What is the Jisc Digital Capabilities Framework?

At a recent LTSEC meeting, the university agreed to adopt the Jisc Digital Capabilities Framework. But how much do you know about digital capabilities and how do digital capabilities differ from digital skills or digital literacy. What about digital fluency? All good questions and in this blog post I’ll try and help untangle some of those distinctions and explain how the Jisc Digital Capabilities Framework can help you as an individual, within your curriculum and help your students.

You say potato, I say potahto

Over the last decade there has been a range of terms used to describe those practices we engage with when we are using digital technologies, software and services. Jisc in its early explorations into this area used the term ‘digital literacy’, in part reflecting the work of SCONUL and it’s 7 pillars of information literacy which had a digital literacy lens on this work. There was also the significant piece of research undertaken by the LliDA project looking at Learning Literacies for the Digital Age.

Fast forward ten years and we now have Uk Government industrial and digital strategies both recognising the importance of digital skills not only in terms of economic growth but in terms of the general populace needing a level of digital capability to engage and work in today’s society and economy.

So what exactly are Digital Capabilities?

Jisc have defined digital capabilities as those skills, competencies and capabilities ‘which equip someone to live, learn and work in a digital society’. Perhaps the easiest way to distinguish between digital skills and digital capabilities is to consider writing a sophisticated report. I need the digital capability to determine the best way to write that report (considering the medium and audience) and then use that capability to critical evaluate the range of digital tools I could use to write it. I then need to apply my digital skills when actually using a specific tool (say MS Word, in this example) to actually undertake the activity. Both are important and we often develop our digital capabilities through increasing our confidence in developing and applying our digital skills. However, there’s a risk that we can get focused only on the digital skills and the understandable concern around the need to be continually learning how to use the new tools that our institutions are implementing. By taking a step back we can see how a focus on digital capabilities can actually better prepare us and our students for the inevitable change in digital tools and services that occurs either within our institutions or beyond.

Why adopt a Framework?

The Jisc definition of digital capabilities comes with a handy framework that articulates those skills and capabilities in a set of elements that makes sense in an educational context. Their framework has six elements that categorise those skills and capabilities

  • ICT proficiency
  • Information, data and media literacies
  • Digital creation, problem solving and innovation
  • Digital learning and development
  • Digital communication, collaboration and participation
  • Digital identity and wellbeing

Complimenting this framework are some profiles that articulate those capabilities in specific role contexts, for example in their Learner profile or their HE Teacher profile.

The framework and the profiles give you a common vocabulary from which to start discussions about digital capabilities, either within the curriculum or beyond it. It a foundational element of a whole range of discussions from capabilities within the curriculum to what are the right tools to support digital capabilities.

So how does that help me or my students?

The usefulness of the framework comes in the discussions that can be had about digital capabilities. For example, looking at the Learner Profile, what are the digital capabilities that the students on my course should be graduating with? How do I develop those within the curriculum? What digital skills and capabilities am I assuming students starting my course already have? Do I/the course team have the capabilities to help my students develop theirs? And if we don’t who can help?

The framework is never a means and an end in of itself but rather a way to better map out the space within the curriculum for those relevant capabilities. It can provide ways for students and ourselves to develop the tangible digital practices with various digital tools and services that are the practical application of those capabilities.

OK, so where should I start?

Firstly, have a look at the Framework and the groupings in general, a lot these will be things you are already doing.  Are there any areas where maybe there are some gaps?

Do the capabilities outlined in the Learner Profile support your course or module learning outcomes in anyway?

Alternatively, in the HE Teacher Profile are there any areas that you would personally like to develop more expertise in? Sometimes, it’s the conversations and ideas that get sparked off reviewing a framework that are the most valuable part of having the Framework.

The Jisc Digital Capabilities Framework helps underpin a range of activity and development as we move forward with digital learning and teaching. It helps us have more in-depth discussions about digital capabilities and provides a way to understand more explicitly where we are developing them with and beyond the curriculum.

Want to keep up to date with all the latest developments in Digital Learning and Teaching or more broadly as part of our approach to realising teaching excellence? Then subscribe to our updates or follow us on twitter @l_t_worc.

Image – Jisc Building digital capabilities: the six elements defined (this work is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA)

A Month of Digital Accessibility

So, that was October. The start of term, welcoming our newest students and getting to grips with the new academic year.  We also started to raise awareness of the new Public Sector Website Accessibility Regulations. And, now, to support staff with developing accessible content we’re publishing a range of support, guidance and tips and tricks to help everyone with making their content as accessible as possible whether it’s content for a website, content for internal colleagues or learning content for our students.

