Behind the scenes of pioneering Disability Master’s programme

The University’s pioneering Disability Master’s degree reveals unique perspectives and insight into world-leading teaching in this tell-all video.

video equipment showing behind the scenes of disability studies.

Disability Studies, Rights and Inclusion MSc is a new online taught Master’s programme which aims to equip students with the knowledge and skills necessary to advocate for and protect the rights of disabled people and communities. 

Those involved in the programme have shared their vision for change and unique approach to disability studies in a ‘behind the scenes’ video.  

The pioneering programme has been designed, developed and delivered by academics and experts in online learning at the University of Leeds and adds to the growing catalogue of accessible online courses, which can be viewed here

Margaret Korosec, Dean of Online and Digital Education said: “This course has been a great example of cross-institutional collaboration which puts the needs of students at the heart of the learning experience. A focus on inclusive and accessible design allows all students to fully participate in their learning journey and paves the way for a more accessible approach to learning on all our programmes.”  

Led by academics from the School of Sociology and Social Policy, the design and development of the course prioritised accessibility, anticipating access issues by proactively testing platforms and tools.  

Audience was a key element in the distinctiveness of its design. The team spoke to disabled people’s organisations, civic organisations and policy makers to make sure the principles and themes associated with the degree were put into practice throughout the course.  

An option for open submissions where learners can present back their learning was also introduced, providing equitable access to learning and assessments. 

The Centre for Disability Studies at the University of Leeds was the first University Centre in the UK to establish disability studies as an academic field of research and study.  

The Centre is committed to achieving equality and social justice for disabled people globally. Academics are well-known for their work in the areas of disability politics, policy and practice, the sociology of disability, disability law and human rights, and inclusive design.  

Dr Miro Griffiths, Co-Director of the Centre for Disability Studies, said: "Online learning gives you the opportunity to refresh, to be creative, to experiment with multiple possibilities of learning, and recognise that everybody has a place and must be valued. 

‘’It allows us to think about ways in which people can flourish and ensure that they can articulate their ideas in a way that is accessible to them." 

The release of this behind-the-scenes video coincides with the UK’s Disability History Month which is an annual monthly event to celebrate disabled people and increase everyone’s awareness of disability issues.  

This year’s theme is ‘Disability, Children and Youth’ which focusses on the Experience of Disablement amongst children and young people in the past, now and what is needed for the future. 

Hannah Morgan, programme lead in the School of Sociology and Social Policy, said: “This distinctive online course opens the doors for people from a range of diverse backgrounds to contribute to this important area of social justice and disability activism.   

“Our courses have a fantastic reputation for building networks, and students will connect with professionals and activists across the world and learn from expert academics. Because this course is online and has been designed to be more accessible and flexible, we can welcome people who may already work in organisations where they can make a real difference.”  

A new short course, ‘Social model of disability’ is also available. On this two week course, learners will explore what disability is and begin to identify the barriers that disabled people face around the world. 

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