What examples of good practice are already taking place across the University?
Computer Science: high levels of departmental consideration for group work adjustments and support – this is important particularly to consider for departments with a high proportion of group work assessments/projects.
Management: assessments office provides centralised exam support; gives capacity to manage temporary exams or in-house assessments – this is helpful as a centralised point of contact for Disability Advisers if requests are made by students at short notice.
Increasing DoS/ Personal tutor relationships with Disability Advisers; a multi-angled approach to supporting students and encouraging engagement with services has worked well.
Maths commitment to lecture capture / MASH support/ additional or alternative format notes for students with DAPs.
Computer Science undertake ongoing engagement with DAPs; receipt of DAPs may instigate contact with a student and we know they form the basis for discussion between DoS and student.
DoS teams (i.e. in Maths) are more effective sometimes than just 1 DoS as this spreads the workload and gives students more opportunities to seek advice/ guidance, possibly with someone they are familiar with already.
Management Student Experience Officers (SEOs) especially (as their roles are different from other SEOs) are beneficial and well used by Disability Advice – these staff are seen as another ally or form of support for the student. This provides additional check-in opportunities for students who may be struggling. Other examples include course administrators e.g. Natural Sciences who help students access timetables and help liaise within complex departmental procedures.
Lab briefings are a good idea (these were recently organised for a student struggling to attend lab sessions) i.e. priovide opportunities for students to familiarise with what they are expected to do before entering crowded, busy, time pressured lab sessions; this could this be available as a video or more interactive guide if 1:1 briefings are not viable?
Similarly, feedback from lab manuals is good; information presented and available at the start of Semester and all together in a manual so is easily accessible.
Use of Moodle: standardised and intuitive in layout makes information and course information accessible and easy to locate. Moodle Baseline facilitates this.
How might courses enhance their provision?
DoS guidance: new DoS need guidance and support in role, especially given their likely increased interaction with disabled students.
Have a variety of assessment types i.e. practical projects, not just formal coursework or examinations, may provide other opportunities for students to demonstrate knowledge in different ways.
Alternative assessment options built in to course design and planning. When students are unable to meet required assessment, having alternative options pre-considered would increase numbers of options for the student (often at the last minute) and make this easier for department to consider without having to design an alternative assessment quickly.
Head of Department engagement and awareness, reinforcing principles of inclusion and promotion within department.
Having a variety of options for student engagement, e.g. 1:1s and/or group tutorial options with personal tutor etc, options for groupwork, variety of assessment methods?
Early access to timetables is essential for the provision of support (e.g. notetaking provision, booking mentors and support tutors).
Spacing of assessments; throughout the semester, rather than all conflicting and grouped together at the end.
Targeted skills support within departments. i.e. do students in science subjects get targeted tutorials on how to write a lab report/ is this just detailed in lab manual but no personal guidance on how to do this? Could consideration be given to peer support or working with Skills/MASH to develop more targeted sessions aimed at particular cohorts?
Use of Moodle: currently this is used very inconsistently, which is detrimental for disabled students. Having it a bit more standardised and intuitive in layout, so it is easier for students to find what they need to know without having to hunt would be beneficial. Health is as a good example of where this may have worked well. Moodle Baseline can help facilitate more consistent Moodle experience.
Courses that are assessed as 100% exam need to ensure that teaching materials are available for all sessions (i.e. notes, recordings of lectures) as if student misses sessions, they are unable to access materials for revision.