. However, the experiences of the pandemic remain. As a result, demands for more flexible online, or hybrid learning opportunities are leading many universities to explore how online methods and tools can be used to enhance their teaching practices.
For some, the use of remote learning and online teaching tools has increased the accessibility of higher education. This is not the case for all learners however and the move online has created new challenges for the accessibility and inclusivityof mainstream education systems.
To help overcome some of these challenges, the Inclusive University Digital Education (InclUDE) project aims to build on the lessons learnt during the COVID-19 pandemic to provide lecturers, higher education professionals, students as well as support service providers with the knowledge and awareness of current online accessibility tools and inclusive practices.
Co-funded by the European Union’s Erasmus+ programme, the project will run from July 2021 until September 2022 and will create:
- An online repository that will provide an easy way to search and access free and open tools for online accessibility in English, French and German.
- A practical, step-by-step resource that guides lecturers through setting up online teaching sessions that are accessible to a wide range of students, including those with disabilities.
- Guidelines of considerations that can help lecturers to make their teaching scheduling and practice more inclusive.
The project is coordinated by the University of Wolverhampton (UK) with Universitaet Klagenfurt (Austria), Universite Rennes II (France) and the European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities (Belgium) as partners. The partnership came together online on the 5th July for the project’s kick-off meeting. The meeting provided a first opportunity to discuss the development of the project’s repository of online accessibility tools and guidelines for lecturers to promote the increased accessibility and inclusiveness of their teaching practices. Partners will now conduct a search of existing accessibility tools in English, French and German as well as survey stakeholders to collect more information on their experiences of online learning.
To find out more about the project, and its deliverables, visit the project webpage here.
For any questions about the project, please contact Rachel Vaughan via firstname.lastname@example.org