What progress has been made in terms of inclusivity and ‘liberating the curriculum’ since the NUS report was published in 2011?

The NUS report on liberating the curriculum was published in 2011 (Ali et al., 2011). The following takes a look at some changes which have come into effect since the publication of this report.

Universities are actively seeking to ensure that inclusivity is embedded into their courses now. For example, there is a major improvement in the staff training and development opportunities whereby I have personally experienced a change over the last 12 months as I was asked to undertake unconscious bias training and mental health awareness training as part of my Performance Review Appraisal (PRA) last year. Staff are also advised to ensure that Lecture material is uploaded on Moodle 24 hours in advance of sessions so as to promote inclusivity and help students facing learning difficulties. Moreover, staff are made conscious with regard to lecture slide designs and its impact on students from different backgrounds. A sound example would be the request to keep away from printing white letters on black coloured backgrounds on slides as dyslexic students find it difficult to read same. The turnaround time for responding to student emails have also been updated with staff now expected to respond within 48 hours during term time. Some courses also welcome having lectures filmed and published for students to review if they found the session hard to follow. I have done this personally for a unit called Research Methods which is taught across the MA courses at LCF. However, this can get students to keep away from sessions as they know it will be uploaded as a video later on, and also not every lecturer would be comfortable with being filmed. This in addition to issues surrounding image referencing and copyright laws which may be infringed. There is also more emphasis on the processes underlying Individual Student Agreements and Extenuating Circumstances which enables students with true problems to have access to the required support to fulfil their university obligations and have a more enriching learning experience. Furthermore, in terms of liberating the curriculum, Lecturers are now seen continuously seeking to link theory and frameworks in class directly to the industry and thereby give students a much clearer indication of the link between the two - a process which places teaching and learning into personal context and perspectives of student cohorts. 

References:

Ali, U., Hart, E., Baars, V., Kaur, R., Bailey, A., and Sesay, K. (2011). Liberation, Equality, and Diversity in the Curriculum [Online]. Available via: https://www.staffs.ac.uk/assets/NUS%20Liberation%20Equality%20and%20Diversity%20in%20the%20Curriculum%202011_tcm44-65179.pdf [Accessed: 14 June 2017]. 

© Dr. Emmanuel Sirimal Silva, all rights reserved

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