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DMU's sector-leading support for students wins high praise

De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) has received Government praise for the support it offers students, including for a new system which gives access to recorded audio and visual content from staff led lectures and classes.

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DMU Replay was introduced in October 2016 and has proved to be an overwhelming success, with students viewing uploaded content more than 227,295 times since its launch.

Now the Department for Education (DfE) and the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) have both praised DMU’s approach, with the Government inviting the university to advise other institutions on how to implement similar changes.

The initiative has also been named runner-up in the prestigious Guardian University Awards 2017 in the category Student Diversity and Widening Participation.

DMU Replay provides easily accessible content from academic sessions available to students DMU aims to provide a revision resource for  all students as well as support those with different learning needs and styles. These can range from international students for whom English is not a first language, to students with a specific learning difference or disability.

DMU Replay means that students can revise taught material in the way which suits them best, whether it’s replaying a recording of a class or adapting written material shared in class using specialist software. This can be helpful for many different students including those with various learning challenges such as dyslexia.

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In light of the positive responses, the university has committed to roll out DMU Replay to all students from September 2017, which is two years in advance of the original planned date.

DMU Replay is part of a wider initiative called Universal Design for Learning (UDL) at DMU, which provides all students with a variety of ways of engaging with their learning and teaching experience and ensuring that lecturers account for the different learning styles of individual students wherever possible.

The university’s approach to UDL, and the work it has done on DMU’s wider Disability Enhancement Programme (DEP), has received high praise from the Department for Education.

Georgina Watts, Team Leader – Disabled Students’ Allowance at the Department for Education,said: “I was impressed with the proactive approach DMU is taking in response to the Disability Support Act (DSA) changes and the embedding of inclusive practice. As a result, the Department has invited the university to be involved in developing approaches to engage the sector in implementing similar changes”.

The university has also been approached by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) to be one of the case studies in a review of models of support for disabled students.  The review will be conducted for HEFCE by the Institute for Employment Studies.

Higher Education Policy Advisor at HEFCE, Grace Simpson, said: “It has been great to hear about all the work that DMU has done to embed inclusivity across teaching and learning practices. The UDL approach has clearly been far-reaching and will have a positive impact for a wide range of students studying at the university.”

Deputy Vice-Chancellor of DMU, Andy Collop, said: “DMU is leading the higher education sector with Universal Design for Learning; several other universities have already been in contact with us. They are very eager to learn from our success, especially with the launch of DMU Replay.

 “We aim for the student learning experience at DMU to be at least on a par with the best in the higher education sector, and we are delighted that DMU Replay has received such a positive response from our students.”

Keira Rounsley, outgoing Vice-President Welfare and Community at De Montfort Students’ Union, added: “The great thing about Universal Design for Learning, is it’s not just fantastic for those students with a disability, but for all students.

“It makes learning not only more inclusive, but more fun! I’m very proud to be from a university that is really proactive in making sure the student experience is the best it can be.”

Staff can still access support from Learning and Organisational Development on UDL and the use of DMU Replay.

Online staff help guides can be accessed here

Face-to-face staff development sessions can be booked here

Posted on Wednesday 5th April 2017

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