How can Taylor help students with disabilities in Higher Education?

On Wednesday, July 21st, 35 people gathered online to learn more about ADMINS (Assistants to the disclosure and management of information about needs and support), a completed project funded by Microsoft and managed by the Institute of Educational Technology (IET) at The Open University (OU). The speaker of this seminar was Dr Tim Coughlan, a senior lecturer in IET, who was part of the research team leading the project. “But, who is Taylor?”– you may be wondering at this point if you are curious to know the answer to the question raised in the title of this post. Continue reading

The Struggle is Real: Missing Opportunities in Higher Education

“We are told we lack aspirations. No, we don’t. We lack opportunities.”

                                                                                   –Sumeya Loonat, 2021

The Open & Inclusive Special Interest Group from OpenTEL featured presentations from two external speakers in an online seminar on Wednesday, March 24th, 2021. The speakers covered interrelated topics about language, race, mental health, and financial hardship in higher education. Sumeya Loonat, a senior international student lecturer in the Business and Law faculty at De Montfort University, was the first to deliver her presentation on Language and Learning: Breaking Barriers to Success’. Sumeya’s experience as an English teacher for Academic Purposes who provides academic support for international students has contributed to her research on the intersectionality between language and race. Under the Equality Act 2010, race can mean colour, nationality or ethnic or national origins. Sumeya’s PhD focuses explicitly on students of colour who use English as an additional language within a teaching and learning context.

She has identified key barriers bilingual students of colour face in higher education, including:

Continue reading

Open & Inclusive SIG: 24th March

Open & Inclusive Special Interest Group
Wednesday 24th March 2021
10:00 – 12:00
ONLINE: MS Teams

Join us online for the next Open and Inclusive Special Interest Group, with presentations from Sumeya Loonat and Dan Holloway. Please contact openTEL for joining instructions or for more information about this event.

Presentation 1:
Language and Learning: Breaking Barriers to Success
Sumeya Loonat, De Montfort University

Abstract: This session explores the intersectionality of race and language within a teaching and learning context. There are significant barriers faced by students of colour in higher education and the impact of Covid-19 has contributed to further disparities. Students of colour make up approximately 54% of the student body at DMU; while this current framing of students is homogenous under the contested term ‘BAME’ (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) there are similar connections between domestic students of colour and international students of colour who use English as an additional language. The mainstream framing of these students is usually viewed through a deficit model which is harmful as it perpetuates negative stereotypes. This session considers alternative approaches which enhance the student sense of belonging.  Continue reading

Summary of Student Voice Event

Open & Inclusive SIG- Student Voice Event Summary Report
By Emily Coughlan

As part of the Open and Inclusive Special Interest Group, the team coordinated and delivered the first online student voice event on the 20th January2021. The event was intended to give students the opportunity to speak freely and openly about different topics, as put forward by both staff and students, and stimulate discussion around current and emerging issues regarding accessibility at the OU.

The event was attended by over 40 participants which included staff and students from different disciplines and areas within the OU. The event included three interactive workshops where students and staff were able to share their own experiences, discussing challenges they face and areas of concern as well as positive experiences.

The three workshops focussed on the following areas of interest: Continue reading

Open & Inclusive SIG: Student Voice Event

Student Voice Event
Wednesday 20th January 2021 (14:00 – 16:00)
ONLINE: MS Teams (please email openTEL to be sent an invitation)

Join us online, as part of the Open & Inclusive Special Interest Group, for our annual student voice event. Every year we host a get-together where OU staff and students can share ideas, concerns, and explore ways to make the OU a more inclusive place for students with disabilities or study needs.

This event will involve a series of short facilitated discussions with a small mixed group of staff and students. We’ll contact you in advance for suggestions of themes you’d like to talk about, so we can create groups of students and staff with similar interests.

This event will be very casual; you should get the chance to meet interesting people, have good discussions and find out more about how the OU works.

To find out more about this event you can contact openTEL, Kate Lister, Francisco Iniesto, or Emily Coughlan