Developing inclusive learning and teaching resources

The Keele Institute for Innovation and Teaching Excellence (KIITE) is delighted to announce the launch of a new e-learning programme focusing on inclusivity.

The ‘Introduction to Inclusive Learning & Teaching’ is an exciting new digital resource and is the first in a series of e-learning courses focused on inclusive teaching and learning. The courses will provide vital professional development to all staff who wish to develop their teaching practice.

The course is the result of innovative collaborative working between colleagues in KIITE, and Disability and Dyslexia Support (DDS) within Student Services, with input and support from various colleagues from around the institution who are kindly providing subject expertise, and sharing good practice and feedback, which are crucial to the success of the project.

This e-learning module is part of a broader body of work called the Inclusive Teaching Project, which also includes a webpage and resources in multiple formats.

Nicola Keeling, part of the Disability and Dyslexia Support team at Keele University explains:

“The wider aim of this project is to champion the considerable benefits of an inclusive teaching approach, and raise awareness of the ways in which different disabilities may affect students during their time at university, and the barriers learners might face in learning and teaching environments.

Through increasing staff understanding of how to design and deliver inclusive activities, resources, assessments and environments, we can further improve the student experience of teaching and learning. Students' anxieties and frustrations are alleviated and they are more able to focus on their studies.

Having a fully inclusive curriculum that anticipates the needs of ALL students and embeds best practice, will, in turn, reduce the number of 'reasonable adjustments' required for a student's needs to be met and reduce the additional workload associated with this.”

The project was created in response to a changing sector, and increasing demand from academics who sought guidance on effectively planning and implementing inclusive learning and teaching strategies in their own practice.

Professor Helen O’Sullivan, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Education at Keele University, comments:

“These resources outline a number of easy-to-implement practical steps that any staff member can take to enhance the inclusivity of their teaching approaches… these resources will be particularly helpful for staff during the normal course of reviewing teaching materials and will be a key part the Programme Consultancy offered by KIITE.”

This first e-learning module, Introduction to Inclusive Learning & Teaching, includes learning outcomes related to a variety of aspects of understanding inclusivitiy, including the Equality Act 2010, the Disabled Students Allowance, the difference between anticipatory and reasonable adjustments, and the role that Disability and Dyslexia Support plays at Keele.

Karl Gimblett, Learning Technology Officer within KIITE comments:

“With the support of KIITE and input from DDS and other colleagues across the University, the module was carefully designed with our learners in mind. Using the Adapt platform (part of the existing Keele Learning Pool package) for the remainder of the modules in this series, we can ensure that the same level of engagement and consistency in the interface can be achieved.”

Closely following from this first module in the series will be a module entitled: ‘Top Inclusive Learning Tips’. This will be followed by several e-learning modules which focus on a particular issue around disability and inclusiveness.

This and future modules all have feedback mechanisms, which will be incorporated into the design of future e-learning programmes.

Ali Bottrill, Disability and Dyslexia Support Manager emphasises the significance of adopting an inclusive approach:

“By making small amendments to the way teaching is delivered and how students are assessed, staff can help to remove barriers and enable participation. This will result in students becoming more independent learners, allowing them to engage more meaningfully and empowering them to achieve their full potential.”

The new e-learning programme can be accessed on the Keele Learning Pool.