Goal 2: Enable a more inclusive educational environment
To employ digital education to help address structural inequalities in Oxford’s approaches to teaching, learning and assessment, and evaluate their impact
The existing commitment to teaching informed by an inclusive approach to learning (Strategic Plan 2018-24, Education Commitment 3) supports our ambitions to eliminate degree-awarding gaps and support student wellbeing. In recent years, the Disability Advisory Service has noted that ‘the University has made exceptionally positive progress during the pandemic in progressing inclusive and flexible teaching and assessment practices.’ A flexible and inclusive teaching approach preserves the high quality, personalised education that is our hallmark, whilst recognising and minimising the barriers that hinder student learning and participation.
Student feedback collected during the pandemic reveals how digital tools can be employed to help students manage Oxford’s demanding academic and social environments and complex ecosystem. Students reported that ‘Oxford’s high expectations can be mitigated by consistent and clear communication of expectations and deadlines, timely access to well-structured and accessible resources in a central portal, and flexibility in workload management.’
With greater understanding of the barriers to participation that students face, tutors and lecturers are well positioned to choose how to embed common inclusive practices, depending on the specific needs and priorities of their discipline and their students.
Agree an evidence-based framework for digitally supported inclusive teaching, which departments can use to decide how to help students navigate the complex ecosystem of the Oxford educational environment and manage their workloads.
Design, equip and support physical teaching spaces to make them accessible to our diverse student community, such as improved sound and visual quality, the ability to make recordings, and join remotely.
Extend the range of supported assessments available to exam boards by investing in the tools, facilities and processes for their management, thus reducing the need for individual adjustments.
Optimise the use of digital tools and technologies to support students’ academic transitions into and through undergraduate and postgraduate study.
Reduce the need to make adjustments for individual students by designing accessibility and inclusive practices into digital education platforms and systems, and providing communications and training that meet local needs.