Inclusion (noun): the action or state of including or of being included within a group or structure.
The aim of inclusion is to embrace all people irrespective of race, gender, disability, medical or other need. It is about giving equal access and opportunities and getting rid of discrimination and intolerance – and removal of barriers.
Universities are rightly doing all they can to both welcome and accommodate diversity within their student cohort. Last week, Warwick held a conference to progress its decision to introduce gender-neutral toilets in an effort to be more inclusive for students who identify as trans or non-binary (describes any gender identity which does not fit the male and female binary).
It was interesting to see the Space Management and Timetabling Team mentioned in the piece, acknowledging the wide-ranging impact changes like this have on a institution and its policies. We introduced ‘non-binary’ and ‘prefer not to say’ options in Exam Scheduler (ES) last year. Looking forward, Syllabus+ Anywhere will have options for default and configurable genders.
By removing barriers to access, participation and achievement, the average UK university now has more than 500 students who need extra provision (NEP). Exam Scheduler has had good NEP students support from version 3.0, released in 2011. The Exams Management System (EMS) NEP module moves things forward significantly. It is completely configurable in terms of how it can be set up to represent conditions and the effect on how the student is scheduled. It can also be adapted over time to take into account changing understanding of illnesses, legislation changes or temporary conditions.
A growing number of our clients are introducing lecture capture video systems in classrooms. When linked with our core timetabling solution, these systems detect scheduled teaching sessions in the timetable and automatically record them. If the recorded event is linked to a course, it will be automatically made available to students registered on that course. There are myriad benefits to recording lectures for students to watch again. Most importantly, it increases accessibility and inclusivity for students who may be unable to take notes or physically attend the class.
The Exams Network Conference (ENC) last year highlighted the growth in alternative provision requests for those with mental health issues, not physical conditions. It will be interesting to see how the sector responds to give all students equality of opportunity. We’re running a free workshop on EMS on Tuesday 5 September, 10-4, for anyone at this year’s ENC in Tasmania.
We’d like to hear examples of inclusive practice at your institution. Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.