Who got that job?

March 16, 2007

Simon Ball, TechDis senior adviser, Joint Information Systems Committee TechDis Service, The Higher Education Academy

Job advertised in The Times Higher , July 21, 2006

With the introduction of the Disability and Discrimination Awareness Act in the UK, many people tend to think that "accessibility" mainly means incorporating wheelchair-friendly toilets near lecture rooms and dropping the kerb heights around the campus.

But for Simon Ball, a senior adviser for TechDis, this perspective is far too limited. "Our role is to enable people to be creative with technology so that education is as accessible to as many people as possible," he said.

TechDis, which is based in York at the Higher Education Academy, is one of six advisory services to Jisc. It provides practical advice, policy recommendations and research into the use of technology within the higher education environment.

"I find that most people are positive about learning to use everyday technology in a new way and are prepared to listen to what we say," Dr Ball said.

"Much of our advice about accessibility and technology is also simply about good teaching practice: for example, always face your audience when talking. Your lecture is much more engaging and you help students who are lip-reading, since they can't understand anything when you are facing the whiteboard."

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