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This publication will be a helpful, collaborative resource to all teaching staff at and beyond TUS. It may also generate further ideas for improving practice and enhancing student engagement. This first compendium has led to further publications where ‘pedagogical communities of practice’ continue to share our knowledge.

The OER Recommendation aims to assist Member States to support the development and sharing of openly licensed learning and teaching materials, benefiting students, teachers, and researchers worldwide. It supports the creation, use and adaptation of inclusive and quality OER, and facilitates international cooperation in this field through five Action Areas, namely (i) building the capacity of stakeholders to create, access, re-use, adapt and redistribute OER; (ii) developing supportive policy; (iii) encouraging inclusive and equitable quality OER; (iv) nurturing the creation of sustainability models for OER, and (v) facilitating international cooperation.

The OER Recommendation aims to assist Member States to support the development and sharing of openly licensed learning and teaching materials, benefiting students, teachers, and researchers worldwide. It supports the creation, use and adaptation of inclusive and quality OER, and facilitates international cooperation in this field through five Action Areas, namely (i) building the capacity of stakeholders to create, access, re-use, adapt and redistribute OER; (ii) developing supportive policy; (iii) encouraging inclusive and equitable quality OER; (iv) nurturing the creation of sustainability models for OER, and (v) facilitating international cooperation.

These guides have been prepared by UNESCO, as part of its programme of the support to governments and educational institutions in the implementation of the UNESCO OER Recommendation. They draw heavily on the in-depth background papers prepared by OER experts from around the world in each of the five Action Areas: Prof. Melinda dP. Bandalaria (building the capacity of stakeholders to create, access, re-use, adapt and redistribute OER); Dr Javiera Atenas (developing supportive policy); Dr Ahmed Tlili (encouraging inclusive and equitable quality OER); Dr Tel Amiel (nurturing the creation of sustainability models for OER), and Ms Lisbeth Levey (facilitating international cooperation). We are deeply grateful for their assistance and expert knowledge. Preparation of the text of the final guides was done with support from Neil Butcher and Alison Zimmermann of OER Africa.

The learner population in tertiary education is becoming increasingly diverse, and students’ lives are also increasingly complex. The responsibility on educational institutions to provide equitable access for all is now strongly embedded in Irish legislation, and national tertiary education strategies contain more specific goals to implement a Universal Design approach, (SOLAS, 2020; Higher Education Authority, 2022).

The aim is to move towards a system where ‘Inclusion is Everyone’s Business’, where all staff play their part in delivering an inclusive educational experience.

Universal Design, or UD for short, offers us an evidence-based approach to engender this mindset, and is increasingly seen as a central tenet of our response to rising diversity, (Centre for Excellence in Universal Design, 2022). But how can we embed a UD approach in our institutions?

That’s where ALTITUDE – the National Charter for Universal Design in Tertiary Education – comes in to play.

Funded by the HEA under PATH 4, the ALTITUDE Project is an extensive cross sectoral collaboration involving six national agencies, fifteen higher education (HE) institutions and six Education and Training Board (ETB) representatives, nominated by Directors of FET to represent the Further Education and Training sector.

The vision of the project looks to a future in tertiary education where ‘all learners are transformatively included through universal design in education’, deriving the name ALTITUDE. It seeks to move us in that direction by supporting HEIs and ETBs to make sustainable progress towards systemically embedding a UD approach…. – one which places human diversity at the heart of tertiary education design, and fosters student success for all learners.

The ALTITUDE Charter, and the associated toolkit and technical report, build on significant existing work on UD in the Irish tertiary education landscape (Kelly & Padden, 2018), and through these outputs, provides a clear roadmap for institutions to make progress.

Drawing from national and international literature, the Charter recommends key strategic enablers, which institutions should put in place over time to support the sustainable implementation of UD, and proposes collaborative action to work towards goals under 4 key pillars of our institutions:

– Learning, Teaching & Assessment;
– Supports, Services & Social Engagement;
– the Physical Environment;
– and the Digital Environment

This practitioner guide is designed to offer an overall framework for successfully developing and facilitating group work processes. It guides the novice practitioner through each stage of the process. It signposts associated challenges and provides suggestions for helpful responses.