The Equality Challenge Unit (ECU) website have produced a document ‘Implications for Higher Education Institutions’ referring to the Single Equality Act’. They also have a useful link on their home page How can academics ensure the materials they produce are accessible for all students?
The Single Equality Act is a complex piece of legislation; there are nine areas against which it is illegal to discriminate and HEIs still have the responsibility to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ in order to ensure a disabled person is not treated less favourably than a non-disabled one. The word disabled is in itself contentious. It doesn’t make explicit that being ‘disabled’ is about society and not the individual, that being disabled is about being denied access to participation through society’s failure to recognise sufficient categories of difference. The external social environment functions at the level of the majority or the level of the individual who is operating as the provider of ‘goods, facilities, services and public functions’.
With regard to virtual learning environments this is about the MEE Model. The person creating and uploading digital content using Mouse, Eyes and Ears and assuming everyone accessing that content is doing the same – when this might not be the case. As we head towards the start of a new academic year, it’s worth revisiting the subject of promoting inclusive practice with digital data. Look out for PIP2 following shortly 🙂