19 May 2023
By Elaine Murphy
University College Cork hosted a special symposium to spotlight the value of creating inclusive digital teaching and learning experiences for all. The event, organised by Inclusive UCC, coincided with International Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD).
GAAD aims to get everyone talking, thinking, and learning about digital Inclusion and accessibility. It is estimated that one billion people across the globe experience some physical, visual, hearing, or cognitive disability. Creating accessible learning environments is critical to ensuring everyone has equal access to education.
22% of all UCC undergraduates enter via a route supported by the University’s Access Office.
In 2021 UCC launched the Inclusive UCC project, which is intended as the ‘first step’ in helping UCC ensure that its digital content is accessible, ensuring equal access to course content and student life for all learners. Digital Inclusion advocates teaching practices based on empathy and flexibility, using technology to cater to as many needs and circumstances as possible.
Ensuring equality of access for these students and other cohorts requires institutional investment, collaboration across disciplines, and a willingness among staff to do things differently in order to put themselves in the shoes of students so that they can better understand how the needs of different learners might be better accommodated.
The Inclusive UCC project is sponsored by UCC Deputy President & Registrar, Professor Stephen Byrne:
“I am delighted to sponsor this exciting and innovative inclusive education project. It provides an excellent opportunity to embed digital Inclusion and accessibility in everything we do at UCC.”
The project is led by UCC Head of Access, Olive Byrne, and through its commitment to digital accessibility, UCC hopes to provide a more digitally inclusive experience for the diverse student population that passes through its gates.
For more on Inclusive UCC, see www.ucc.ie/en/inclusive