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Digital Opportunities Promoting Inclusion in Academia (DigOPIA)

Focusing deaf and hard-of-hearing students

At a glance


«Digital opportunities promoting inclusion in Academia (DigOPIA)» is a research project within the DIZH Fellowships. It deals with linguistic inclusion in the university context, focusing on hearing-impaired and deaf students. The project explores the repertoire of digital options available to students in higher education using observation data, eye-tracking and interviews. A PhD thesis is underway on processes of knowledge-building and perception of academic content in the lecture hall, during group sessions and online through the mediums of sign language interpretation and speech-to-text translation. The project aims to open up new ways of understanding and expanding linguistic capacities in the language of science, and ultimately seeks to find solutions all student groups may profit from. The intersection between digital transformation and inclusive modes of communication is receiving a great deal of attention in the field of accessible communication but has received little attention in higher education didactics. The project’s results will allow for concluding how different audiences use new digital tools, and it will provide an excellent basis for synergizing research on accessible communication, inclusion, and language diversity. The development of this area is dynamic and follows several years of research in Work Area 5 on Sign Language and Sign Language Interpreting in the framework of a 2016-2020 swissuniversities project that aimed at establishing a Swiss Center for Accessible Communication at ZHAW and Uni Geneva. The project provides the basis for future third-party funding applications related to digitization, inclusion, interculturality and linguistic diversity.

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