DEAFAX, GOALS4LIFE www.goals4life.org.uk & AACT www.aact.org.uk have all become partners with the UNIVERSITY OF READING in a major Leverhulme Trust funded research and development project entitled:
Access and Higher Education: Inclusive Online Learning for Deaf Students
Universities traditionally place much emphasis on text based learning and assessment, access demanding high levels of literacy and the acquisition of technical and abstract vocabulary. Deaf students can therefore encounter multiple systemic barriers to academic success. Our research sets out to remove some of the inequities that exist in access to higher education. It does so through striving for barrier free designs in online learning.
Although our prime focus is on deaf learners, research suggests that other students with literacy and language difficulties also benefit from subtitling and visual materials. These include dyslexic students and those with EAL. This research proposes a radical change in the way that subtitling is usually conceived. It brings new meaning to the concept of interpretation and access.
These research findings will provide a much needed evidence base for existing guidelines. In doing so they will extend the remit of the project to the wider group of deaf users, including those who are older, who are increasingly likely to be using the web enabling them to access more challenging and thought provoking material. It will have relevance for further education providers and for community organisations (including museums, galleries) whose brief includes communicating complex ideas to all users.