The Inclusive Learning at NUI Galway project had a number of aims. In the first instance it set out to enhance inclusive teaching and learning practice at the university for postgraduate students, particularly those from diverse backgrounds. Funded by National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, the goal of the project was to centre the student voice – to hear directly from our students, and to learn from their lived experiences, with a view to improving the learning experience for all students. See – https://www.teachingandlearning.ie/project/inclusive-learning-at-nui-galway/
Student diversity is a strategic priority at NUI Galway. However, in line with the university’s values of Respect and Openness, the focus of this project is on students’ sense of inclusion at all levels within the university, including the barriers they experience to inclusion and participation. Our project focuses on the experiences of international and intercultural students, students with disabilities, LGBT+ students, students of different genders, and students with caring responsibilities (particularly those who are parents). It also explores the experiences of students during the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly in relation to remote learning. Having identified a range of issues, the report makes recommendations to address systemic and attitudinal barriers to learning and build a truly inclusive learning environment.
We adopted a participatory approach throughout our research, with significant student involvement in project design, delivery and evaluation. Our report focuses on postgraduate experiences in five selected Schools of the University: the School of Law; the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics; Shannon College of Hotel Management; the School of Mathematics, Applied Mathematics and Statistics; and the School of Physics. The range and choice of school was broadly representative of the University. The five schools included both STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine) and AHSSBL (Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences, Business and Law) schools, as well as a professional discipline and a satellite campus. The participating students included both students from taught and research programmes.
A second element of our project was to employ a range of methods to raise staff awareness of inclusion and help them to develop their inclusive teaching practice. These methods include the roll out of the Digital Badge in Universal Design for Teaching and Learning (UDL) by September 2021 70 people had completed the badge. In addition we purchased the online accessibility tool of Ally for LMS, this enables staff to make the material they post online more accessible and allows students to download that material in multiple formats. The project also provides seminars on inclusive teaching practices, what works what doesn’t and all of this is available to all staff who teach in NUI Galway at – https://nuigalway.blackboard.com/webapps/blackboard/execute/announcement?method=search&context=course&course_id=_112606_1&handle=cp_announcements&mode=cpview
The project will culminate with a National Symposium on Inclusive Teaching and Learning – https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/inclusive-learning-in-higher-education-tickets-99263775625
Dr Lucy-Ann Buckley, Dr Shivaun Quinlivan, Dr. Dinali Wijeratne, Mx Cameron Keighron, Ms Imelda Byrne, Ms Jane Ennis, Dr Niall Madden, Dr Miriam Byrne, Mr Daniel Savery, Ms Anna Ní Fhalatharta, Ms Kate Molloy
For more information
For further information, please contact the project leads:
Dr Lucy-Ann Buckley – email firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr Shivaun Quinlivan – email email@example.com
Report launch – Inclusive Learning at NUI Galway (9 December 2021)