Academic Exchange 1B

Categories and tags:

Using technology to support a diverse and inclusive learning experience

What are Academic Exchanges?

Our Academic Exchanges showcase innovative academic practice and support for learning from staff across the institution and partner colleges. Each colleague participating in an Exchange has produced a short digital artefact, which addresses an aspect of good practice in learning design. Many colleagues share their direct experiences of moving teaching online, whilst others showcase pedagogic approaches that are important to transfer to blended learning environments. These approaches include engaging with students as partners, delivery of inclusive and personalised learning, and embedding learning-oriented assessment.

Recording of the Q&A webinar

i. Digital Innovation through HE (DigiHE): Students perceived usefulness of digital media and technologies that aid their studies

Robert Whitehouse and David Dawson (Business & Technology)

Our presentation offers key findings from a recent Erasmus+ project. The project surveyed students from Germany, Lithuania, Spain and the UK. This presentation examines how students of HEIs perceived the usefulness of digital media and technologies in completing their course/studies successfully.

  1. We focus upon what students found useful, including the significant differences in perceived ‘techniques of usefulness’ across various study disciplines.
  2. We identify the use of digital technologies, media and techniques which respondents felt were lacking or were not available, but are useful. The focus here is to determine which techniques should be available for academic staff training, development and embedding into the course offer.
  3. We offer a brief comparison of ‘use to usefulness’ of digital media and technology competencies

ii. Sustainable learning: How to democratise digital delivery

Andrew Lansley (Media)

There is no sustainability without inclusivity. This project explores the use of next generation technology in developing more inclusive learning environments for students who can struggle to engage with curricula due to mental health and well-being issues. It is based on an action research project that challenged music and non-musical specialists in a creative context to co-create adapted lecture materials.

This development of teaching materials with six autistic students made use of both the dynamic environment of a learning management system as well as the role mobile devices play in allowing students to access materials in a virtual environment. This was done with the aim to remove or reduce some of the obstructions that were identified that could be faced by learners who found accessibility, comprehension, collaboration or socialisation difficult when approaching study.

It is hoped that this project will offer a meaningful perspective to current conversations in the university around learner accessibility, online learning environments and their associated educational strategies.

iii. Covid-19: Opportunities and challenges for higher education teaching

James Garo Derounian and Imogen Jones (Natural & Social Sciences)

Please note that this is a standalone PowerPoint without sound.

This presentation is informed by experience of delivering distance/blended learning to mature UK local government staff for over 26 years. I see the pandemic as an opportunity for us/humanity to change our damaging behaviours and be kinder to the planet [and thereby ourselves]. HE teaching has an important role to play in this. I will argue that practicing distance/blended learning is not just a necessity in time of Covid-19, but a mechanism to benefit all students.

Distant delivery contributes to addressing climate change via reduced travel. Furthermore, we need to review common UoG practices like overseas student fieldtrips – is the fun/learning worth the airmiles? Likewise, what are the environmental consequences of teaching in China and other lucrative markets? Travel to far-flung campuses may generate income, but ferrying staff/students is doubtful in terms of sustainability and potential cultural imperialism, and it raises questions about whether we should be investing in regimes such as Zimbabwe, China and Kazakhstan, with poor human rights records and repression of their citizens and academics.

I will demonstrate how distance/blended learning can help reduce our carbon footprint and contribute to global development without, necessarily, leaving our desks.

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