A pragmatic and strategic approach to supporting staff in inclusive practices for online learning
Changes in legislation, an emphasis on widening participation and the increasing reliance on online techniques for learning and teaching have contributed to improved opportunities for students with disabilities to participate in Higher Education. Many accessibility advocates would argue that accessibility should be the primary consideration for the development of online resources, but in the academic setting it is usually teaching staff who are largely responsible for the production of their own electronic resources. Academics may lack the time, expertise and the motivation to undertake inclusive practices. This paper explores means of supporting academic staff in the creation of accessible and inclusive online learning materials through activities designed to create an empathy with the student experience, coupled with targeted, timely and appropriate training. We go on to outline the proposals for incorporating accessibility into an institutional strategy for e-learning and proposals for further research.
Keywords: accessibility, inclusion, staff development, online learning