MODULE 2: Inclusion in HE


Welcome to the Inclusion in Higher Education Module!

Fostering an environment of inclusion requires fostering a mindset of warmth and understanding towards all individuals who are engaged in the learning process. Inclusion means being devoted to ensuring that each learner's experience is a positive one, where they feel heard, valued, and respected.

As a student in today's world, you are faced with more than just acquiring knowledge. It means you have the opportunity to understand and embrace diversity as a powerful force that fuels progress and promotes understanding. We understand that your role as a university student is not only to learn but also to shape the world of tomorrow. That's why this module aims to introduce you to the essential concepts of inclusive higher education and how they can benefit your academic and professional growth. Moreover, we want to show you how being an inclusive global citizen can improve your social and personal skills, and help you become a responsible member of society. In short, we are here to equip you with the tools and knowledge to navigate a diverse world and contribute to a brighter future.

Imagine a university that truly values and celebrates diversity, where every voice, perspective, and background is welcomed and appreciated. This inclusive higher education is about tearing down barriers and building bridges, fostering empathy, and understanding, and preparing students to succeed in a multicultural and ever-changing world. During your academic journey, you'll discover the key pillars supporting inclusive education, such as embracing and honouring differences, designing curricula reflecting diversity, ensuring equitable access to opportunities and resources, honing your communication skills, and committing to lifelong learning and growth. With these powerful tools at your disposal, you'll be well-equipped to thrive both academically and personally and to make a meaningful impact in your chosen field and beyond.

Through this module, you will acquire the essential knowledge about Inclusive Higher Education to thrive in your academic pursuits. Moreover, you will develop the ability to foster inclusivity, cooperate effectively, and create a positive impact in any environment. Let us join hands and embark on this enlightening voyage towards success!

Explore: The following clickable boxes include various elements that create diversity in society. Please click and reveal to learn about the diversity elements.

arden university's inclusive curriculum framework

Arden University believes everyone should have access to higher education, regardless of location or circumstances. We offer flexible study options to help students overcome financial and time constraints. We support students from all backgrounds and have a high proportion of students from minority groups or with disabilities. Our focus on access to education makes us a valuable resource for low-participation groups, including those from low-income households and mature students.

Please see Jen McParland's video on how Arden University applies the Inclusive Curriculum Framework.

Please click here to reach the video transcript.

Hello, my name is Jen I work in the academic professional development team at Arden and I'm here to share with you an acronym called THRIVES to help you in designing digital accessible content. And accessibility is an extremely broad area and this acronym is not exhaustive in any way but hopefully you'll find it helpful and memorable when you're creating digital content. The acronym is THRIVES the T standing for tables, the H for hyperlinks, the R for recordings, the I for inclusive font, the V for visuals, the E for examine and the S for structure.


When adding a table try to remember to add row headers as this will help the user understand what each of the cells contain. Adding a table description or caption is also really important, as it will help people who use read-aloud technologies to have context about the table is about.

When adding links or hyperlinks try to make them as meaningful and descriptive as possible. Avoid using long links with lots of different characters included in them and avoid using 'click here' because it doesn't really tell your user where they're going. Instead, where possible, link the words in your sentence to tell the user what they're going to see when they click on your link.


When you're creating a video make sure that you add closed captions and make sure they're as accurate as possible, and along with any audio that you're also producing, make sure that there is a downloadable and readable transcript available.


For text choose an inclusive font and one that will show different accents in other languages, and one which is usually Sans Serif, which is less decorative such as Arial, Calibri, Tahoma, Verdana, and ones that don't include decorative aspects like Times New Roman. This helps with readability for most text on digital platforms.


Add alternative text or alt text to all of your images this will provide a readable and descriptive account of what the image contains for anybody with visual impairments.


Use built-in accessibility checkers to examine, review, and fix any accessibility issues when you're creating in documents presentations or web pages. Popular software including Microsoft Word and PowerPoint include this feature.


Try to avoid using centered or justified text as it's difficult for readability. Left aligned text tends to be better when structuring your documents. Try to avoid adding emphasis using the Bold feature or by increasing the font size. Instead, use the applied Styles feature to add things like titles subheading-one, heading-one etc. This will help for readability and will really help those using screen readers to navigate your document.

And there you have it! Accessibility THRIVES. I hope you'll find this a useful and a memorable tool when you're creating your own content.

Diversity and representation

Diversity goes beyond demographics. It involves recognising and appreciating the distinct viewpoints, backgrounds, and customs that every person contributes. Picture a college where classrooms showcase a variety of identities, prompting lively debates and fostering innovative concepts. You will discover how embracing diversity enhances the educational journey and why it's crucial to have representation in building an all-embracing atmosphere. You can click on the image to your right to find out more about diversity.

Access and Equity 

Every individual must have the opportunity to pursue education as a fundamental right, not just a privilege reserved for a select few. By exploring the concepts of access and fairness in higher education, we can recognise the challenges that many people face and create solutions to make the system more just. In module 3, you will explore more about the importance of addressing accessibility concerns to ensure that education is accessible to all community members. 

Communication and Collaboration

In our modern and interconnected world, it's more important than ever to have strong communication and collaboration skills. Navigating different cultural perspectives and resolving conflicts can be challenging, but learning these skills is incredibly valuable. When you work and study with people from diverse backgrounds, you'll discover the power of collaboration in generating new ideas and fostering innovation. This creates a supportive environment that reflects the dynamic global landscape.

Activity: Reflection on an inclusive higher education

How do you think higher education could be more inclusive? What changes would you like to see? Share your aspirations for a more inclusive higher education. 

Please use the Google Jamboard below to share your ideas for how higher education can be diverse and inclusive. Share your ideas on what universities might do to become better at embracing diversity and creating an environment where everyone can thrive.

In this activity, you can choose your preferred format: it might an image, video, or written text. Share your ideas on the Jamboard below.