Development and enhancement of inclusion services at higher education level
Document typeConference report
PublisherInternational Association of Technology, Education and Development (IATED)
Rights accessOpen Access
Everyone is unique in their own way and it is necessary to embrace this diversity and make positive use of it. At all levels of education, differences between students can provide a good learning opportunity since every student will have different skills and ways of approaching the same problem. Therefore, universities need to offer education services that are conducive to learning, suitable and inclusive for each student. This will not only improve the education process of students with special needs but also lead to an improved service to all the involved stakeholders, such as professors and administrative personnel. Moreover, this can create a learning environment that favours the development of values such as respect and tolerance of diversity. Grounded in this philosophy of inclusive education, the government Board of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) approved in 2016 its first Inclusion Plan for the period 2017-2020. More recently, the Government Board of the UPC prompted the creation of an ad-hoc Task Group (TG) to analyse and improve the existing inclusion services and/or design new ones using service design methodology. The TG was made up of volunteers from the UPC community, consisting of 10 students, 10 academic staff, and 10 administrative staff. They were assisted and guided by professional experts in service design. This paper reports the activities and results of the TG. The main focus of the TG was the planning, design, and development of inclusion services in higher education. These services aim at supporting the inclusion of students with physical disabilities, learning disabilities as well as any other special education needs (D/SN). The TG conducted a systematic process, based on service design methodology, which consisted of four broad phases. In the first phase, the TG carried out research into the experience, values, and practices of all the groups involved. This research was qualitative and based on several unstructured interviews of students, professors, faculty directors, students’ advisors, and administrative staff. A total of 14 students with special needs, 17 academic staff, and 13 administrative staff were interviewed. In the second phase, the interviews were analysed through four different models: user journey, stakeholders map, gaps map, and service plan. Such models are useful in order to identify and classify the possible opportunities for improvement. Furthermore, these models were presented and validated in a public meeting that was open to the whole UPC community, with a total of around 60 attendees. In the third phase, the most interesting and significant opportunities for improvement were chosen and prototypes for them were developed. The five projects that were selected for prototyping belong to the following areas: 1) information about inclusion services given to students when they enrol; 2) adaptation of examination procedures; 3) training of lecturers to assist students with disabilities or special needs; 4) information system with individualised data for students with disabilities or special needs; and 5) general academic regulations about inclusion. The last phase is iterative and involves modifying the prototypes until the service is optimum. The outcomes of this process are expected to be implemented at UPC during the 2019-20 academic year.
CitationJosa, I. [et al.]. Development and enhancement of inclusion services at higher education level. A: International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies. "EDULEARN19: proceedings: 11th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies: Palma, Spain, 1-3 July, 2019". International Association of Technology, Education and Development (IATED), 2019, p. 5400-5412.
- Departament d'Estadística i Investigació Operativa - Ponències/Comunicacions de congressos 
- Departament de Matemàtiques - Ponències/Comunicacions de congressos 
- Departament d'Enginyeria de Serveis i Sistemes d'Informació - Ponències/Comunicacions de congressos 
- GEOMVAP - Geometria de Varietats i Aplicacions - Ponències/Comunicacions de congressos