14:55 Whole Conference Conversation - 

Shaping the Future of UD in Irish Tertiary Education

The Whole Conference Conversations will bring together the in-person and online audiences to help shape the future of universal design (UD) in Irish Further and Higher Education. This session will begin with an introduction from the UD for 3 Project team; a team comprised of staff from ATU, MTU, AHEAD and a huge range of tertiary institutions and national bodies. The UD for 3 Project team are working collaboratively on the Path-4 funded project ‘UD for 3’ which aims 1) to develop a national charter of universal design to be used by the tertiary education sector to embed universal design within institutions and 2) to adapt the UCD toolkit for inclusive higher education institutions to create a national toolkit which can guide further and higher institutions in adopting strong universal design practices in their own contexts. The session will be designed and moderated by Dr Loren Duffy, an expert in designing consultative processes who draws on neuroscience, social psychology and behavioural science in his inclusive approaches.

The aim of the Whole Conference Conversations is 1) to create an interactive space for staff working within Further and Higher education to come together and explore the challenges and barriers to embedding universal design in the tertiary education sector, and 2) to actively input into development of a national charter for universal design which can then best serve the sector. Attendees will be provided with a session outline and context about 'UD for 3' in advance of the conference. Any questions about the 'UD for 3' project can be directed to Maureen Haran at maureen.haran@atu.ie.

 Who is this Session for?

Using the whole Conference Conversation to help shape and design the National Charter on Universal Design in Tertiary Education will unify a wide array of knowledge that exists within the participants of the AHEAD conference. All levels of familiarity with universal design or UDL are welcome at these discussions.

 How will Attendees get involved?

All attendees will receive a question prior to the conference to start delving into your perspectives on the barriers to implementing universal design in your organisation or role. The answers will be anonymous – we’ll be exploring your answers together at the start of our Whole Conference Conversation Session on day 1.  

We’ll be using Sli.do, an interactive website, to make sure the in-person and online audiences have access to each other’s thoughts and insights. You will need a laptop, smartphone or tablet to participate. Sli.do is easy to use and the presenters will explain all features thoroughly. If this method presents accessibility issues for you, we’ll have event support staff available who can input your answers on your behalf – please let us know if you wish to avail of this. 

Throughout the sessions there will be a mixture of silent reflection exercises and group discussion exercises. During the silent reflections, both online and in-person attendees will be asked to give their reactions to phrases and questions. During the group discussion exercises, the in-person audience will be asked to discuss the anonymous contributions provided during the silent reflection periods with the people sitting at their table. The online audience will be split into breakout rooms to do the same tasks. 

As both in-person and online attendees will be entering their thoughts and perspectives to Sli.do, and reacting to inputs from others, this session aims to bring together viewpoints from across the audience, regardless of mode of participation.  

 Session Outcomes

The outputs from this project will include the national charter and resources such as a toolkit mapping out how individual institutions can adopt universal design within their specific context. Final outputs will be free and available under creative commons as our international attendees are invited to to bring international perspectives to these discussions, and will be free to adapt this framework for their own national contexts



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