Enhancing the Engagement of Disabled Students with Disability Support Services: A Digital Story Approach
Initiatives that recognise diversity within the student population and understand the range of learner variation have been found to help institutions to better recognise and reduce barriers to learning for disabled people. This paper describes the development of a ‘digital story’ designed to inform all students about the disability support services offered by the University of Hertfordshire. The development and utilisation of a digital story to inform students about disability related issues and services was also designed to foster a more informed and tolerant learning community. The findings of the pilot evaluation study have highlighted the digital story to have increased student understandings of what is recognised as a disability. It was also found to have increased the likelihood of them approaching their disabled student’s coordinator. However, it is notable that a majority of students expressed a desire for an in person talk on disability services. It is concluded that although technology is not necessarily a replacement for the ‘personal touch’, new methods should be found to increase the personal feel of the digital story. It is suggested that the final evaluation questionnaire is modified to capture information about why students want an in person talk and how this can best be achieved in a digital format when personal engagement may not be possible.