CQUniversity recognised in the annual ADCET 2023 Accessibility in Action Awards

17 May 2023
Decorative promotional artwork for the ADCET awards 2023. Artwork is dark blue with Award Winner 2023 written across it.

CQUniversity’s Learning Design and Innovative (LDI) Directorate has been recognised by the Australian Disability Clearinghouse on Education and Training (ADCET) as a winner in its annual Accessibility in Action Awards.

The awards celebrate individuals, project teams and initiatives across the tertiary education sector that have made significant contributions to advancing accessibility and promoting inclusive practices in education and training.

The LDI Directorate’s Educational Design team was recognised as a project team winner in the Teaching and Learning category for their CQU Renew Accessible Moodle Template project.

The award highlights the exceptional work that CQU has achieved in furthering accessibility, diversity and inclusion for students. It also recognises the growing capacity the workforce has for developing innovative ideas and practical solutions to support disability inclusion.

Led by team manager Nadine Adams, the winning team consisted of learning designers Zoe Allen, Faith Appleton, Marie Foreman, Rob Hoyland, Nicholas Lawler, Paul Oliveri, Rikki Scott, Monique White, Sean White and Justin Wylie.

CQUniversity LDI Director Professor Kate Ames said the award was a testament to CQUniversity's commitment to providing equitable access to tertiary education for all students.

“Continuously improving and expanding our online learning platform (LMS) is an essential part of achieving this objective,” she said.

“Prior to the commencement of the CQU Renew Accessible Moodle Template project, our LMS had no standard structure and required students to learn to navigate each site for every subject they studied, increasing their cognitive burden.

“As all of our learning materials and assessment submissions are accessed through this platform, our previous layout and design could have disproportionately affected the learning experience of our students, especially those from disadvantaged groups.”

Drawing on evidence-based Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles and strategies, as well as Web Content Accessibility (WCAG) guidelines, LDI developed an accessible template for the LMS that would provide a consistent and accessible learning experience for all students, regardless of their background or abilities.

“We recognised the need to address the consistency issues with the layout and design of our online learning platform," Prof Ames said.

“Our new educational neuroscience-based instructional design resulted in a template with consistent headings covering weekly study plan and objectives, learning material, learning activities, lecture material, tutorial material, additional resources and milestones/summary.”

The LDI team was celebrated by a virtual event held by ADCET on May 16, bringing together industry leaders, experts, and advocates to acknowledge and honour the winners and their significant contributions.

This year, the ADCET Accessibility in Action Awards received an overwhelming response, highlighting the growing commitment and dedication to fostering accessibility in the tertiary education sector. The winners were chosen by a panel of judges with expertise in accessibility and inclusive learning, design and student support.

There were five outstanding individuals who were recognised for their exceptional efforts in championing accessibility and 14 project teams who showcased their collaborative efforts. There were also four teams who were awarded a Highly Commended certificate for their efforts towards accessibility and inclusion.

“Everyone has demonstrated outstanding innovation, dedication and impact through their initiatives and awards like this allow this work to be shared across the sector,” Manager of ADCET, Darlene McLennan said.

"We are delighted to recognise the achievements of the winners of the 2023 ADCET Accessibility in Action Awards and we hope to invite them to share their good practice and innovation in future webinars and other activities through ADCET.”

You can see the full list of national and international winners at https://www.adcet.edu.au/resource/11363/adcet-recognises-exceptional-achievements-in-the-2023-accessibility-in-action-awards