Inclusive Design of e-Learning Environments: A Global Agenda

25 August – 29 August 2014

International initiatives and organisations have raised global awareness of the rights of every person to have access to education. There has also been growing awareness of the need for every person to have access to information and communication technologies (ICTs) to be able to benefit from the information and services available online. In response to these global movements, many educational institutions have also embarked on a widening participation agenda, underpinned by a commitment to inclusive education.

This presentation argues that ‘inclusion’ is a highly contestable concept and that despite the rhetoric, the move towards standardisation of inclusion, access and equity through institutional policy has ‘reterritorialized difference’ leading to a focus on ‘management of, rather than engagement with, difference’. With increasing access to more flexible learning options in higher education made possible through digital technologies , new opportunities for engaging students from diverse backgrounds have emerged. Yet, for the goals of inclusive education to be realised, as this presentation argues, there is a need for more nuanced understanding of the dimensions required for education, and e-learning environments in particular to be inclusive of the diverse needs of our student population. These four dimensions of accessibility; usability; personalisation and transformative pedagogical practice will be explored from a theoretical perspective, with examples of application in practice.

Denise Wood’s research focuses on the potential of new media technologies such as participatory Web 2.0 and 3D virtual learning environments to enhance the educational and social participation of young people with disabilities, as well as exploring the pedagogical potential of these environments to engage learners in the higher education context. Her research involves collaboration with not for profit community organisations and national and state governments in Australia, as well as the Western Cape, Gauteng and Limpopo Provinces in South Africa.

Denise Wood is Professor of Learning, Equity, Access and Participation at Central Queensland University. She also holds an Adjunct Professorial position in the Faculty of Education at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa. Her qualifications include a PhD (Education), Master of Educational Technology, Master of Design, Graduate Certificate in Flexible Learning, Graduate Diploma in Social Sciences and a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work. Denise’s research focuses on the use of accessible information and communication technologies (ICTs) to increase social and educational participation, as well as the pedagogical benefits of social media in teaching and learning.

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6 thoughts on “Inclusive Design of e-Learning Environments: A Global Agenda

  1. Wonderful! Am very interested in this seminar because we have started to look into accessibility for the online support of our staff and students. We are focussing mangily on Google Docs and University of Cape Town’s Vula learning management system. It would be good to see how others are doing in this area.

  2. I will be a great beneficiary of this land mark seminar on application of social media technology to enhance accessibility; usability; personalisation and transformative pedagogical practice in learning/teaching delivery. Thanks.

  3. I look forward to this seminar, especially because of the twin issues of creating access for those with disabilities and the potential of social media for learning in mainstream Higher Ed., including traditional on-campus institutions. Regrettably, many Higher Ed institutions are still reluctant, or even unwilling to admit that social media CAN be a tool to facilitate meaningful learning. I hope this seminar will provide evidence to the contrary.

  4. Hi everyone

    Thanks for your enthusiastic responses. It is a challenging and yet vitally important area for all of us as educators, yet one not widely recognised as core to effective online learning and teaching.

    I look forward to catching up with you all tomorrow and to your ongoing discussions via Facebook and our e-merge discussion forum.

    Here are a couple of videos for you to check out in the meantime 🙂
    Hint: we will discuss both during the session tomorrow, so be prepared!



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