It can seem that creating or adapting existing content to make it accessible is quite challenging. But in reality there’s some really quick ways to achieve this. For this month there’s handy calendar of Office 365 tips and tricks which provide some ideas for how to get going and how to make a start with the range of Office 365 documents that we all have.

There are two versions available. An accessible PowerPoint and a printable PDF.

Want to keep up to date with all the latest developments in Digital Learning and Teaching or more broadly as part of our approach to realising teaching excellence? Then subscribe to our updates or follow us on twitter @l_t_worc.

Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash

7 quick ways to make your Word docs accessible

With the new Public Sector Web Accessibility Regulations now in place, here are seven tips and tricks to help you make your existing or new word documents more accessible whether you’re writing internal documents, learning content for students or would like to know how to make your essay or thesis more accessible.

  1. Use Heading Styles to make your document easy to navigate

    Using Headings makes your documents much easier to navigate for someone using a screen reader. You can create Headings Styles that match your needs and if you need to change them you only need to do it once and all the Headings in your document will be updated. Using Headings also makes it much easier to create a table of contents for any longer documents that you may have as Word can automatically create a table of contents from the headings.

  2. Use accessible non-serif fonts

    Non-serif fonts such as Arial, Calibri or Helvetica are much easier for students with dyslexia to read. Make sure you use a minimum of 11pt in your documents.

  3. Keep the lay out simple

    Make sure text is left-aligned, as this again is easy to read. Ensure pages are also numbered as this helps visual impaired students using screen readers.

  4. Don’t use tables for layout

    Tables should only be used in documents for displaying information or data. Use the Insert Table option and ensure that the column headers are used to identify the meaning of the columns.

  5. Ensure you don’t use colour to convey information

    Be sure to use alternative means of conveying information other than colour. This will help visual impaired students or those who are colour blind not miss out on any information.

  6. Add alt-text to any images or diagrams that you include

    All images or diagrams need to have Alt-text (or alternative text) added to them. Screen readers will read out any information you include in the alt-text to help visual impaired students understand the impact of the image. Make sure you included any text that’s included in the image and try and keep the description concise and unambiguous.

  7. Use your handy MS Accessibility Checker

    All the main Microsoft tools come with an Accessibility checker which will go through your document and identify any areas where the accessibility could be improved. It will also provide you with advice on how to make your document more accessible.

Want to know more about accessible Word documents? There’s a handy guide available on the ICT Accessibility Tools web pages.
Alternatively, you can access LinkedIn Learning at University of Worcester and check out their various courses on accessibility. Or if the chance to earn some digital badges interests you, have a look at the Microsoft Educator Community which has lots of short online courses on Office365 tools and accessibility.

Want to keep up to date with all the latest developments in Digital Learning and Teaching or more broadly as part of our approach to realising teaching excellence? Then subscribe to our updates or follow us on twitter @l_t_worc.

Photo by J-S Romeo on Unsplash

Our Special Interest Group Needs You!

Are you interested in inclusive learning and teaching?

Have you been thinking about how this relates to your digital practice? If so, read on…..

The last Digital Learning and Teaching Update mentioned a new Special Interest Group which has recently started up. The Digital Accessibility Special Interest Group is an open learning community where anyone at the University who has an interest in digital accessibility can get involved. Whether you’re a student studying a subject that includes inclusive approaches and assistive technologies, a member of staff with an interest in digital accessibility, a researcher who has an active focus on this or you’re just generally curious, then please come and get involved in the community.

While this is the first group to be set-up due to the focus on the public sector web accessibility regulations, it is anticipated that more groups will be set-up. The principle behind the groups is that they are open learning communities that anyone with an interest in a particular area can participate in, as much or as little as they would like.

Most of the activity will be online but we are exploring opportunities for face to face meetings as well.

Curious? Want to know more?

Currently the group is collaborating online via Yammer, which is part of the Office 365 suite. You can get involved really quickly.

  •  Head over to office.com and find Yammer under your apps
  •  Once in Yammer search for the GPR_Digital Accessibility Group and ask to join
  •  Introduce yourself and get involved.
  •  Spread the word around students and colleagues

If you have some ideas about other digital learning and teaching Special Interest Groups that you think it would be great to set-up, get in touch via LTWorcester @ worc.ac.uk.

