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Addressing Equality, Diversity and Inclusion using Microlearning and Design: LSAD MA Interdisciplinary Design Student Project 2022

By: Gianna Tasha Tomasso, Limerick School of Art and Design

Embedding Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) principles within course content is a priority within the MA Interdisciplinary Design offered by Limerick School of Art and Design. Programme leader Glen O’Sullivan and Assistant Lecturer Gianna Tomasso have designed elements throughout each module in the course to reflect the EDI principles within TUS. Limerick School of Art and Design is extremely proud of its vibrant and diverse students and strives to produce graduates who are cognisant of EDI in all aspects of life and work. Pedagogical course content relating to EDI issues falls in line with the incoming TUS key attributes which students will develop during their studentship, including civic engagement and global citizenship.

One key aim for the MA Interdisciplinary Design students as they graduate is that they enter the employment market as inclusive designers. Projects which embed EDI are a key strategy for students to first learn about EDI issues in order to facilitate solutions through design.

The 2021/22 cohort of students were required to produce an instructional design project for the Situated Design module based on a real-world EDI issue. Dr Carol Wrenn, TUS EDI Manager kindly facilitated a presentation for the cohort which outlined the mutli variant issues which fall within the EDI remit in TUS. Students researched and designed a microlearning output developed in the web based microlearning authoring app 7Taps. Students then designed and produced creative physical artefacts on which their QR codes would be embedded. By temporarily situating these artefacts around LSAD the works intent is to raise awareness of EDI on the LSAD campus.

Niamh Twomey designed an output which presented micro-learning content on LGBTQ+ flags, on becoming an LGBTQ+ Ally and on LGBTQ+ resources offered within the college campus. Niamh recognised that it is important that resources and supports for the LGBTQ+ community are easily accessible.  Niamh’s artefact was designed to be colourful and eye-catching and will be situated within the canteen and at other prominent social locations on campus in the coming weeks.

 

 

Kemdi Onwusiri’s output considered inclusivity and cultural diversity on campus. His app output aimed at bridging language barriers in common social spaces on campus. In his research, Kemdi found that language cues that celebrate diverse cultures help students from different countries feel included. Cultural inclusion encourages the vibrant and diverse atmosphere on campus and is of benefit to everyone.

Emmanuel Chinedu’s project provided instructional content on access to materials and machines within the college. His project provided sensory support in areas of sight, hearing and touch. His project aimed at supporting all students on campus to access the tools they need in a responsive microlearning output supported with sensory design.

 

Therena Thong designed an artefact which linked to a 7Taps micro-learning output that highlights different types of partial sightedness. Inclusivity and accessibility are something all staff and students must consider – understanding how partial sightedness can affect accessibility in relation to teaching materials is a key concern in Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and is an EDI issue which is relevant to all teaching staff who design visual teaching materials. Therena’s work is first in a series of works relating to UDL which MA Interdisciplinary Design students will develop in the coming years in the Situated Design module. 

The students identified the limitations of using QR codes and accessibility of such within their project evaluation report – however, it was agreed that the more diverse the message delivery tools, the wider the audience. Further tools are in consideration for the coming year, including AR, audio and sensory outputs across campus.

Gianna Tomasso and Glen O’Sullivan are further developing the MA in Interdisciplinary Design to offer students insight into UDL and EDI with the hopes of expanding EDI project scale and diversifying the outcomes produced during the coming academic year. 

For details on the MA Interdisciplinary Design see here