Dr Vijesh Bhute, Department of Chemical Engineering, has received funding from the Royal Society of Chemistry to explore the student experience.
The funding will contribute towards resources and guidelines raising awareness amongst Imperial College London’s students about neurodiversity.
This funding will help to highlight the journeys of neurodiverse university students and provide resources to those who may not be aware of their hidden neurodiversity. Dr Vijesh Bhute Project lead
Through the use of engaging stories and avatars, the project, entitled 'Neurodiversity from the lens of neurodiverse university students' seeks to encourage students to recognise signs and pursue assistance.
On the significance of the funding, Dr. Bhute, project lead and Teaching Fellow at the Department of Chemical Engineering stated: "Being neurodiverse and not knowing can significantly impact one’s confidence. Knowledge of what it means to be a neurodiverse student and the resources that are available can transform the way students engage and learn. This funding will help to highlight the journeys of neurodiverse university students and provide resources to those who may not be aware of their hidden neurodiversity."
As a module leader for 1st and 2nd year Mathematics courses in the Department of Chemical Engineering, Vijesh noted equations-heavy STEM courses are not accessible for everyone. The notes in these courses are provided as PDFs or books which are screen-reader accessible.
He decided to develop resources for Mathematics courses which were screen-reader accessible. Together with a neurodiverse student, they designed a website which adhered to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) guidelines.
To improve readability and visibility for users with low vision or colour blindness, they used consistent colour coding for theorems, examples, definitions, and notes. To enhance engagement and accessibility, interactive drop-down example-solution boxes were included in addition to alt-text in images and ability to read equations using screen-readers.
He has received highly positive feedback from students including:
“Fantastic! Much better than old lecture notes which had no colour and life. I find that I can digest the information a lot easier on this book and it's straight to the point. Very good.” - Anonymous student feedback.
“Having an online textbook that is very thorough really helps me as well.” - Anonymous student feedback.
For his dedication to enhancing accessibility through technology, Vijesh was awarded the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching Innovation at Impial College London.
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