Want to keep up to date with all the latest developments in Digital Learning and Teaching or more broadly as part of our approach to realising teaching excellence? Then subscribe to our updates or follow us on twitter @l_t_worc.

Photo by William White on Unsplash

Vignette of Practice: Level 2+ Award Programme by Craig Williams; School of Sport and Exercise Science

Level 2+ Award Programme

by Craig Williams; School of Sport and Exercise Science

 

CWCW2

 

This case study provides an overview of the rationale for, and impact of the ‘Level 2+ Award Programme’, an accredited Sports Coaching Award Programme at the University of Worcester (UW). Launched in 2011, the programme provided students with the opportunity to achieve recognised vocational qualifications within a mandatory first year coaching module (SPRT1024). The embedded Level 2 coaching award programme was designed to develop vocational coach education qualifications for UW students, which provided affordable and flexible vocational learning whilst also enhancing student employability and placement readiness.

The blended learning aspect of the program permitted students to accredit prior learning gained in the module towards the Nationally accredited 1st4sport Level 2 Award in The Principles of Coaching Sport (POCS L2) qualification and subsequently the ‘Level 2 + award’ in Multi-Skills (MS L2). At the outset of each 1st year cohort on SPRT1024 a student survey ascertains coaching qualifications and experience. On average under 5% of students on the module have the equivalent of a Level 2 coaching award.

The embedded ‘Level 2+ Award’ has proved an effective way to support the student’s professional development. Since 2011/12, 378 students out of 418 (90.4%) who commenced the POCS L2 award have successfully completed and 90 out of 96 (93.8%) students have successfully completed the MSL2 award.  The MS L2 was embedded following discussions with local school teachers, coaching mentors as it was felt that to be a highly desirable qualification for students coaching in primary schools, after school clubs and grassroots sports clubs, the initial environments for the majority of student coaches.

To deliver the program I have directly supported eleven UW staff members to achieve nationally recognised tutoring and assessing qualifications. Delivery of the awards provides an excellent opportunity for these staff to maintain current professional practice and, regular peer observation provides an effective way to evaluate the effectiveness of the program (Biggs & Tang, 2011). Additionally, it significantly reduces the course cost to students.

Student feedback has regularly comment about the “opportunity” to access courses, the “cost effectiveness” of the courses, the “convenience” of the courses and benefits to student “employability”.

Evidence of the impact of this work is demonstrated through our external verifiers who described the processes at UW as ‘innovative’, ‘transparent’ and ‘best practice’.

One of the NGB’s involved in the program commented:

We have been impressed with the flexibility and support offered to the learners through your forward-thinking attitude and we are keen to develop this in the future. The courses being set up with Worcester will signal a real shift from the traditional delivery mode and we will look to replicate and role this out in other geographical places.

The ‘Level 2 + award’ program was an excellent way to develop employability skills and enhance student’s readiness for placement opportunities. This was clearly evidenced via student engagement within the courses, student satisfaction, student feedback, and Internal Verifier and External Verifier feedback.

References

Biggs, J. & Tang, C. (2011) Teaching for Quality Learning at University, 4th Edn. Maidenhead: McGraw

 

 

Aligning Digital Accessibility and Digital Capabilities

You may have recently heard about the new Public Sector Web Accessibility Regulations which put a much stronger emphasis on ensuring all users of websites and intranets across the public sector can have as an inclusive web experience as much as possible.

For most institutions there’s a lot of work underway both on their public facing websites and for those systems such as VLE’s where a significant numbers of individuals need to engage with a range of online content and activities. This blog post isn’t a dissection of the ins and outs of the new regulations. Jisc have been holding a number of accessibility clinics where specific queries can be discussed and the Further and Higher Education Working Group have pulled together a range of advice and support if you are interested in delving into the regulations further.

For me, personally, the aim and principles behind the regulations resonate with the key values of our institution as an inclusive community and also in terms of ascribing to the key professional values articulated within Advance HE’s Professional Standards Framework, as an HEA Fellow.  Ensuring I am “promoting participation in higher education and equality of opportunity for learners” within my role and advocating for it more broadly across the institution through a focus on digital accessibility brings those two elements into closer alignment.

There’s also the link with digital capabilities. The Jisc Digital Capabilities Framework articulates a whole range of capabilities for living, learning and working in a digital world. And here, when we are discussing those elements there again are links into those capabilities that allow us to either

  • have the digital skills to ensure that those digital artefacts we create are as accessible as possible
  • ensure we have considered the impacts of navigating our courses on our learners needs
  • have the digital capabilities to ensure equality of access to digital opportunities or feel confident to be able critical evaluate digital technologies to support access and inclusion. (Something that resonates in part with the arguments Jesse Stommel was making at his ALT-C 2019 keynote).

