Abertay University: International conference explores digital accessibility and widening access issues

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An international conference exploring digital accessibility, widening access to higher education and approaches for improving student engagement attracted international delegates to Abertay University.

The Continuing Excellence in Mathematics, Statistics and Operational Research (CETL-MSOR) Conference offered a broad range of sessions to its 100 attendees, with keynote addresses coming from Ciaran Mc an Bhaird of Maynooth University, Ireland; Professor Rachel Hilliam of The Open University and Joe Kyle of University of Brimingham.

More than 60 presentations and workshops were held across the two-day conference, covering topics such as incentivising student engagement, barriers to student engagement, outreach enhancement, video curation, study skills, blended learning, reduction of student anxiety and working with students as partners.

Other sessions looked at the effectiveness of drop-in support for maths, distance learning challenges, use of tablet devices, assessment as a barrier to inclusion, transformation in data science, successful adaptation of online activities, how to give traditional maths lectures a ‘modern twist’ and raising awareness around dyscalculia.

In addition to the daytime programme, an awards ceremony was held at the city’s Discovery Point as part of the conference.

Conference sponsors and partners included Abertay University, the Scottish Government, the Irish Mathematics Learning Support Network, Sigma (Network for Excellence in Mathematics and Statistics Support), Glasgow Mathematical Journal Trust and the Dundee & Angus Convention Bureau.

Dr Anne Savage of Abertay’s School of Applied Sciences, who led the conference organizing committee, said: “It was fantastic to bring so many leading academic lights in this field to Abertay to share the learning gained on these important topics in recent years. The Covid-19 pandemic massively accelerated the digital transformation of our universities and it has been fascinating to see how colleagues have copied with these challenges and used this disruption as an opportunity to pivot approach and improve on the way we deliver our teaching and learning and student support.”

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