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Creating an accessible curriculum for students with disabilities at the National Centre for Prosthetics and Orthotics

McMonagle, Christine and Hillman, S.J. and Irvine, Angela (2009) Creating an accessible curriculum for students with disabilities at the National Centre for Prosthetics and Orthotics. In: Society for Research into Higher Education Postgraduate and New Researchers Conference, 2009-12-07. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

The latest addition to the Disability Discrimination Act, passed in 2005, introduced a requirement for all public bodies, including Higher Education Institutions to promote and deliver disability equality across all policies and activities. An increased awareness of disability equality places new demands on educators to be proactive in ensuring their teaching does not inadvertently discriminate against people with disabilities. In responding to the University's Disability Equality Scheme, a review of the accessibility of teaching at the National Centre for Prosthetics and Orthotics (NCPO), a department in the University of Strathclyde's Faculty of Engineering, was carried out. There were specific challenges in responding to disability equality legislation due to the high content of practical and clinical work with genuine clients. This paper presents the review process, main findings and outcomes of that review. It also aims to help the audience consider and reflect on the accessibility of their own teaching. The review commenced with an e-mail survey of all of the department's current students and recent graduates. Students registered with disability services were also invited to a focus group discussion to share their views of the accessibility of the teaching. An e-mail survey of staff was also conducted, and was later followed by open discussion at a staff meeting. The responses to the surveys were grouped and then circulated to the authors. The focus group discussion was recorded and transcribed. The three authors independently revised the surveys and focus group discussion transcripts to search for common themes and possible recommendations. When the group met there was a high level of agreement on the recommendations and further discussion enabled additional recommendations to be added.