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Kate Lister


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Professional biography

I am a Lecturer in Education Studies at the Open University, specialising in accessibility, inclusive pedagogy, and embedding mental wellbeing in curricula and teaching practiceMy role involves leading on and championing accessibility and inclusive practice; I am ECYS Accessibility Lead, I lead the Cross-Faculty Accessibility Working Group and the OU's Embedding Mental Wellbeing in the Curriculum project. I also co-lead the Open & Inclusive Special Interest Group and I am deputy chair of SeGA (Securing Greater Accessibility) Coordination Group and the Accessibility Referrals Panel (ARP.) I train and support OU staff to be inclusive by design, I provide expertise in complex reasonable adjustment cases, and I champion disabled student needs at different echelons of the University. I am a principal fellow of the Higher Education Academy (PFHEA).

My background is in educational technology, language learning and accessible and inclusive pedagogies in international contexts; I worked in Germany, Spain and China before moving to the UK to take up my current role. My research interests include barriers to learning, mental health and wellbeing in learning, participatory research, student engagement and inclusive approaches in language. 

In addition to my OU role, I am also an Associate for Advance HE, where I co-lead on the Mental Wellbeing in the Curriculum collaborative project and was a team member on the Towards Embedding EDI in the Curriculum project. 

Research interests

My research focuses on accessibility, wellbeing and inclusion in post-secondary education. Recent research and scholarship activity includes:

'Positive Digital Practices' (Office for Students-funded) • Project lead and PI • 2021-2023. A collaborative project seeking to scale up, embed and sustain positive practices that support mental wellbeing in learning for part-time, commuter and distance learning students. In partnership with University of Bradford, University of Warwick, Jisc, Student Minds and University Mental Health Advisor Network (UMHAN.)

'ADDAPT' (HEIF-funded) • Co-investigator • 2020-2021. A knowledge exchange project in partnership with Jisc, identifying use cases in UKHE for AI in accessibilty and disability support. 

‘Distance Learning and Mental Health: Embedding wellbeing in the curriculum’ (IET funded).• Principal investigator • 2018-2021. Exploring barriers to wellbeing and study success in distance learning, and identifying solutions that can be embedded in curricula and support

ADMINS’ (Microsoft funded) • Co-investigator • 2019-2020. Building an AI assistant to support students through disability disclosure and administrative processes related to disclosing study needs and arranging reasonable adjustments

‘Inclusive language’ (eSTEEM funded) • Principal investigator • 2019-2021. Seeking input from students and staff in OU nations and regions towards a collaborative evaluation of disability language guidance (following on from ASSIST project)

DSA in OU’ (WAS funded) • Co-investigator • 2019-2020. Investigating the application process for Disabled Students’ Allowances from the students’ and needs assessors’ perspectives. Identifying good practice that can be scaled up and common themes for further exploration

‘Linked Journeys’ (Jisc funded) • Co-investigator • 2019-2020. Linking learning analytics with study journey representations and narrative capture to understand patterns in students’ behaviour that may signify mental health difficulties

'Embedding EDI in Module and Qualification Specification' (MSQ-funded)• Co-investigator • 2017-2018. Working with stakeholders to create guidance on EDI for module and qualification specification, and for critical readers and external assessors of module material

'Inclusive STEM Practices (IncSTEM) (Hefce Catalyst funded) • Workpackage leader • 2017-2019. Embedding and sustaining inclusive practices in STEM through evaluating and scaling up eight institutional case studies to the wider HE sector

'ASSIST Disability Language Project' (WELS Scholarship PRA Funded) • Principal investigator • 2016-2018. A project seeking to identify student-led language and terminology for discussing disability-related study needs

Teaching interests

My teaching interests relate to inclusion, accessibility and wellbeing in education. I authored on two microcredentials and am a module team member for three modules in presentation. 



Representing the Unseen with “Our Journey”: a Platform to Capture Affective Experiences and Support Emotional Awareness in University-Level Study (2021-06)
Coughlan, Tim; Lister, Kate and Lucassen, Mathijs
Journal of Formative Design in Learning, 5(1) (pp. 39-52)

Mental health in distance learning: a taxonomy of barriers and enablers to student mental wellbeing (2021)
Lister, Kate; Seale, Jane and Douce, Christopher
Open Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance and e-learning ((Early Access))

Designing for wellbeing: An inclusive learning design approach with student mental health vignettes (2021)
Lister, Kate and McFarlane, Ruth
Open Praxis, 13(2) ((In Press))

Evaluating inclusion in distance learning: a survey of university staff attitudes, practices and training needs (2020-10-07)
Lister, Kate; Pearson, Victoria K.; Collins, Trevor D. and Davies, Gareth
Innovation: The European Journal of Social Science Research ((Early Access))

Learning Needs, Barriers, Differences and Study Requirements: How Students Identify as ‘disabled’ in Higher Education (2020-04)
Lister, Kate; Coughlan, Tim and Owen, Nathaniel
Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning, 22(1) (pp. 95-111)

