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The Seventh International Blended Learning Conference "Reflecting on our achievements - What's next for technology-enhanced learning and teaching?" University of Hertfordshire, 2012. Accessibility maturity of TEL in UK HE: JISC TechDis lifts the lid on a decade of progress. Dr Shirley Evans

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The Seventh International Blended Learning Conference

"Reflecting on our achievements - What's next for technology-enhanced learning and teaching?"

University of Hertfordshire, 2012


Dr Shirley Evans

Special Projects Officer

  • Introduction;
  • About JISC TechDis;
  • The need for accessibility maturity;
  • The Accessibility Maturity Model;
  • A decade of progress;
  • Recent developments;
  • Conclusion.
jisc techdis
JISC TechDis
  • JISC Techdis is the leading UK advisory service on accessibility and inclusion.
  • JISC Techdis is one of eight complementary, advisory services co-ordinated by JISC Advance, created to provide inspiration and advice to support the innovative use of technology within the education, business and community sectors.
  • JISC Advance is a not-for-profit company financed by grants from the UK funding councils for further and higher education.
jisc techdis1
JISC TechDis
  • JISC Techdis provides expert advice, guidance and support for policy makers, senior management, front line and specialist staff;
  • We set measurable standards for the service, ensuring it is based upon robust research, evidence based practice and provides value for money;
  • The approach is supported through the use of exemplars which demonstrate effective tools and techniques and the application of technology within both education and business practices.
the need for accessibility maturity
The need for accessibility maturity?
  • There are around 11 million disabled people in the UK.1
  • There are nearly 200,000 students in HE who have declared a disability. 2
facts and figures 2
Facts and figures 2
  • 24% of working age disabled people do not hold any formal qualifications, compared to 10% of working age non-disabled people.3
  • There are some 10 million children in the UK school system. On average more than one child in each class — 400,000 in the UK — is severely dyslexic.4
facts and figures 3
Facts and figures 3
  • There are estimated to be 2.5 million people in the UK with speech, language and communication needs.5
  • 1 in 4 people will experience some kind of mental health problem in the course of a year.6
  • By 2031, it is estimated that there will be 14.5 million people with hearing loss in the UK. 7
facts and figures 4
Facts and Figures 4
  • Almost two million people in the UK are living with sight loss. That's approximately one in thirty.8
  • As many as 75% of people with learning disabilities are estimated to have visual impairments - either refractive error or blind or partially sighted.9
  • Mobility impairments are the second most common type of disability among students enrolled at post-secondary educational institutions.10
accessibility maturity model background
Accessibility Maturity Model Background
  • JISC TechDis research between 2007-2009 explored the extent to which accessibility and inclusion principles permeated throughout education institutions;
  • Research indicated that most institutions were comfortable with accessibility in traditional „learner support‟ areas, but struggled to embed it in broader institutional policies (marketing, libraries, networks etc);
  • The Accessibility Maturity Model describes the different institutional approaches to accessibility derived from the research.
the oases tool
The OASES Tool

The OASES tool is designed to move the institutions towards the right hand side of the model by empowering key stakeholders who undertake the survey to recognise their role in embedding accessibility.

This helps support disabled students, increases quality and flexibility of provision and reduces the risk of litigation.

the oases tool1
The OASES Tool
  • Can be applied to a range of roles within institution;
  • Can be used in a variety of ways eg, group, individual;

bis partnership
BIS Partnership
  • Three projects for the benefit of disabled and disadvantaged learners:
    • TechDis Voices.
    • TechDis Toolbox.
    • Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI).
techdis voices what happened
TechDis VoicesWhat happened?

Open, competitive tender.

Voice artists x12

Jess / Jack

User feedback

techdis voices who will benefit
TechDis VoicesWho will benefit?
  • People who prefer to listen.
  • People who prefer to multitask.
  • People with better oral than literacy skills.
  • People who like making use of dead-time eg travelling, queuing etc.
  • People who don’t carry around files but do carry around phones.
  • People with print impairments.
  • Tutors who want to give more options to learners.

Listen to them.

techdis voices how do i get started
TechDis VoicesHow do I get started?
  • Make sure you are eligible (post 16 learning provider in England delivering publicly funded courses);
  • Go to;
  • Follow the instructions and links.
techdis toolbox
TechDis Toolbox
  • Aimed directly at end users – learners.
  • A collection of resources which give useful hints and tips on technologies that can help individuals work quicker, slicker and smarter.
techdis toolbox1
TechDis Toolbox
  • Developed by learners for learners.
  • Bite-sized videos, short guides, and animations.
  • Small bits of just-in-time information that can be easily absorbed.
small business research initiative text projects
Small Business Research Initiative – text projects

MyDocStore – iansyst:quick and easy transfer of files between devices whilst converting them into the user’s preferred format.

Navitext - System Associates:improved navigation and accessibility to books and documents for people who are visually impaired, identifies key navigation points in a text and provides easy ways of moving through it and finding what is needed.

Due for completion in January 2013.

sbri gesture recognition projects
SBRI - Gesture recognition projects
  • uKinect – GameLabUK:using Microsoft Kinect technology, to help users learn and improve their Makaton sign language skills in a fun and engaging way.
  • Portable Sign Language Translator (PSLT) – Technabling:the PSLT translates a range of sign languages into text. It is portable, flexible and works with a wide variety of handheld camera-enabled devices such as smartphones.

Due for completion in June 2013.

the next decade
The Next Decade…..

Accessibility in a changing provider and

economic landscape:-

  • More providers;
  • More HE in FE;
  • Changing partners;
  • Changing priorities;
the next decade1
The Next Decade…..

1999 - The purpose of the Disability Information System in Higher Education or DISinHE was to facilitate the exploitation of computing and information technology for everyone in the higher education sector.... “Our philosophy is to see that accessibility is embedded in the sector.”

2020 – All providers to have reached the Partnership Stage of Accessibility Maturity – then accessibility may truly be said to be embedded in the sector.


JISC Techdis

c/o The Higher Education Academy Building

Innovation Way

York Science Park

York YO10 5BR

Tel: 01904 717580.