About the Project


The Teachability Project was funded by the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council (SFC) between 1999 and 2006. The Project's first major publication, Teachability: Creating an Accessible Curriculum for Students with Disabilities (2000) has been widely used by academic staff in the UK and beyond to evaluate the accessibility of course provision for disabled students.


The extension of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) to higher education in 2002 created new and significant challenges for teaching staff in higher education. Accessible teaching might previously have been regarded as a worthwhile aim, but the DDA Part IV's emphasis on anticipation, and its critique of ad hoc reactive provision gave a new importance to accessibility. If a curriculum is accessible in the senses outlined in the Teachability booklet (2000), then it is likely to have 'anticipated reasonable adjustments'.

More recently, the Public Sector’s Duty to Promote Disability Equality, which requires, as a specific duty, the assessment of the impact of key institutional activities on disabled people, suggests Teachability as an off the shelf resource to help academic staff to do that for teaching.

Details of the new booklets, and the original Teachability material, are available under Publications.

The main ideas and aims of Teachability remain unchanged:

It aims to be informative, grounded as it is in the real experiences of disabled students trying to access courses of study, and of academic staff devising often innovative ways of enhancing that access.

It aims to be persuasive, and not prescriptive. Academic staff are responsible for designing and delivering courses of study. But certain features of design and delivery can support, or unintentionally inhibit, the participation of disabled students. It is hoped that the presentations of arguments and ideas about practices will persuade of the need to consider changes to practices. It is also hoped that the potential for benefits to all students will be recognised, and that this will act as a strong incentive to think about teaching practices, stronger, perhaps, than the various legal duties.

The application of ideas of accessibility and of universal design to teaching practices is doubtless also challenging, and needs to be thought through in relation to the subject and discipline content of particular courses of study as well as current teaching practices. Will a technique for enhancing disabled students' access to a seminar in Fine Art also work for a clinical placement tutorial in medicine? Is the subtitling of videos for politics equally appropriate for a course in modern languages?

Teachability continues not to be specific to particular subject areas, just as it is not specific to particular impairments.

The Scottish Funding Council funding for Teachability came to an end in the summer of 2006.

The constant evolution and development of courses and programmes of study, of teaching technologies and other innovations dictate that the development of curriculum accessibility for disabled students should be ongoing. If nothing else, it is hoped that Teachability will have helped to promote awareness of what curriculum accessibility for disabled students means for course design and delivery.

The University of Strathclyde will continue to host the Teachability materials on its web-site for as long as they continue to be used by academic staff within Strathclyde and elsewhere.

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