FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Intellectual disability is a relatively common condition with a prevalence of about 1.5% in Western countries. Although it is often not possible to determine a clear cause of intellectual disability, it is quite certain that its occurrence is influenced by complex biomedical, social, behavioral and educational risk factors. Changes in the understanding of the global phenomenon of disability have also had a significant impact on the conceptualization of intellectual disability, which has necessarily led to changes in the terminology used. The following models of disability are most often described in the literature: moral, medical, rehabilitation, social, and diversity model.

Despite changes in the understanding of the phenomenon of disability and the terminology used, people with intellectual disabilities are still exposed to stigmatization and marginalization.

Although the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities obliges signatory countries to “ensure an inclusive education system at all levels,” students with intellectual disabilities attend primary and secondary special schools more often than students with other forms of disability, and the practice of statistical invisibilization of these students in the educational process that could mask the real state of inclusive education. Post-secondary education of students with intellectual disabilities in the European higher education area is very rare.

The interpretation of terms such as education for pupils with disabilities, inclusive education and inclusive school varies considerably across European countries.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UN, 1948), in art. 26 lays the foundations for the meaning of “educational inclusion”, even if it does not name it explicitly: «Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace». This article affirms the constitutive principle of inclusive education, where everyone’s right to education is established and it is clarified that the task of the educational institution does not end with the transmission of knowledge.

In the World Declaration of Education for all (UNESCO, 1990), the so-called Education for All (EFA) movement is defined, which aims to provide quality basic education for all.

«This means being proactive in identifying the barriers that many encounter in accessing educational opportunities and identifying the resources needed to overcome those barriers. Inclusive education is a process of strengthening the capacity of the education system to reach out to all learners and can thus be understood as a key strategy to achieve EFA. As an overall principle, it should guide all education policies and practices, starting from the fact that education is a basic human right and the foundation for a more just and equal society».

It is clear here that inclusion is a transversal value, the presence of which characterizes the way of being of the school system, also from an organizational and managerial point of view, and directs its action according to the logic of equality, equal opportunities and participation. 

However, research in Europe on the topic of inclusion of students with intellectual disabilities in university contexts is not very developed. In addition, there is a lack of data collection throughout Europe concerning the number of students with IDs who have undertaken a post-secondary or higher education paths and this does not favour the design of inclusion policies.

A Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) is a virtual classroom that allows teachers and students to communicate with each other online. Class information, learning materials, and assignments are typically provided via the Web. Students can log in to the class website to view this information and may also download assignments and required reading materials to their computers. Some VLEs even allow assignments and tests to be completed online. Here the teacher may communicate with the students in real-time using video or Web conferencing. Virtual learning environments are a popular method of e-learning, which refers to learning through electronic means. While a VLE cannot fully replace the traditional classroom, it can be a useful way of teaching students who reside in many different locations.

Among the most important advantages of virtual learning environments are: accessibility, flexibility, personalisation, time and cost savings, immediate information and their international character.

Some projects that made use of a VLE and where this also proved to be successful.

  • INTENT project (Integrating Telecollaborative Networks into Foreign Language Higher Education).
  • Erasmus+ CETproject (Communication and education by Transmedia)
  • Erasmus+ project AMEDY (Active Media Education for the Disabled Youth).
  • Erasmus+ project SUSKIDS (Sustainability Skills for Down Syndrome 

After designing and implementing a VLE, It’s of high importance to evaluate the VLE in order to make sure that it is being used for what is needed. 

With regard to evaluation of the system itself, it’s important to consider the following:

When evaluating the VLE, it is important to evaluate to what extent the choice of the VLE also fulfils the benefits associated with it. In addition, it is also important to assess the content.

With regard to the evaluation of the learning process from the participants, it’s important to consider that if you want to get more insight in the learning process of participants, the starting situation of participants must always be clear.

For the evaluation of the training course within the TUT4IND project, the evaluation will focus on both the design and content of the training as well as the learning process from participants. 

During the process of designing the VLE and training content, a formative evaluation with a few participants or sample audience will take place, in order to make sure the eventual VLE will be a solid one. When participants have completed the final training, there will be a summative evaluation, which will assess the impact and content of the course.

Basic computer skills: Knowledge of the following eLearning platforms: MOOC, MOODLE, etc.

Registration for the course will be based on previous calls for applications.

Number of places in each call: maximum 25, for the completion of all modules, plus five more places in each module so that they can be taken independently. If the entire course is not taken, a certificate of having taken the specific module(s) can be obtained, but a certificate recognising competence to teach students with disabilities is only obtained if the entire course has been taken.

