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SCAN had the pleasure of interviewing Chloe Adshead, representing the Improve Your Learning Campaign, regarding the recent general accessibility survey. The survey was primarily looking at ‘Inclusive Learning Support Plans’ (ILSP’s). Chloe highlighted that even though Lancaster had ‘these plans in place, there’s a lot of people who don’t get those plans fulfilled’. The survey wasn’t just for those students with ILSP’s though and included ‘general accessibility’ questions too as accessibility measures impact all students from having lectures recorded to being able to access seminar resources a week before.
There was an overwhelmingly positive response to the survey which received ‘573 responses’ across ‘all departments and year groups’. Chloe explained that the survey had exposed some shocking findings from the fact that almost ‘half of people didn’t know how to report accessibility issues’ to ‘most people even if they knew felt uncomfortable doing so’. Students have to know how to report these issues and they need to be made to feel comfortable in reporting them.
The survey also showed that in many department’s lectures are not being recorded, seminar resources are not available a week before and captioning was done sporadically. All the Improve Your Learning Campaign wants to do is draw attention to the fact that these policies are not being fulfilled consistently. They are calling ‘for a general review for the ILSP system’ because ‘its not a case of the university not doing enough, its got the intention… the policies just aren’t being consistently fulfilled’. Chloe suggested that one big step would just be ‘better guidelines for lecturers because some people aren’t even aware they’re meant to follow these plans’.
Chloe was quick to point out the fact that ‘lectures are now being recorded for all subjects but that proves they could have been doing it the whole time’. Accessibility measures help all students and the Improve Your Learning Campaign is just asking that the policies are fulfilled. Chloe hopes that the report produced form the survey will get ‘people talking about it’ because they ‘know people care’ based off the number of responses. Chloe thought it would be fantastic to get ‘it in writing’ that the university was going to focus on fully upholding the policies and making sure that university learning is accessible to all.
The Improve Your Learning Campaign is still ongoing and is constantly working towards improving the learning experience for all students, they have a Facebook page to follow and the report from the survey is out now for all to read! The more people that raise awareness about this issue the more likely it is that the university will take action. It is the perfect time to make guidelines during this lockdown to sort out these accessibility issues so that when students return the experience is better than ever before.