In my mind, it looks a bit like this Venn diagram.

Venn diagram showing intersection between digital capabilities and Advance HE Professional Standards with digital accessibility at the intersection

The intersectionality of those values we hold to as inclusive educators and the recognition of how through the development of our individual and organisational digital capabilities we can significantly move forward those opportunities for equality of learners is where I see the opportunities that a focus on digital accessibility can have benefit, albeit through the tool of some legal requirements.

For me, this shouldn’t about compliance with another set of regulations but a real, tangible opportunity to develop those capabilities that help us, as a learning community to demonstrate how we put those values we sign-up to as individuals and organisations, into action.

So what do you think? How do you interpret the focus on digital accessibility that the regulations are prompting at the moment?

Vignette of Practice – Graduate Employment: Increasing Student Employability Through Applied Lifelong Learning

Graduate Employment: Increasing Student Employability Through Applied Lifelong Learning

by David Mycock;  School of Sport and Exercise Science

Dave Mycock

 

This case study demonstrates the innovative and inspiring work I have done as the SSES Course Leader for the BSc. Sports Coaching Science with Disability Sport. It summarises my attempts to increase practical teaching, learning and employment opportunities for students on this study pathway.

Graduate employment is one of the key Teaching Excellence Framework drivers for universities and this driver motivated me to more closely align my teaching activities and learning priorities with developing employability skills and opportunities. Additionally, I wanted to clearly articulate to inquiring students the answer to a question frequently asked; “What job will this course allow me to do”?

The University of Worcester Strategic Plan, Values and Vision, (2019) claims ‘we’ “should be preparing and inspiring students for life through, enriching the students learning experience”. I have found this is best facilitated via implementing, “fun, fairness, equity and inclusion. I do this through providing additional chances to practice what they love doing”. This ensures students become ‘professionalised’ and have the modern ‘currency’ to work in their chosen career as they complete their BSc. Course. To this end, I sought to engage with a number of partners to provide additional qualifications that would enhance student learning and their employability prospects. For example:

  1. Great Britain Wheelchair Basketball, (Level 1 Wheelchair Basketball Award & Inclusive Zone Basketball Officiating Award).
  2. Wheel Power UK, (Wheelchair Skills Workshop & Paralympic Boccia Level 2 Awards).
  3. Goal Ball UK, (Visually Impaired Paralympic Sport)

Students, external verifiers and professors in the field have concurred that this is a positive step to develop and enhance the skills of my students. They have commented; “including industry specific additional qualifications is an innovative and a robust sustainable process for the modern-day student to benefit from”. The benefits, I feel are that students become more confident and better equipped for employability after completing these additional elements to their learning. The real-life learning experiences add purpose and value to their skill set and knowledge. Students claim this, ‘gives them a passport to volunteer and gain paid work in areas they wish to form a career in’.

I have found through these enrichment activities that students have developed in different ways, much more so than I had previously experienced in trying to do everything myself within modules. These opportunities have led to; students automatically stimulating engagement for themselves and others, which promotes their career specific skills and lived experiences. This has expanded career opportunities and students are beginning to develop national and international networks as they improve confidence and self-efficacy.

These mini motivational intra-semester ‘wins’ such as becoming empowered to take control of their own independent learning early, helps students shape and direct their knowledge and practice. The additional qualifications allow for greater ownership and promotes career aspirations and options. I believe this organically enhances their willingness to attend, engage and give extra efforts as a ‘professional student’ to make sure they are in a ‘stronger’ position to obtain their future goals.

Student feedback suggests embedding industry recognised qualifications helps them to keep their learning momentum, which ignites the modules as it enables clear and explicit links between theory and practice. The consensus appears to be that learning ‘in action’ or ‘on the job’ by gaining additional industry recognised qualifications supports students to better learn, succeed both in their studies and, as they prepare for employment. It has amazed me how engaged and stimulated students become when they receive for example; a free t-shirt, an extra industry recognised qualification or an opportunity to go on and ‘actively trial’ jobs they wish to do. Their motivation to learn is significantly increased.

