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Not just any technology

Western Sydney Uni makes Assistive Technology available to all – Strategy – Projects – Hardware – Software

Credit: Western Sydney University

Western Sydney University made a much more inclusive finding out surroundings and office by generating it simpler to obtain and get IT assist for Assistive Technological innovation.

Assistive Technological innovation (AT) refers to “any gadget, technique or style that provides people today with simple solutions to boost finding out, functioning, and every day residing for people today with disabilities and/or continual well being conditions”, in accordance to the college.

“In college contexts, AT can lessen or take out limitations professional by team and college students in or out of the classroom, business office, laboratories, or all through examinations,” Western Sydney University suggests.

“AT can assist boost a whole vary of hard scenarios from obtain to resources, to exploration or review skills, to development and presentation of information, ideal by to hearing and visible augmentation.”

To foster inclusivity in its finding out and functioning environments, Western Sydney University established about “normalising” and “mainstreaming” Assistive Technological innovation solutions, generating them effortlessly obtainable to all team and college students.

It maintains a in depth record of Assistive Technological innovation goods “that can be helpful in a college setting”, covering places these kinds of as note-getting, intellect mapping, literacy, numeracy, dictation, organisation and time administration, hearing augmentation and vision guidance.

While at other universities, college students may perhaps be funneled by Incapacity Services for assist, even if IT handles the set up of the Assistive Technological innovation, Western Sydney University was decided to make a new design.

“We strive to empower all team and college students to arrive at their possible, no matter if they have a incapacity or not,” it explained.

“That is why we make numerous Assistive Systems extensively obtainable across all our campus computers, with specialised units and courses obtainable, as expected, in our Access Rooms or assigned to team with office adjustment strategies. 

“Some Assistive Technological innovation is also obtainable for set up on a team or student’s personal gadget.”

To make its design, the university’s Disabilities Services and Details Technological innovation and Digital Services (ITDS) departments collaborated to write a “compelling business case for the institution of a total-time dedicated position targeted completely on driving the adoption and consciousness of Assistive Technological innovation at Western Sydney University.”

There is now also a substantial, centralised assist structure obtainable to team and college students looking for assist with Assistive Technological innovation.

Anyone can now make contact with the common IT Provider Desk and speak to a subject make any difference skilled for set up and assist of specialised Assistive Technological innovation.

Driving obtain and assist by mainstream channels is a single way the college has been able to normalise the use of Assistive Technological innovation, driving up adoption and fostering inclusivity.

Quite a few Assistive Technological innovation software program distributors – which include TextHelp, Browse&Compose and EquatIO – supplied skilled guidance and assist in relation to their goods as part of the venture.

Vendors and internal team aided prepare subject make any difference gurus in ITDS that can then act as advocates in their distinct domains.

The venture workforce also preserved a obvious existence at features these kinds of as team orientation and the expert team convention, demonstrating the technological innovation and supplying standard steering on how it may satisfy staff’ demands.

The college suggests it is “anecdotally distinct that enhanced uptake is occurring” on the back of the initiative. 

It strategies to carry out much more in depth measurement of the influence of the initiative in the foreseeable future.

The venture aligns with an “Equity and Inclusiveness” worth in the university’s Strategic Prepare, ‘Securing Success’.

This venture is a finalist in the Range class of the iTnews Benchmark Awards 2020.