Centre for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching

Inclusive Practice

Inclusive practice

Inclusive practice is an approach to teaching and learning, which seeks to ensure that all students have:

  • equity of access to course content; 
  • full participation in learning activities; 
  • achievement in line with their capabilities. 
Whilst specific adjustments might need to be introduced to support the meeting of individual students’ needs, it is recognised that careful planning can remove a number of unintended or incidental barriers learning for students.  This planning approach (also called universal design for learning) is encouraged at USW.  

Examples of Inclusive Practice:

•    Powerpoint slides with sans serif fonts; alternative text to support visuals,  and high contrast text/background colours;
•    Including diverse assessment methods across a Module and Course;
•    Panopto recordings for revision;
•    Using a variety of methods to share content e.g. videos or physical or virtual objects either in person or as part of blended provision;
•    Module readings that offer a range of opinions, for example from the Global South as well as the Global North.    

Digital Accessibility

Digital accessibility is a key component of inclusive practice. Find out more about how to make your course digitally accessible on our Digital Accessibility page.  

Inclusive Practice in:

Learning takes place within a learning space. These learning spaces can include;

  • Classrooms or lecture theatres on a campus;
  • The library; 
  • Meeting or social spaces; 
  • Blackboard;
  • Virtual meeting or social spaces;
  • Online access to books and journals via the internet, online library catalogue and e-books.

Recommendations for achieving an inclusive learning environment:

  • Follow the university Mobile Devices in the Classroom policy allowing students to use technology such as laptops, tablets and mobile devices for learning in the classroom;
  • Record lectures live, or pre-record material;
  • Vary pedagogy to suit the needs of a variety of learners and use technology to support this e.g. using a partially flipped classroom approach;
  • Be aware of and engage in the use of technology to create online learning spaces;
  • Organise layout and appearance of Blackboard modules so that they meet with the Module Minimum Requirements Policy and are consistent across courses to help students navigate in the digital space. 

Digital tools can increase student access to formative and summative assessment, and to important feedback. You can use the functions available within Blackboard to set up assessments in the form of:

  • Blogs;
  • Journals;
  • Wikis;
  • File upload submissions (a wide range of file types are supported);
  • Audio and video assignments;
  • Presentations with narrations;
  • Peer Review.
Digital tools can increase student access to formative and summative assessment, and to important feedback. 

Recommendations for delivering inclusive assessment and feedback:

  • Visit the Assessment Lifecyle Hub;
  • Use Blackboard to keep your module content well organised within folders and only create assessments within the Assessments Folder; 
  • Use the comments function within Turnitin to record audio feedback for students, or use Panopto; 
  • Diversify assessment methods away from written assignments, for example use narrated video presentations, portfolios, wikis, journals or blogs;
  • Build flexibility and equivalencies into assessment, to allow students to submit through a variety of media to meet the same criteria;
  • Produce and use a talking mark scheme for formative and peer assessment.

Inclusive materials meet accessibility needs through their design and the mode of delivery. Using the university’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) you can produce accessible course content.

  • Use course blogs, discussion forums and journals functions to create new ways for students to engage with course content;
  • Produce course material using a variety of media, for example podcasts and videos;
  • Use library-supported e-books within reading lists where possible to increase access for students.

Recording your material

Using the University’s lecture capture tool you can record lectures while you are giving them. You can also use the desktop recorder to make videos or narrated presentations any time that suits you. The software will also allow you to stream yourself live. Using Panopto means that: 

  • Students who are unable to access the physical learning space can attend lectures and view lecture material at a different location;
  • Students on a blended learning or distance learning courses can attend lectures from wherever they are at whatever time suits them;
  • Students can be engaged through the comments and discussion features of Panopto;
  • Students who prefer to learn by watching videos can use the lecture recordings to be more effective in their revision; 
  • Barriers to participation for disabled students who experience difficulties in lecture scenarios as a result of sensory impairments, specific learning difficulties, memory and processing issues, social and communication difficulties and mental health concerns are removed. 

Recommendations for creating accessible resources:

  • Use best practice guidelines for creating inclusive documents when creating from scratch;
  • Identify unsuitable course documents and recreate them, or work with the library to source inclusive alternatives;
  • Where possible use readily available resources/online resources for core texts;
  • Produce course material using a variety of media;
  • Organise layout and appearance of Blackboard modules so that they are consistent across courses;
  • Incorporate accessibility into planning.

Resources and guidance

Advance HE:  Making an inclusive environment.

HEA Guide to Inclusive Learning and Teaching.

Marking Guidelines for Disabled Students (USW Staff login required to view).

Microsoft Guide: Making Word Documents Accessible.

Microsoft Guide: Making PowerPoint Slides Accessible.

How CELT can help

CELT can advise and assist course leaders and individual members of staff on ways to make their learning and teaching practices inclusive.  Course leaders who have courses undergoing validation or review and who are wishing to ensure their curricula are accessible to all, are encouraged to contact us. Schools adopting a whole School approach to inclusive practices are welcome to discuss how CELT can assist by offering bespoke workshops. 

Please contact Dr Cath Camps (Academic Manager - Curriculum design) / [email protected] if you would like to explore further any of the issues raised here.