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UDL Symposium: 1A: UDL for online students with mental health conditions

Live presentation including Q&A

Australian university students experience significantly high rates of poor mental health than the general population, and a range of barriers mean that these students can find accessing learning support very difficult, particularly online students. Compounding factors include stigma (external and internal), lack of access to medical or psychological treatment services, the requirement for expensive psychological or psychiatric diagnoses to access university support, lack of awareness from lecturers of how poor mental health affects students, and a lack of awareness by the student that they are unwell (rather than not capable). This means that these students bring a particular range of struggles to their studies, and the virtual environment compounds the invisibility of these conditions and difficulties for students needing support.

In this session, the findings of a study that used a survey and interviews to explore the experiences of online students from a regional university who live with a mental health condition was presented, and the ways in which learning design and teaching approaches impact on their studies discussed. The ways in which these findings can be used as a starting point for the incorporation of the UDL framework into the design of online learning for these students was also presented, along with suggested strategies and approaches educators can implement to improve their learning experience and outcomes.


Dr Jacqui Tinkler, Charles Sturt University

(September 2023)