As a consequence of these enrichment activities, one of my graduates gained employment in full time coaching position with, ‘The Albion Foundation’ (TAF). TAF is the Community Programme from West Bromwich Albion Football Club and helps to support 2,000 people in the West Midlands every week. This work has had regional and national impact. Furthermore, this former student now hosts sessions, talks and workshops for current UW students. The benefit of this is that it facilitates continued generation of resources, such as workshops, student placements and paid part and full-time employment. Other students have secured opportunities at Wasps Rugby Club, England Boccia and GB Wheelchair Basketball.

This additional learning strand has promoted a new learning community and this is continually growing and now being facilitated by our ex-Graduates who have now become the next generation of development officers, coaches and teachers. This is a mutually beneficial and sustainable model of good practice now as we have ‘fed the sector’ with well-rounded professionals who return to provide further qualifications, paid and placement opportunities for us.

The holistic real-life learning and teaching approach, which includes employment enrichment activities, has been acknowledged by the Vice Chancellor of UW. Upon reading an article written by one of my students about their BSc. Sports Coaching Science with Disability Sport Course experience and related triumphs, claimed it was, “Simply Inspirational!”

Reference

University of Worcester Strategic Plan, Values and Vision, (2019). Inspired for life, University of Worcester.

Digital Learning and Teaching Update

The leaves are tinged with the hints of reds, golds and browns of autumn, there’s the familiar chill in the early mornings . Yes, it’s the start of the new academic year for both schools, FE and HE institutions across the sector are gearing up to welcome thousands of new students to a new phase in their education or perhaps restarting their education.
There’s a range of activities that have occurred over the summer months to help put digital learning and teaching on a stronger foothold and plenty of innovative practice to get engaged with over the next academic year. If you’d like to know more, then read on.

What’s been happening over the summer?

Here’s just a few of the things that have been happening to improve the digital learning and teaching experience.

  • IT have been working hard to improve the WiFi network in the residences. There’s been plenty of feedback from staff and students that having a good network is really important and it’s crucial for digital learning and teaching so it’s been and will continue to be an area of focus.
  • There’s ongoing work to update Office 365 to the latest version. This is happening in phases so that everyone will be upgraded but IT will be undertaking this on a rolling basis.
  • The TEL Unit put a lot of work into moving our Blackboard VLE into the cloud. This doesn’t mean any changes from a user perspective but it puts the support of Blackboard in a better position moving forward.
  • There’s also a new Blackboard template for courses. You can find out more on the TEL Unit blog 
  • And as it’s the start of the year, the TEL Unit have plenty of advice and support about getting your Blackboard courses ready for the new academic year .
  • The new Digital Learning and Teaching Steering Group is up and running. This will be meeting on a regular basis to discuss strategic initiatives and help ensure that digital learning and teaching is embedded across the institution.
  • There’s also a new Special Interest Group that’s been set-up to share ideas on Digital Accessibility. The Special Interest Group is open to everyone at the University regardless of whether you’re a member of staff or a student. If you’re interested in digital accessibility whether you’re studying a subject related to this area, a practitioner, researcher or someone who has an active interest, you are most welcome. To get involved search for the GRP_Digital Accessibility Group on Yammer – which is part of Office365.

And what’s happening over the new academic year?

  • Many of you contributed to conversations last academic year about the future of digital learning and teaching and where we might want to focus our efforts. The biggest activity that will be happening this year will be the production a new Learning and Teaching Strategy. For the first time, digital learning and teaching will be embedded in the Learning and Teaching Strategy drawing on the range of feedback and conversations. So it’s a really busy but exciting time as we start to pull of that thinking together.
  • As an inclusive institution we’re planning to support staff in making their courses as accessible as possible to coincide with the new public sector accessibility regulations. This will be a significant area of focus for the next year and there will be a range of activities and awareness raising initiatives to support everyone is making their learning content accessible. IT have a help page with information about using some of the Office365 tools to make Word docs or PowerPoints accessible and the TEL Unit have advice on making Blackboard courses accessible. This also ties in with the launch of the Inclusive toolkit which will happening later in the term. Look out for a range of information, support and webinars focusing on digital accessibility.
  • As part of the support for digital learning and teaching on campus, there’s currently a project looking at polling/voting systems with the aim of being able to offer a university wide polling system in the future. This will strengthen the opportunities to take an active, blended approach to learning and teaching.
  • With everyone now using Blackboard and TurnitIn for the electronic management of assessment, the next stage of the project will be looking at connecting Blackboard with our student information system to allow easier transfer of assessment information. This is an ongoing project and further information will be available as work progresses.
  • As IT roll out Office 365 there’ll be more opportunities to explore how Office365 can be used to support learning and teaching. Further information will be available as the update moves forward but if you’re interested you can find a range of useful guidance and courses via LinkedIn Learning or have a look at the Microsoft Education Community  and have a go at earning a digital badge.