The call is designed for the completion of the entire course, with 5 more places reserved for specific modules.

The timetable for the course will include start and end dates for each training module, and deadlines for the delivery and completion of the assessment activities. At the end of these deadlines, an extraordinary period will be opened in order to complete any module that is pending. The deadline for the completion of each module, and the course as a whole, will be set after the course has been piloted.

The course will be supported by a support professional, who will direct and guide the students, resolving doubts or providing further information on the different subjects. This professional will be in charge of giving two virtual sessions, an initial and a final one, to clarify doubts and go deeper into some topics.

Communication between the professional support trainer and the students takes place through a MOODLE forum or by e-mail.

To enroll in the program candidates must be higher education teachers, and posse a bachelor, master or doctor degree, or another legal diploma, on any academic area.

The Scientific Committee of the program may also accept the enrolment of other candidates with a relevant academic, scientific and professional curriculum, even if they aren’t teachers in higher Education. 

Candidates must indicate interest in this Special Program and at least one semester of professional experience on teaching.

Upon completion of the training, teachers will know the basic principles of inclusive education, and will have a basic knowledge of the laws concerning higher education of persons with disabilities in Europe and the right of persons with intellectual disabilities (ID) to participate in that level of education. In addition, they will know the concept of ID, as well as the cognitive and socio-behavioural characteristics associated with this population. They will have knowledge about the emotional intelligence of people with ID, as well as strategies to stimulate their motivation.

University teachers will be instructed in the principles of positive behavioural intervention and will have basic knowledge on how to support students in personal growth and development, how to help them better understand the consequences of their own choices and activities, how to make their own decisions and how to improve their behaviour patterns.

Teachers will also be able to provide vocational guidance to students with ID. They will know how to encourage responsible and autonomous choices of students with ID in terms of social and work environment

Ultimately, university teachers will be able to support future students with intellectual disabilities in achieving equal opportunities to complete their studies upon completion of the training.

  • Knowledge: Comprehensive, specialized, factual and theoretical knowledge within a field of work or study, and an awareness of the boundaries of that knowledge.  
  • Skills: A comprehensive range of cognitive and practical skills required to develop creative solutions to abstract problems
  • Responsibility and autonomy: Exercise management and supervision in contexts of work or study activities where there is unpredictable change. Review and develop performance of self and others. 

University teachers who will participate in the course must become capable:

  • To demonstrate knowledge and understanding about inclusion as well as about intellectual disabilities adopting inclusive strategies and preventing group exclusion processes in University environments.
  • To apply their knowledge about inclusion and intellectual disabilities to their teaching activities. 
  • To choose between alternatives and existing ways to effectively remove barriers to access and offer meaningful learning opportunities.
  • To develop competences to set up learning settings accessible to students with ID, promoting inclusion and prevention of group exclusion in school environments
  • To use information and communication technologies (ICT) as an added value to support participation, sharing and accessible multimodal communication.
  • To encourage motivation, self-esteem and perception of self-efficacy in students with ID.

 

  • To acquire basic knowledge about the principles of inclusion.
  • To become aware of key issues related to inclusion (European perspective and dimension to a common framework) and the needs of people with ID in terms of participation in university courses.  
  • To improve digital skills by working with a range of tools and software for teaching.
  • To encourage the active participation of ID students in university life and in the context of the city by involving them in various initiatives, cultural and sporting activities.

The course consists of three modules, each containing four topics.

Module I: Transversal training

   Topic 1. Diversity management and principles of inclusive education 

   Topic 2. Intellectual and developmental disability 

   Topic 3. Intervention in problem behaviors and quality of life of people with ID 

   Topic 4. Promoting motivation for students with ID 

Module II: Didactics and Inclusive Methodologies

   Topic 5. Universal Design for Learning 

   Topic 6. Supporting strategies 

   Topic 7. Technological apps as teaching tools 

   Topic 8. Techniques for learning promotion 

Module III: Specific training

   Topic 9. Emotional intelligence and conflicts resolution 

   Topic 10. Strategies for studding 

   Topic 11. Vocational guidance 

   Topic 12. Social skills development 

Each topic is divided into the following sections:

  • Introduction
  • Theoretical framework and bibliography
  • Specific concepts related to the topic
  • Specific needs of people with ID on the theme
  • Methodological proposals
  • Activities
  • Glossary of terms
  • Tools
  • Resources
  • Tips
  • Curiosities
  • Link