Evaluating inclusion in distance learning: a survey of university staff attitudes, practices and training needs

Lister, Kate; Pearson, Victoria K.; Collins, Trevor D. and Davies, Gareth (2020). Evaluating inclusion in distance learning: a survey of university staff attitudes, practices and training needs. Innovation: The European Journal of Social Science Research (Early Access).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/13511610.2020.1828048

Abstract

An inclusive approach to teaching in distance learning is essential to ensure students with disabilities have equitable chances of success. However, embedding inclusive practice is challenging when considering institutional complexities, the distance nature of learning and support, and the varied roles, responsibilities and experiences of staff. To understand this better and to identify an action plan for tangible interventions, a staff survey measuring inclusion practices and perceptions was conducted in a large UK distance learning university. The survey measured knowledge, skills, attitudes and support context (in terms of training, guidance, human support and organisational commitment) in teaching staff, support staff and learning technologists. The findings (N=466) revealed strong positive attitudes towards inclusive practice, but also identified clearly actionably training needs in relation to specific staff groups, and knowledge and skills gaps. The staff survey represents a valuable model for measuring training and intervention needs around inclusion in distance learning.

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