Accessible online learning: supporting disabled students is my first OU module. The first online activity of the module is to reflect on my role and context in Education, and how it relates to accessibility and online learning.
Currently I’m working in an IT role at a large FE/HE College – but not in a role that specifically relates to education delivery or student support.
Fortunately, I do have access to colleagues from teaching, and from disability and learning support departments. I will be using these contacts to reflect on the college’s policies and practice concerning accessibility and in support of students with disabilities.
My institution has a stated goal to increase online provision of courses and materials. I suspect that this has more to do with competition and reducing costs than an ambition to improve accessibility underpinned by Universal Design for Learning (or similar) principles. I also suspect that whatever action is eventually taken to progress this goal will happen as an isolated project rather than as part of organisation-wide changes.
I have recently completed a degree at my workplace so have experience of how teaching materials were delivered online to support of classroom sessions. I also witnessed some of the in-classroom range of disability support services provided here.
On completion of my course, or sooner, I would like to change career to work supporting students either directly, or by being involved in the delivery of accessible online learning.
Well, they say that a journey starts with a single step … step 1: complete.