Accessibility and inclusivity in online teaching

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The radical uptake of technology-enhanced learning practices and online education in recent years has made tertiary education more feasible for a more socially and culturally diverse student body. Despite these developments, there is limited published research which explores how this new frontier of tertiary education teaching is experienced by students. In particular, our understanding of how online education impacts students with specific learning difficulties (SpLDs, such as autistic spectrum disorders, dyslexia, dyspraxia) is limited.
There are notable differences in the needs and preferences of online students with and without SpLDs, and this must be reflected in teaching provision. Despite a growing awareness for issues of accessibility, provisions are often designed without robust consultation with those learners most directly affected by changing practice, i.e. students with SpLDs. A better understanding of how students with SpLDs use and experience online education is a prerequisite to developing truly inclusive teaching and learning practices, which provide all students with equal opportunities in tertiary education.
This chapter will explore the current literature surrounding accessibility for students with SpLDs in tertiary education online learning. More specifically, it will outline some of the key barriers faced by SpLD students accessing online learning and discuss ways in which these could be managed proactively (beyond a box-ticking exercise in “reasonable adjustment”). Finally, it will highlight some key considerations and recommendations for designing online teaching experiences which emphasise accessibility and inclusion for all students in tertiary education.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTertiary Online Teaching and Learning
Subtitle of host publicationTOTAL Perspectives and Resources for Digital Education
EditorsStephen McKenzie, Filia Garivaldis , Kyle R Dyer
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)978-981-15-8928-7
ISBN (Print)978-981-15-8927-0
Publication statusPublished - 18 Dec 2020

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