Want to get involved?

There’s plenty of innovative practice to get involved with this academic year and more opportunities in the pipeline. But do you have some innovative practice you really want to share? Want to write a blog post about it? Be part of a webinar or Share and Inspire session? Then let us know and we’ll definitely be in touch!

 

Accessible Organisations – Supporting learning providers in creating inclusive teaching and learning experiences

So, you want me to read for my degree? Considering a Universal Design for learning approach to reading through the use of audiobooks and accessibility tools

It seems logical to those of us working in higher education that students need to read for their degrees. Yet research indicates this isn’t so obvious to students themselves, with patterns of student reading not reflecting the approach and skills needed to succeed in HE. In this blog post, Michelle Malomo and Sarah Pittaway from the University of Worcester explore ways of reducing barriers to reading.

Taking this starting point, initial (currently unpublished) research with a group of Early Years students at the University of Worcester highlighted that students often perceive reading as a skill developed in primary school, and associate it with a pleasurable, nostalgic activity of their childhood not needed in their adult life. It appeared that students had not understood that “reading for your degree” was just that – you need to read. This research concluded that lecturers need to make reading explicit within their teaching, as well as accessible and purposeful.

Even when students understand the importance of reading, there are challenges that need to be considered, particularly when thinking about how to make reading accessible in a variety of formats. If you talk to students about their reading experiences, it becomes clear that there are also barriers to accessing reading material. As university staff, we recognise physical and learning disabilities such as dyslexia and visual impairment, but often don’t explore other barriers to engagement. For example, the SAGE scholars from Sussex spoke eloquently at Talis Insight about students experiencing eyestrain and headaches from reading online. We also need to recognise that our students are not “just” reading for a degree. Many are time-poor, working long hours or commuting, or have care responsibilities at home. Some of our students have even reported weight gain since their gym/self-care time is now spent reading.

Universal Design for Learning

Our research now is inspired by a Universal Design for Learning (UDL) approach, which helps us reshape teaching and learning through a flexible approach to curriculum design. UDL principles build on us having an understanding as to how the brain operates and processes learning. Understanding this has an implication for how we present reading materials to students. To enable all students to access reading material it is essential that curriculum design has the why, what and how of learning at its heart and that engagement with the curriculum, representation of resources and content and the expression of learning are crucial to enabling accessibility to all. UDL therefore acknowledges the range of issues that students experience, not just those with declared disabilities. A UDL perspective aims to develop good teaching practice that enhances the experience for everyone, rather than just making exceptions for those who declare. It removes barriers so that everyone can benefit, and this includes having multiple means of representation. In terms of student reading, this means different ways of accessing texts that might support a student who is time poor or struggling with eyestrain or who simply finds they prefer to read in different ways.

The Research

In order to explore this and develop good teaching practice, we investigated embedding audiobooks alongside print and ebooks in our online reading list system to see how students engaged with them. Ideally, we wanted books that could be streamed, like a Spotify type service. We also wanted books that could be downloaded and listened to when there was no internet connection, e.g. on the train. However, there are very few academic audiobook sources. On the Early Years reading lists that we were working with, none of the texts were available in audiobook format. We also discovered that audiobooks work on a print borrowing model, in which an individual is issued with an audiobook, making it inaccessible to others. This is not a suitable model of provision.

Instead we embedded some accessibility tools in lists for students to use. These included text-to-speech tools, speed-readers, and tools that enable the user to adjust their screen display. All are free browser extensions.

Of about 200 students, we’ve got around 30 clicks to these tools from the lists. However, we don’t know what they then did with those tools. Did they download them and make them part of their everyday study practice? Or did they click on them and find other barriers, e.g. a lack of confidence in their own digital capabilities in using these tools?

We need the qualitative data that make sense of this story. Our next step is to talk to students and course tutors about their experiences and strategies for reading. Have they used the tools we embedded and what difference did they make? If not, why not? Would an audiobook have felt like an easier option? Have they got alternative strategies for engaging with reading? There’s a huge amount of potential here to remove barriers to learning for a whole variety of students, and we’re just starting to work out how best to achieve this.

Michelle Malomo, FdA Partnership Co-ordinator/Senior Lecturer, Centre for Children and Families, School of Education, University of Worcester

Sarah Pittaway, Head of Library Academic Engagement, Library Services @ The Hive, University of Worcester