27 April 2017
Starting early in 2016, Carla Briffett-Aktas and Manish Malik, both part-time PhD researchers studying away from the university, joined a network of Lancaster University students working on a wide variety of digital projects designed to enhance the student learning experience.

The rationale behind the two projects was the need to ensure that Lancaster University’s Moodle sites are as accessible and usable as possible for our students who use a wide range of web-enabled devices and software on and off campus.  Access may be influenced by issues such as low broadband speed; students with disabilities may rely on assistive technology such as screen readers.  The high quality of Carla and Manish’s work was pivotal to the success of the projects which are contributing to the ongoing digital accessibility agendas of the Educational Research Department and the university.

Working with the projects’ co-supervisors Sue Cranmer, Ann-Marie Houghton and Rebecca Marsden, Carla devised a student survey which reviewed patterns of current Moodle usage and sought suggestions for improvements.  The results are summarised in this blog post.  Carla reported initial findings at an OED (Organisation and Educational Development) organised event on June 7th 2016.  This was attended by about 50+ academic staff including several colleagues from LU Ghana.

Manish Malik reviewed and distilled advice about digital accessibility from a wide range of sources and an end-of-project summary gives further details.  The advice and suggestions for further reading are contained on Lancaster University’s Digital Teaching and Learning hub web pages.  Manish also shared recommendations for effecting change at a Sharing Practice event for LU staff on March 10th 2017.

With the exception of one face-to-face meeting with Manish, all other aspects of research and communication were facilitated using video conference software which was also the medium used when Manish and Carla presented their findings at Sharing Practice events.