We caught up with the LX.lab’s Inclusive Practices team to find out what they’ve been working on, why inclusive practice matters, and their highlights from the year.

The feature image shows LX.lab Inclusive Practices Coordinator Katie Duncan on the left, and Inclusive Practices Support Officer Ashley Willcox on the right. (Image by Nat Fay)

Tell us a little about yourselves

Katie: I’m the LX.lab Inclusive Practices Coordinator. I really enjoy finding practical and sustainable ways to help academics make their teaching inclusive and accessible for all students. I also love dogs.

Ashley: I work alongside Katie as the Inclusive Practices Support Officer. It’s such an interesting role and I really enjoy discovering all the ways we can educate academics to help support students and minimise any barriers they may be experiencing. My other passion is surfing.

What do the Inclusive Practices team do?

Katie: We work to ensure that all UTS students can participate fully in learning by improving the accessibility of our digital learning environment and associated teaching practices. We provide technical support, resources and advice for staff around inclusive pedagogical practice.

What have been some of the highlights working in the LX.lab?

Katie: Some of my highlights include:

  1. Co-designing the students explain digital accessibility video series.
  2. Creating the inclusive accessible practices and reasonable adjustments and alternative assessments resource collections.
  3. Developing the inclusive practices review – to help us to determine recommendations for how to use tools in an accessible way.
  4. Collaborating with different areas! It’s definitely a group effort and I have really enjoyed being able to collaborate with Accessibility Services, ITU, Centre for Social Justice & Inclusion, the Exams Team and academics.

Ashley: The LX.lab is such a supportive and wonderful team. I’ve really enjoyed:

  1. Working with the other students on the students explain digital accessibility video series.
  2. Developing the resource collections Katie mentioned in the clearest way possible so academics can understand that creating accessible digital learning environments and facilitating inclusive classrooms really is possible and not as overwhelming as people may first suspect.
  3. Learning how to create the inclusive practices review that caters for many learning requirements and how we can test learning tools to ensure they cater for everyone’s needs – or have work arounds in place that we can recommend.
  4. Writing blogs to educate academics and UTS staff about accessibility and how to provide support for UTS students and their wellbeing.

Why are inclusive practices important?

Katie: A few years ago, I attended a workshop on how to use a screen reader – which is a type of assistive technology that converts what’s visually on a computer screen to speech. I saw how frustrating and time-consuming it was to get through inaccessible content. It really made me realise what we can all be doing to ensure everyone can engage and access their learning.

Ashley: Inclusive practices are important so all students can participate in their classes. I was studying to be a high school teacher when I discovered the benefits of audio technology and how that can really assist students who may otherwise have experienced barriers to their learning. This fascination with how to improve teaching practices and what all teachers can do to improve their students’ educational experience led me on this path to wanting to discover more about inclusive practices and share that knowledge.

What are the plans for Inclusive Practices team?

Katie: We’ve got lots of plans this year! We are trying to make it easier to access accessibility support in the LX.lab – so that academics can get advice on how to implement accessibility requirements and reasonable adjustments when using technology for teaching.

Some of those things include:

  • Developing more resources.
  • Reviewing more tools to provide recommendations on how to use them in an accessible way.
  • Providing more support for Subject Coordinators supporting students with accessible formats.

If you’re an academic, and you have feedback on what resources or support would be useful for you, please get in touch via email.

LX Resources for accessible content

Check out our resource collections to learn more about making accessible content:

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