open & Inclusive SIG: Positive Digital Practices

logoopen & Inclusive Special Interest Group
Tuesday 28th June (14:00 – 15:30 BST)
Open & Inclusive Special Interest Group: Positive Digital Practices, Kate Lister
Link to Recording

Join us online for the next open & Inclusive SIG meeting where Kate Lister will be presenting on Positive Digital Practices. Please contact openTEL for an invite. All are welcome!

Mental wellbeing, of both students and staff, is a significant issue in further and higher education. Increasing numbers of students are experiencing mental health difficulties, and staff are increasingly under pressure. Technology-enhanced learning is uniquely positioned to make a change for good in the sector, support hard-to-reach students and make positive changes to practice. Funded by Office for Students, the Positive Digital Practices project is scaling up positive practices in technology-enhanced learning in three key areas: Continue reading

Open & Inclusive SIG: Digital Inclusion


Join us for the next open & inclusive Special Interest Group on Tuesday 17th May 2022 (13.00 – 15.00) to hear Professor Jane Seale’s talk on digital inclusion followed by a hosted discussion around the links between openness and inclusion. All are welcome!

How can ‘openness’ enhance the digital inclusion of people with learning disabilities?

Professor Jane Seale, WELS

Over the past thirty years there has been much talk and excitement about the potential of technology to improve the lives of people with learning disabilities. And yet, in 2020 when the pandemic struck and life for many of us moved online, many people with learning disabilities were not able to use technology to keep connected and stay well. They were digitally excluded. Research conducted by Jane Seale revealed that a main reason for this exclusion was a lack of support. Many people who provide formal or informal support to people with disabilities did not have the skills or resources to facilitate access to technology. Why might this be? After thirty years of ‘talk’ why has the community not developed or sustained a practice that is capable of supporting the digital inclusion of adults with learning disabilities? In this presentation, Jane will review past and current support practices, focusing in particular on the potential role that open resources and open practices might play and the challenges around the development of open resources and open practices in the learning disability community.

Jane graduated from Plymouth Polytechnic in 1987 with a degree in psychology. She then went on to join the Computer Applications to Special Education Research Unit at Keele University where she completed her PhD focusing on the management of special needs technology in adult special education.
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open & Inclusive SIG

logoMonday 28th February, 13:00 – 15:00 (UK)
MS Teams
Link to Recording

Join us online for two presentations on Citizen Science from Jess Carr, Christothea Herodotou and Ian Kenny. Please contact openTEL for an invite.

Abstracts and Biographies

Presentation 1: Taking down the ‘elite’ – an inclusive and creative approach to citizen science, Jess Carr

All too often, sectors of society are marginalised based on the false beliefs that they are ‘hard to reach’. A term found in funder’s briefs, literature and used widely within the research community, it suggests that the fault for lack of engagement is due to the community’s ability to be reached. Yet, as our society begins to question inequalities, and fight back against them, the research community needs to ask whether it’s doing enough to remove this elitist and damaging concept.

In this presentation, I will discuss my PhD project entitled: ‘Can an inclusive approach meaningfully engage people with learning disabilities? Exploring capacity building for citizen science.’. In this project I worked with a local self-advocacy group Continue reading

Assistive Technology and UX Accessibility – Open and Inclusive SIG

logoThank you to all who joined the Open and Inclusive Special Interest Group this December. We closed off the year with two wonderful speakers: Julie Eshleman and Beatriz Gonzalez. The talk focused on Assistive Technology and Designing for the Extremes on Wednesday December 1st.

First, we heard from Julie Eshleman, a PhD student at the University Sterling who discussed her amazing work with the Leonard Cheshire charity. We saw videos that showed first-hand how assistive technology is applied and the importance of it to the disabled community. Quoting Arthur C Clarke, Julie highlighted how ‘any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic’ and that assistive technology can be magical in the hands of those who need it most. If there was one thing the Covid-19 pandemic taught us, it is the importance of technology to our everyday lives. As companies and educators scrambled to provide tech to their workforces and students, we as a society came to realise how technology is the very basis of current civilisation. Yet for certain communities it can provide more than just a platform for connection, it can provide choice and freedom. Julie shared with the group how, in her PhD, she will look at how assistive technology interventions benefit users, and equally the consequences these changes in their lives can have.

Beatriz Gonzalez joined us from to discuss the importance of designing for further than the ‘average’. The first part of her talk highlighted how, throughout history, designs focused on an ‘average’ have failed in designing for the population. In fact, Beatriz says that ‘designing for the average person is designing for no-one’. With this in mind, should we be focusing not on designing for an average that doesn’t exist, but instead for the ‘extremes’ so we include everyone? By following the ‘POUR’ principles of accessibility, to make systems ‘Perceivable, Operable, Understandable and Robust’ for all types of people. Tools which were shared to support our design thinking was the ‘’ resource from the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford University.

The key message from this month’s Open and Inclusive Special Interest Group was that more needs to be done to ensure technology is designed for all. We, as designers and researchers, should ‘diversify our extremes’ and move away from ‘the binary’. This was best put in the final quote from the Leonard Cheshire Charity’s video shared by Julie Eshleman: ‘…but it is only the beginning’.

The Recording is available for OU Staff here: OU staff recording link

To join the open & Inclusive mailing list please email openTEL

open & Inclusive SIG: Presentations on Assistive Technology & UX Accessibility

logoJoin us for the next open & Inclusive SIG on Wednesday 1st December (14:00-16:00) where we will be joined by Julie Eshleman, talking about her work with Assistive Technology, and Beatriz Gonzalez Mellidez, presenting on UX accessibility work using personas and designing for extremes. More information below.

For an invite please contact openTEL. All are welcome!

Presentation 1

Technology for Adults in Care Settings – Finding What Works

The last two years have seen a dramatic increase in both mainstream and specialist technology purchases within social care – both to empower the workforce to conduct tasks more efficiently and as tools for disabled adults to stay connected with loved ones during a very difficult year. With this speed of technology integration, we have missed the opportunity to carefully understand what we are doing and why we are doing it – in our fixation to get technology in place, we have made technology the goal rather than the way to achieve goals. I am conducting research through the University of Stirling Continue reading