Open & Inclusive SIG – June

openTEL and SeGA are pleased to announce that June’s Open & Inclusive Special Interest Group will include talks by Ben Watson, Accessible Information Adviser at the University of Kent and Jo Buxton, Research Student in IET.

Inclusive Assessment
Ben Watson, University of Kent

Abstract: Ben will discuss the development of inclusive practices and how these are informing the work the University of Kent is doing around designing and delivering accessible assessments as the culmination of an accessible learning experience for all their students on all their modules. Ben will also discuss the wider work her has been undertaking with colleagues from Kent, Kate Lister (The OU) and Pauline Hanesworth (Scotland’s Rural College) developing a toolkit for accessible assessment as part of the Design and Development Alternative Assessment (DADA) project.

Bio: Ben Watson is the Accessible Information Adviser at the University of Kent. He also leads the OPERA project (Opportunity, Productivity, Engagement, Reducing barriers, Achievement), which seeks to implement a range of accessibility initiatives to raise awareness of the potential for inclusive design and assistive technologies to improve access to learning for all.

Design for Collaborative Engagement: Exploring inclusivity in online collaborative learning for students with sensory impairments, a design-based research project

Jo Buxton, The Open University

Abstract: Research has shown the importance of collaboration (Barkley et al., 2014), and the accessibility of online tuition and learning has been extensively explored and researched. An area where it seems to be failing, and where there is limited research, is the accessibility of online synchronous collaborative activities which are often built into the learning model and curricula and often form required components of courses.

If collaboration is important and beneficial to learning outcomes, then it is important that the collaborative experience is open and accessible to all students and that they can engage freely in online collaborative activities whether synchronous or asynchronously. There are both legal and ethical requirements for education to be accessible. When team work and collaborative effort forms part of the assessment criteria for a unit of study then this further increases the importance of accessibility. Students with hearing and/or sight loss seems to have particular barriers to engagement with these activities. Jo will discuss the proposed research and the initial findings from a pilot study of five stakeholders in the online learning environment: an academic, a tutor (associate lecturer), a representative of the disabled students’ association and two students with sensory impairments.

The context of this research project will be the Open University (OU). The core questions I intend to address in this research are:

  • How do we improve inclusively in online distance collaborative learning for students with sensory impairments?
  • What interventions might improve inclusivity?

Bio: Jo worked for many years in the commercial sector as a systems and software developer, primarily in research and development and specialising in data management and data mining. Her first experience with the OU was as a student gaining an MSc in Software Development. Jo joined the OU as an Associate Lecturer tutoring on Level 3 computing modules before becoming a full time research student.

We look forward to seeing you at 14:00 on 10th June in Meeting Room 1, Jennie Lee.