Teaching & Learning

Inclusive Practices

Inclusive practice is good practice for all students

The University of Tasmania expects that we all adopt an inclusive approach to teaching. This means:

  • recognising, accommodating and meeting the learning needs of all our students
  • acknowledging that our students have a range of individual learning needs and are members of diverse communities
  • avoiding stereotyping students as belonging to specific groups with predictable and fixed approaches to learning

To help you to understand and practice inclusiveness in your teaching, you can follow the Inclusive Practice in 5 'be' statements.

1. Be Approachable

  • Introduce yourself to students in a way that connects them to you and your choice to be a lecturer/staff member in this field
  • At the first lecture and/or early on in MyLO, introduce your practice and expectations as well as your unit
  • Reduce the barriers between you and your students to develop rapport
  • Don't underestimate the power of 'just listening'

2. Be Proactive

  • Communicate with students with disability early (and directly) where possible
  • Provide unit outlines early so they can be accessed by students before semester starts. This may assist students make informed choices when they are unsure if  they will be able to meet any inherent requirements. This also allows students to determine where they may need assistive strategies put into place
  • Be aware of the support services that are available in your university and how they may be accessed
  • Provide an orientation to laboratory/workshop/tutorials/technology before students begin to help reduce anxiety
  • Think creatively about alternatives and solutions that might complement all students, not just those with disability

3. Be Flexible

  • Consider, and provide, alternatives to the 'common' assessment and delivery methods within your course (ensuring they meet the learning outcomes)
  • Be open to ideas that are proposed by students themselves who may have challenges in addressing assessment criteria because of their conditions

4. Be Planned

  • Have your unit materials developed ahead of semester so students who require extra time to complete the readings can access them early
  • Ensure your unit materials are provided in electronic  formats appropriate for assistive technology (for example screen readers)
  • Consider the individual needs of students when assigning students to groups
  • Ensure you follow correct 'teaching and learning' policies about clearly articulating assessment activities/learning objectives/inherent requirements in all course materials

5. Be Human

  • It's ok to acknowledge your limitations as a 'human being'
  • Making even the smallest of steps to becoming more inclusive, or towards helping just one student is very worthwhile

Recommended  viewing

This video provides some insight into one of the reasons that adopting inclusive practices is important.

Recommended learning

This is the banner for the UDL in Tertiary Education program.

The Universal Design for Learning in Tertiary Education e-Learning program has been developed by the National Disability Coordination Officer (NDCO) Program and the Australian Disability Clearinghouse on Education and Training (ADCET).

The program focuses on the principles and practices of Universal Design for Learning in tertiary settings, and aims to increase your understanding of designing, developing and implementing UDL within your teaching practice.

Recommended resources

These resources have been developed to support you to adopt and strengthen your inclusive practices.

The Australian Disability Clearinghouse on Education and Training (ADCET) website provides up-to-date and comprehensive information about inclusive teaching, learning and assessment strategies.

In the ADCET Webinar: Designing Online Education that Works for All Students - A 7-Step UDL Approach Laura Alfrey and Erin Leif (both from Monash University) describe a seven step UDL approach for designing inclusive and accessible online instruction that meets the needs of diverse learners, including students with disability.

The CAST website contains research, information and resources about teaching for everyone using a universal design for learning approach.

CATS booklet: Hearing Impairment - Strategies to support students with a hearing impairment, within a framework of inclusive teaching for all students.

CATS booklet: Mental Health Conditions - Strategies focussed on supporting the needs of students with mental health conditions, within a framework of inclusive teaching for all students.

CATS booklet: Vision Impairment - Strategies to support students with a vision impairment, within a framework of inclusive teaching for all students.

The UTAS Designing Accessible Learning Content page explains what accessibility is and why it matters to teaching staff at the University. It then presents a few of the key accessibility guidelines to remember, why they are important, and some practical examples of how to apply them when designing content.

The Universal Design for Learning website introduces, explains and provides example of universal design for learning.

The UTAS First Year and Transition Framework presents the features of a successful first year experience.