10:45 Lightning Session 1


Each presentation during the Lightning Session will be six to eight minutes, using a maximum of six slides. These rapid fire presentations will serve as a great introduction to projects, resources and approaches to inclusive education and learner support across the sector.  

Lightning 1.1: The use of inclusive e-learning academic tools to support under-represented HEA target groups in higher education

Students who are underrepresented in higher education can be underprepared for the transition into third level education. These cohorts of students may not have had the educational opportunity to develop the academic skills required for higher education.

Maynooth University Access Programme and the National Learning Network collaborated to provide students with universally designed e-learning tools to support the development of academic and wellbeing skills, supporting retention and successful progression in academia for all cohorts of students in higher education.

The universal design approach has enabled a solution to be created that grew from supporting the needs of students with disabilities and now has broad applicability to all students, including intersectional and underrepresented groups. 

This workshop provides a perspective on underrepresented students’ academic needs, while delivering a practical guide to using universally designed e-learning tools.

Slides for Lightning Talk 1.1, Day 2


Additional Resources/Further Reading

National Access Plan 2022-2028:

gov.ie - National Access Plan 2022-2028 (www.gov.ie) 

Action plan for increasing Traveller participation in higher education:

gov.ie - Action plan for increasing Traveller participation in higher education (www.gov.ie) 

Aislinn Ryan

National Learning Network

Speaker Bio

Sandra Collins

Maynooth University

Speaker Bio

Lightning 1.2: The accessibility dream: An idea to future proof accessibility for staff and students

Accessibility is and will be a growing part of our academic culture so accessibility awareness and skills will permeate over the next few decades into all aspects of staff and student lives as we become more and more inclusive. To build in accessibility into the academic life we need to think how down the line one way accessibility will evolve is in the rubric structure that is a core part of the academic process. When we begin to add accessibility into how we access assignments we can measure how students add alt text, headings and links, for example, and how these are important as these inclusion skills will become a recognised life-long skill for college and work.

This will happen so let’s talk about it and explore what this can look like. Lets look at a rubric and brainstorm accessibility as a component of the rubric.

Additional Resources/Further Reading

Accessibility Rubric example

Slides for Lightning Talk 1.2, Day 2


Trevor Boland

Dublin City University

Speaker Bio

Lightning 1.3: UDL: From Episodic to Systemic Change

In recent years, the digital badge in UDL has emerged as a key driver of change within HEI’s. Notwithstanding the success of the rollout of the digital badge in increasing staff engagement with the principles of UDL - usually through the form of the +1 or +2 approach to the implementation of UDL - additional systemic measures are required to produce long-term institutional change. We argue that this movement from episodic to systemic change requires additional staff supports that extend beyond the lifecycle of the digital badge and must also address potential systemic roadblocks such as staff workload allocation models and the return to pre-covid class delivery and assessment methods. In short, a particular focus on the systemic barriers to change, we argue, will help to build on the success of the digital badge and support staff and institutions in implementing change.

UDL has gained momentum across HEI’s recently through various funded projects and initiatives. Pockets of innovation have emerged as a result of this work. However, systemic barriers remain that prevent staff from further embedding UDL in their practice. In this session, we will address these barriers and provide solutions for creating meaningful change.


Additional Resources/Further Reading

Inclusive Learning at NUIG - Website

EDTL Newsletter - July 2022

Kate Molloy

University of Galway

Speaker Bio

Dr Daniel Savery

National University of Ireland, Galway

Speaker Bio

Lightning 1.4: A UDL approach to reducing the effects of Glossophobia

A UDL approach to reducing the effects of Glossophobia

Glossophobia is a fear of public speaking which causes intense distress and anxiety.  20% of surveyed Biomedical Engineering Students (Years 3 and 4) have a fear of presenting in front of their peers with a further 50% being apprehensive.  ?There would have been situations where students would skip the presenting aspect of assignments and taken a zero grade for that portion of the module.  Applying the UDL principle, multiple means of action & expression, can greatly alleviate this fear.  Learners were provided with a choice of five presenting options for their review paper.  97% of students liked having this choice.  After completion, the students had very positive feedback; “I think it takes a lot of pressure off knowing that you can choose how to present your work”, “it’s good to give students the option so that they can showcase their best work” and “the choice made the assignments less stressful”. 

Providing presentation choices reduces the fear of public speaking.  These choices allows students to critically think about their chosen presentation style which best suits their abilities.

Slides - AHEAD2023 - Lightning 1.4 - A UDL Approach to Reducing the Effects of Glossophobia

Dr Liam Morris

Atlantic Technological University - Galway

Speaker Bio

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This article appeared in the AHEAD website. Visit www.ahead.ie for more information