UOC supports people with disabilities and specific needs

Person with wheelchair
02/12/21

More information on this and other services at More UOC / Disability services.

As 3 December is International Day of Persons with Disabilities, we wanted to highlight how our university does its utmost to ensure that everyone can benefit from lifelong learning and the work we do to make it easier for people with disabilities to access our courses.

Among the services offered to students with disabilities, we'd highlight the agreement we have with the ONCE Foundation (the Spanish National Organization of the Blind), which allows us to adapt our learning resources into braille. This is just one of the diversity and inclusion measures we've adopted.

The UOC and people with disabilities

Our model is based on personalization and support to meet the needs of all of our students.

 

According to the Universia Foundation's latest Guía de atención a las Personas con discapacidad en la universidad (Support guide for people with disabilities at universities), in the academic year 2019/2020, half of all disabled students at Catalan universities (1,722) were studying at the UOC. In terms of Spain as a whole, the UOC was second only to the UNED (the Spanish National University of Distance Education) in the number of disabled students. 

Adaptations

At the beginning of the semester, all students who need to can ask for adaptation options. These include adapting their work pace whenever possible, replacing oral components with adapted written ones in language courses, and providing accessible learning resources. If required, final assessment tests can also be adapted.

This year, the UOC has almost 2,000 students with a certified disability of 33% or more.

Agreement with the ONCE Foundation

The UOC has had an agreement with the ONCE for the last ten years that helps us adapt our learning to all educational needs. This collaboration allows students affiliated with the foundation to be issued with the braille transcription of the learning resources by submitting a request three to four months in advance. The agreement was recently extended for another two years.

How are the contents adapted to Braille?

 When the foundation receives a request from a student, it uses the Ebrai editor to generate a file to produce a version of the content printed in braille.

Person reading a braille book 

The UOC's learning resources

Many of the learning resources that you find in the classrooms, whether they are in text or audiovisual form, are made at the UOC. The University acts as a sort of publishing house or audiovisual production company.

In total, about 36,000 educational materials of this type are used in the courses. The experts commissioned to produce them endeavour to comply with the UOC's accessibility guidelines to ensure that all students can use the materials, regardless of their situation:

  • All of the text resources are offered in different formats so that the students can decide which best meets their needs. Audiobooks in DAISY format, for example, make it possible to work with audio content, whilst text in PDF can be read by the tools used by blind people.
  • Videos, podcasts and animations have subtitles and the transcription can be downloaded in PDF.

  • If a learning resource isn't accessible, the UOC offers alternative material or commissions new resources to be made.

If for some reason, a student finds obstacles when trying to consult a course's materials, they can ask for adaptations. The resources must meet the Double-A (AA) standards in accordance with European and Spanish legislation.

A library guide about inclusive online learning

Educational diversity is a wide-ranging concept that brings to light the specific circumstances of different students, including those with disabilities. The Library team has created a new library guide with a selection of resources on attention to diversity in the classroom to favour open educational environments that are free of learning barriers.

The University's teaching staff and students can find good practices, articles and webinars to make headway on inclusive and equal education and to adequately meet the needs of all students to maximize their capabilities. The resources selected place a special focus on online educational environments.

How to create an inclusive virtual learning environment

The expert in diversity management and inclusion in the world of education, Alexandra Sedlovskaya, offers the keys to creating an inclusive and enriching learning environment in the classroom.

 

The library guide was produced to complement the How to create an inclusive virtual learning environment webinar by Alexandra Sedlovskaya, an expert on diversity and inclusivity management in education. The Faculty of Economics and Business and the Globalization and Cooperation department jointly organized the event, as part of the European e-Inclusion project, to strengthen the UOC's commitment to improving inclusion and management of diversity in the classrooms.