People with disabilities will find it easier to study university courses thanks to a practical new service developed by a team of higher education accessibility specialists. It is also designed to help universities meet their obligations in ensuring all students can access their resources.

The Global Access Project (GAP) is the work of the Sydney-based Higher Education Consulting Group, which will launch the service on Global Accessibility Awareness Day, May 15 2014.

David Wright, managing director of HECG, said GAP was a one-stop accessibility shop offering practical support for universities and other providers. It brought together leading international specialists to help the sector give disabled students a complete learning experience.

“We are excited by this project because students with disabilities will be provided with equity of access to education. It will also help universities to meet their legal compliance obligations,” Mr Wright said.

GAP’s chief executive Sharon Kerr said the type of help offered would depend on the access needs of the individual university.

“GAP is equipped to audit online units, courses and curriculum for accessibility and will customise services to meet the needs of individual universities and students,” she said.

GAP’s practical support to the sector include:

  • prompt aid for individual students with access needs
  • developing and driving disability action plans
  • identifying specific course requirements
  • accessibility audits of websites and online courses, including Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCS)
  • risk management assessments and compliance programs, and
  • professional development support.

Summing up the driving force behind GAP, Kerr said that with the advent of assistive technologies and accessibility standards, the world was opening up to disabled people.

“We now have leading academics and thought leaders who are no longer handicapped due to disability.”

“This is why adopting accessibility standards is so important – if we fail to observe these we become the disablers.”

For follow up interviews and more information:

David Wright, 0400 006 888
Kylie Colvin, 0403 302 710