Making learning accessible for everyone

27

MAY, 2021

Good Practice
Inclusive Education
Teaching and Learning

This week we launched the Accessibility Champions Project, which is an initiative to develop a passionate community of accessibility specialists from across the University to become leaders in this space. This project is led by Danni McCarthy from the Teaching Capabilities Team, in Deakin Learning Futures. Funded by the Higher Education Participation Partnership Program, the project is focused on optimising access and success for diverse learners. One way this can be achieved is through the development of a unified and consistent approach to accessibility in our online teaching and learning environments. The project has been designed to include a variety of participants, with representatives coming to the project from the faculties of Health, Science, Business and Law, Arts and Education, and Deakin Learning Futures. 

Like our physical learning environments, we have standards for our online teaching and learning environments. This project was developed in response to the impact of Covid and the subsequent unprecedented migration to deliver education online. As a result, it has also revealed a growing inequality of access to information for students with a disability in our online learning environments. Therefore, the goal of this project is to generate a genuine commitment and enthusiasm for the implementation of inclusivity and accessibility practices in a clear and targeted way.

We have selected nine Accessibility Champions who represent a diversity of professional backgrounds. A core part of this project will be the professional development that each participant will engage with through Vision Australia or The Centre for Inclusive Design. The goal is to develop a consistent and sustainable approach to accessibility that is appropriate to our context and needs within Deakin University. 

This project seeks to develop a knowledge-sharing community of accessibility experts. To achieve this, the champions will work to develop their capabilities in mentorship, training, and modelling best practice accessibility standards in a sustainable way that will support teaching and learning staff. As they build this critical knowledge and expertise, they will be seeking out partnerships, developing learning assets, mentoring others, and facilitating training sessions.

In the coming weeks the champions will begin their training during the incubation phase of this project. Once this phase is complete, the champions will begin to reach out to develop partnerships with other areas of the Deakin community and beyond. We are just at the beginning of the project and given the talented and passionate individuals who will put their shoulders to the wheel, there is no doubt that this project will achieve great things. 

Contact Danni McCarthy, Lecturer, Inclusive Education to register your interest in working with an Accessibility Champion.

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