SCAN had the pleasure of interviewing Molly Lawson, the Students with Disabilities Officer, regarding her current campaign- Improve Your Learning. This campaign is ongoing and may continue beyond this term and even this academic year.
Molly summarised the campaign by saying that ‘the aim is to basically improve accessibility to education’ and they have a team of around twenty active members working on it. The goals of the campaign are ensuring ‘captioning, an adequate time before seminars, lecture recordings to continue, accessible power points in lectures, and the slides being put up before a lecture’. All of these goals seem extremely reasonable and attainable. The university currently says that they are doing these things, but the campaign has thought of a way to measure the university’s current levels of accessibility.
They have ‘released a survey to get data on all these things and how much is happening and how much is not happening’. Molly was pleased to say that there have been ‘over 500 responses which is absolutely wonderful’. These responses will help the team to create a report which they will show the university concerning issues like captioning to tell them that ‘it’s not happening to everyone and not everyone is getting the things that are policy and that we want more things than are in the policy’.
Molly explained how the survey worked, as it was dependent on if you had an individual learning support plan or not. The questions if you did have a plan involved the degree to which accessibility was being ensured by your department. If you did not have a plan Molly said that the questions revolved around ‘how often captions get put up, how often do you get lecture recordings, and would you like lecture recordings’. Molly was keen to emphasise that there were many open text boxes to ensure that ‘people could say their different opinions’.
When asked if she thought that the campaign will have a large impact, Molly said that she hoped so- ‘you can see a proper impact with reports like this with the ’Why Is My Curriculum White’ report’. If the university claims that it is providing accessibility and the campaign can say ‘well 10% of the time you are’ then it can have a big impact. Molly thinks that there is no reason for the campaign to stop after this term or even after the report finishes. Even though she will not be here next year ‘a lot of people from the campaign group are’. Molly said that ‘there are more and more things to improve’ and she would love to see this go on in the future.
Improve Your Learning is an ongoing campaign so if this article has interested you and you want to get involved then there are two pages (on Facebook and Instagram) that you can join called @luimproveyourlearning. From these pages, you can join the Teams group and get involved with meetings!