University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Breaking down attitudinal barriers in the fortress of academia: learning from a UDL project to engage students with academic reading

Malomo, Michelle ORCID: and Pittaway, Sarah ORCID: (2020) Breaking down attitudinal barriers in the fortress of academia: learning from a UDL project to engage students with academic reading. In: UDL conference, 7-8 October 2020, Online (hosted by Kristianstad University). (Unpublished)

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This session builds on ongoing research conducted between academic and library colleagues at the University of Worcester (Malomo & Pittaway, 2020). Our ongoing aim is to provide additional strategies to assist students engage with reading using a UDL methodology. We recognise that some student cohorts do not realise that they need to read for their degree (Malomo, 2017). Further, a variety of barriers, such as time-poverty and/or learning disabilities, may impact on students’ ability to engage with reading materials.
The first stage of our research took a technological, solution-oriented approach where we embedded accessibility tools, such as speed-readers and text-to-speech tools, into our online reading list system. Inspired by UDL we sought to remove what we saw as environmental barriers and to create options for multi-modal reading that would open out reading opportunities.
In practice, we found that although the environmental barrier was removed, a more challenging attitudinal barrier was thrown up in its place, namely teaching staff’s lack of confidence in their digital capabilities. In particular, our research revealed a feeling that staff needed to be ‘super-users’ of these technologies, and colleagues were uncomfortable about displaying vulnerability or sharing perceived lack of knowledge. This session will unpack both staff and student responses to this intervention and reflect on our response as practitioners.
Stage 2 of our research focuses on the need to address these attitudinal barriers. The move to a more online world necessitated by COVID-19 is proving instrumental in moving forward with this stage of research. We draw on Jisc’s digital capabilities framework and other reflective tools (Jisc, 2019; Beetham and Sharpe, 2010) to inform this stage of the research, which is designed to impact and develop pedagogic practice. We will demonstrate that UDL is not always centred exclusively on the student, but on the community of practice around the learner.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Additional Information:

A pdf file of this conference presentation is available to download from this record.

Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: UDL, reading
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Divisions: College of Arts, Humanities and Education > School of Education
Central Services > Library Services
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Sarah Pittaway
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2020 13:49
Last Modified: 15 Apr 2021 13:06

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