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BCS Computing Conference Offers Help to Disabled Students

BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT is holding a conference to highlight the need for accessible online teaching resources for students with disabilities - to help ensure they can reach their full potential.

The day-long event will focus on the issues faced by students who are often unable to utilise their IT skills because they’re either not able to use ‘conventional’ classroom facilities or because the online learning tools haven’t been designed or implemented correctly.

David Rippon, Chair of BCS Digital Accessibility Specialist Group explains: “Digital accessibility aims to match the needs of people with various disabilities to online teaching resources provided in a suitable form. Sometimes, a minor change in a piece of software can make the difference between disabled students being unable to use it at all - to them utilising the computer program to complete a piece of coursework unaided. This conference aims to give guidance to current computing and IT students to make sure materials are properly designed for students with disabilities so they may reach their full potential.”

The conference will examine these issues as well as engage students, IT professionals and academics in providing recommendations and solutions. A range of speakers will share their experience in creating inclusive educational environments. The focus will be on computing and information science and technology within higher and further education although the problems encountered by students with disabilities are endemic across education. Delegates will share experience and produce recommendations for improvements/actions in two key areas:

  • Best practice in providing accessible course materials
  • Training the next generation of IT professionals in best practice for making IT systems truly accessible

Associate Professor at Middlesex University, Gill Whitney, says: “Too often the individual support for disabled students at college or university is likely to be a jigsaw of fragmented pieces. As an academic, I know that most years I have four or five students with visible and hidden disabilities. I remember working with a mature student in his first year work with Disability Support Services to bring the right pieces together and complete the jigsaw. He was able to complete his first year successfully.”

About the BCS Digital Accessibility in Higher and Further Education Conference:

The conference takes place at BCS London, First Floor, The Davidson Building, 5 Southampton Street, London, WC2E 7HA on Thursday 7 April from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.

BCS Members: £60.00, Non-members: £84.00, Concession (Students & Over 60s): £30.00 (including VAT.)  

To book your place at the conference visit: https://events.bcs.org/book/1558/

Please register by Monday 7 March, 2016.

Further information about the conference

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