January 2021 Newsletter

January 2021 Newsletter
January 2021 Newsletter
January 2021 Newsletter

Inclusivity At The Core

NUI Galway EDTL lead Kate Molloy (@hey_km), has been working with the Inclusive Learning project team on a number of initiatives throughout the past year to support inclusive digital teaching and learning.

Photo by Mimi Thian on Unsplash

The National Forum-funded Inclusive Learning project at NUI Galway has aimed to enhance inclusive teaching and learning practice at NUI Galway, in line with the University’s Strategic Plan 2020-2025. Project activities have continued, and even flourished, in the response to moving online. The project team includes academic and professional services staff as well as students.

In March 2020, one week after the education sector shut due to COVID 19, the project team urgently brought forward the release of Blackboard Ally for all staff and students at NUI Galway, having anticipated challenges around accessible online learning. Blackboard Ally has enabled those who teach at NUI Galway to create more accessible learning materials and provided students with the agency to choose alternative formats best suited to their needs. Last summer, the team hosted a series of workshops for those who teach at NUI Galway, supported by Blackboard. The workshops served to highlight the lack of professional development opportunities previously offered in this area. Local workshops have now been developed, organised, and delivered around DigCompEdu Area 5: Empowering Learners.

The project team also launched a local rollout of the National Forum’s digital badge in Universal Design for Teaching and Learning in September 2020, just a few weeks before the government direction to move almost all teaching fully online at the start of the new academic year. This was the first time that the digital badge was offered to all those who teach in our University, and participants were focused on implementing UDL principles in their online teaching. The badge created opportunities for informal connections and exchanges during a time of unprecedented upheaval, and helped to form the basis for an informal network of UDL practitioners across NUI Galway.

The project team is pleased to announce the Inclusive Learning in Higher Education symposium, open to all, on 7th and 8th April. The two-day symposium aims to raise awareness of issues of equality, diversity and inclusion in higher education, and will highlight the importance of centering the student voice. It will also showcase and share inclusive pedagogies, practices and approaches. The keynote speaker is Jesse Stommel. Registration is now open.

Follow the #InclusiveNUIGalway hashtag on Twitter for updates.

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