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In Practice | Resources

The University prides itself on fostering a welcoming milieu for all students and staff, where the diversity of our community is seen as one of its major strengths. As an academic staff member, you are at the core of creating an inclusive environment in the classroom, where all students feel valued and respected.

Being aware of the support services available to students( (e.g. the Disability and Dyslexia Support Service; assistive software support available through CICS or the Library;r accessible assessment options, allows you to direct your students to key information sources.

In exploring a more holistic approach to inclusivity, the University’s Inclusive Learning and Teaching Project worked from the premise that inclusive Learning and Teaching is a way of:

  • creating and presenting opportunities for learning accessible to all students
  • making what we teach and the way we teach it more flexible
  • taking different learning styles into consideration
  • using course content to teach about diversity issues

Image from Inclusive Learning and Teaching handbookApplicable to all disciplines and not just for under-represented groups, the Inclusive Learning and Teaching Project provides a range of hints and tips, case studies and an essential handbook to give you guidance in creating a more inclusive environment for all your students.

The Inclusive Learning and Teaching Handbook offers a series of simple steps for effective interaction with students, including producing accessible handouts; introducing critical thinking to students; understanding individual needs; accessible assessment matters; and language in lectures.

Worth considering
“Smile! It makes it easier for us to approach you and explain how our disability might affect the way we learn. Please don’t make assumptions. Two students with dyslexia might have different needs.” Rajiv. The Inclusive Learning and Teaching Handbook, 2010.

Hints and Tips

Following is a summary of the central themes and principles that underpin the hints and tips section of the Inclusive Learning and Teaching Handbook.

  • Handouts, presentations, and assessments shouldn’t just be written or expressed clearly, they should be organised clearly. This means using readable fonts, uncluttered text, accessible colours and clear diagrams and images.
  • Students respond positively to personal engagement. Get to know them and make yourself available to them. Make students aware that you know who they are.
  • Explain the processes and structures of assessment and feedback. Don’t simply assume that a student knows what a 2:1 means.
  • Digital and web technologies offer a wealth of new potentials in learning and teaching. If you are lacking confidence in these areas, there exist mechanisms of support throughout the University that can help to get you started.
  • Reflect on your teaching practice and strategies. How inclusive is your teaching? What knowledge and experience do you expect from your students?

The Inclusive Learning and Teaching Handbook, p.31.

Thinkglobal: Internationalising the student learning experience

Promoting the international dimension and preparing the Sheffield graduate for life in a globalised world. A five-minute video capturing comments and thoughts from students and staff at the University.


Example: Supporting the Transition of Level 1 students into university life

The Department of Physics and Astronomy undertook a review of its curriculum in an attempt to understand the decreased Physics knowledge-base of new undergraduates. In an effort to better support their students in the transition from school or college to higher education, the Department has conducted focus groups and made changes to departmental practice, including more formative assessment. For more information, see Inclusive Learning and Teaching Handbook.


Following are some resources to help you build inclusivity into your teaching and to direct students to additional sources of support if required.

Bullet Disability and Dyslexia Support Service

This service provides information on facilities and services available to disabled students and students with Specific Learning Difficulties.

Bullet Student Services

Student Services offers a range of services supporting the whole student journey.

Bullet Corporate Information and Computer Services (CICS)

CICS aims to make all its services accessible. The CICS website offers a list of key sources of support.

Bullet University Library

The Library’s Additional Support Service can offer advice and help to access Library resources.

Bullet Inclusive Learning and Teaching Handbook.

(2010). Elena Rodriguez-Falcon, Marie Evans, Claire Allam, John Barrett, Dave Forrest, University of Sheffield.

Bullet Compass

This website designed for students in the Department for Lifelong Learning (DLL) provides a directory of University services, video interviews with DLL students and more. It includes support for mature, part-time students.

Bullet Sweet! An A1-inspired, modified, 'pick&mix' benchmarking process for disability inclusivity (Click on Session 12 to download presentation and supporting documents)

Presentation by Professor Paul Latreille (Management School) and Chris Hall (Swansea University) at the Learning and Teaching Conference, 2013.

Purple Line

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See also:

Thinkglobal: internationalising the student learning experience
The Thinkglobal project’s resource list has relevance to all students, both international and home.

Guidelines for accessible assessment