The advantage of digital data is its flexibility, which ensures it can be available in multiple formats and customised to suit individual preference. This makes it a powerful tool for establishing equity of access to digital landscapes in particular for users of assistive technology. The expression ‘Digital Divide’ originally referred to access to technology and, while this remains relevant, it now also refers to the quality of that access. Possession of the hardware alone cannot guarantee equity of participation. For users of assistive technologies in particular, all the prerequisites for access can be in place but if the digital data has not been designed with the needs of their technology in mind, then their access will continue to be denied. To work effectively within digital landscapes, and transform the curriculum for the needs for future learners both on and off campus, requires an understanding of inclusive digital practice so as to minimise barriers to access. These requirements should be neither under-estimated nor their presence assumed. As the use of digital landscapes for educational purposes increases, care must be taken not to widen the divide between inclusive and exclusive digital practice. This paper suggests that priority should be given to ensuring accessible digital content within higher education and that this requires individual responsibility supported by a whole institution approach; both of which must recognise the value of digital inclusion.
|Keywords:||Digital Inclusion, Digital Exclusion, Higher Education, Virtual Learning Environment, eLearning|
Learning and Teaching Coordinator, Centre for Educational Research and Development, University of Lincoln, Lincoln, Lincolnshire, UK
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