Supporting digital inclusion and accessibility in the university

An overview of initiatives supporting digital inclusion and accessibility at University College Cork

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With the increased importance of online learning platforms in the university sector, ensuring that students and staff have the skills and knowledge to navigate the online medium is crucial. Digital inclusion refers to activities aimed at ensuring that people have access to, but also the confidence and skills to use, the online medium. Enhancing accessibility and inclusion is now more important than ever given the increased diversity of our student population.

The UNIC partner institution University College Cork (UCC) has made significant progress in this area through its Inclusive UCC project, established in recent years. This project seeks to help UCC in its broader aim to be a leader in digital inclusion. It provides an introduction to some of the most critical aspects of digital accessibility and is designed to be a ‘first step’ in helping the university to ensure that its digital content is inclusive and meets legal requirements.

“The aim is to allow you to ‘put yourselves in the shoes’ of your students so that you can better understand the true value of digital inclusion and the impact that it can have on levelling the playing field for all.”

Inclusive UCC provides a range of resources and training for both students and staff. Examples include:

  • For university staff: training in Universal Design for Learning and in accessibility techniques in teaching practice;
  • For students: an Accessibility Skills Guide, which provides useful tips on using technology in ways that work for them, as well as resources on access and disability;
  • An online Accessibility feedback form: to report any accessibility problems such as inaccessible websites.

Another novel initiative, which is being launched this semester (2022), is training for university staff on working with PDFs (both online and on campus). This followed findings from a pilot project with student interns, which showed that PDFs are hugely problematic for accessibility and generally accessing materials for university students.

Inclusive UCC is an example of a proactive approach to improving accessibility and inclusion in the university, and it holds potential valuable learning for other UNIC partner institutions.

If you would like to know more about Inclusive UCC, please visit its website or email for further details.


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