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Inclusive and accessible learning experiences at ANU

4 October, 2023

Kim Neville

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Lunch Vox #8

What can we do individually and as an institution to ensure successful experiences for students and staff with disability?

The ANU Learning and Teaching strategy has made a clear commitment to creating inclusive and accessible teaching and learning, and in doing so our strategy contains specific actions to improve accessibility. To further this work, Pro Vice Chancellor (Digital and Education) Maryanne Dever hosted a panel at our most recent Lunch Vox to focus on lived experience of study and work with disability at university.

A key note address from Santiago Valesquez provided key insights of the day-to-day decisions, considerations and impacts of studying an Engineering degree with sight impairment. His personal stories provided important insights on what challenges and opportunities there can be day-to-day, navigating a classroom set up for example, and how to work together to enable an accessible experience. The panel was joined by ANU staff and students, Senior Lecturer in Law Cameron Roles and student Tabitha Woo, who provided tips and stories to illustrate ways we can implement change in our work and at ANU.

Steph Evans welcomes the attendees and delivers a beautiful acknowledgement of country and the panel introduce themselves.

Keynote speaker, Santiago Velasquez (opens LinkedIn), shares his personal experiences completing an Electrical Engineering degree in a Queensland University. Santiago provides insights into his journey including some of the accessibility challenges he has encountered and some of the positive experiences working with the university to improve his study success.

Professor Maryanne Dever hosts an insightful and engaging Q&A discussion on a wide range of accessibility issues, and kicks off with a great question, “… there are probably some misapprehensions out there (about accessibility) that you encounter regularly, so are there some things that it might be helpful for us to unlearn?”

Santiago reminds us that students with disability are there to give it 110%, ANU student Tabitha Woo dispels the misapprehension that her enrolment is due to her disability, and offsetting the view that she is less able to study hard can be insulting and dismisses the hard work it took to get there. While Senior Lecturer Cameron Roles reminds us that technology is an incredible enabler and there are so many easy to use tools that can make huge improvements.

Digital accessibility at ANU

Digital Accessibility is a recently established practice to identify and address barriers that people with disability are experiencing at ANU to their digital engagement for study and work. In Learning and Teaching our efforts have been to discover digital barriers at ANU and to collaborate with stakeholders to prioritise work with ANU stakeholders, including students and staff who study and work with disability.

Published resources

There are useful resources available at the ANU and through the Centre for Learning and Teaching:


You are invited to connect with the panellists for further discussion or to explore the possibility to collaborate:

Santiago Valesaquez (opens LinkedIn), or contact Santiago by email
Kim Neville, Digital Accessibility Practice Lead
Bruna Contro Pretero, Digital Accessibility Specialist
ANU Centre for Learning and Teaching

Kim Neville, Digital Accessibility Practice lead.

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