Disability’ or ‘Additional study needs’? Identifying students’ language preferences in disability-related communications (2020-03)
Lister, Kate; Coughlan, Tim and Owen, Nathaniel
European Journal of Special Needs Education, 35(5) (pp. 620-635)

Embedding and Sustaining Inclusive Practice to Support Disabled Students in Online and Blended Learning. (2019-06-14)
Pearson, Victoria; Lister, Katharine; McPherson, Elaine; Gallen, Anne-Marie; Davies, Gareth; Colwell, Chetz; Bradshaw, Kate; Braithwaite, N St.J and Collins, Trevor
Journal of Interactive Media in Education, 1, Article 4

Accessible Inclusive Learning: Foundations (2019-12-18)
Coughlan, Tim; Lister, Kate; Seale, Jane; Scanlon, Eileen and Weller, Martin
In: Ferguson, Rebecca; Jones, Ann and Scanlon, Eileen eds. Educational visions: The lessons from 40 years of innovation (pp. 51-73)
ISBN : 978-1-911-52980-4 | Publisher : Ubiquity press | Published : London

Accessible Inclusive Learning: Futures (2019-12-18)
Coughlan, Tim; Lister, Kate; Seale, Jane; Scanlon, Eileen and Weller, Martin
In: Ferguson, Rebecca; Jones, Ann and Scanlon, Eileen eds. Educational visions: The lessons from 40 years of innovation (pp. 75-91)
ISBN : 978-1-911-52980-4 | Publisher : Ubiquity press | Published : London

Implementing an accessible Conversational User Interface applying feedback from University students and disability support advisors (2021-04)
Iniesto, Francisco; Coughlan, Tim and Lister, Kate
In : 18th International Web for All Conference (19-20 Apr 2021, Ljubljana, Slovenia)

Designing an Assistant for the Disclosure and Management of Information about Needs and Support: the ADMINS project (2020-10)
Iniesto, Francisco; Coughlan, Tim; Lister, Kate and Holmes, Wayne
In : 22nd International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility (26-28 Oct 2020, Athens, Greece (Online)) (pp. 1-4)

Accessible Conversational User Interfaces: Considerations for design (2020-04)
Lister, Kate; Coughlan, Tim; Iniesto, Francisco; Freear, Nick and Devine, Peter
In : Web for All 2020 (20-21 Apr 2020, Taipei, Taiwan)

Accessibility Coordinators: A model for embedded, sustainable change towards inclusive higher education (2019-11-11)
Pearson, Victoria; Lister, Katharine and Coughlan, Tim
In : 12th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation (ICERI 2019) (11-13 Nov 2019, Seville, Spain) (pp. 3127-3136)

Towards Inclusive Language: Exploring student-led approaches to talking about disability-related study needs (2019-11-11)
Lister, Katharine; McPherson, Elaine; Coughlan, Tim; Gallen, Anne-Marie and Pearson, Victoria
In : 12th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation (ICERI 2019) (11-13 Nov 2019, Seville, Spain) (pp. 1444-1453)

Our Journey: Designing and utilising a tool to support students to represent their study journeys (2019)
Coughlan, Tim; Lister, Kate and Freear, Nick
In : 13th Annual International Technology, Education and Development Conference (INTED) (11-13 Mar 2019, Valencia, Spain) (pp. 3140-3147)

Embedding and Sustaining Inclusive Practices in STEM (2019)
McPherson, E.; Lister, K.; Pearson, V. K.; Colwell, C.; Gallen, A. M. and Collins, T.
In : 13th International Technology, Education and Development Conference (11-13 Mar 2019, Valencia, Spain) (pp. 2717-2722)

Understanding SEaM student comments from a Big(ger)Data perspective: what are students saying? (2018-06)
Ullmann, Thomas; Lay, Stephanie; Coughlan, Tim; Lister, Katharine; Cross, Simon; Rienties, Bart and Whitelock, Denise
In : CALRG Annual Conference 2018 (18-19 Jun 2018, The Open University, Milton Keynes) (pp. 39-39)

The accessibility of administrative processes: Assessing the impacts on students in higher education (2018-04-23)
Coughlan, Tim and Lister, Katharine
In : 15th International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility (Web4All 2018) (23-25 Apr 2018, Lyon, France)

Student perceptions of the language of disability, deficit and empowerment (2018-04)
Lister, Katharine and Coughlan, Tim
In : Proceedings of the fifth Widening Participation Conference (26-27 Apr 2018, Milton Keynes)

Understanding Accessibility as a Process through the Analysis of Feedback from Disabled Students (2017-04-02)
Coughlan, Tim; Ullmann, Thomas Daniel and Lister, Kate
In : Web for All 2017 (2-4 Apr 2017, Perth, Australia)

Student wellbeing: walking the walk (2020-10-11)
Lister, Kate
University Business, Online.

Development and evaluation of the Our Journey platform through the ‘Linked Journeys’ project (2020-03)
Coughlan, Tim; Lister, Kate and Lucassen, Mathijs

How to make learning support mental wellbeing (2019-11-08)
Lister, Kate