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TINEL Conference on universal design for blended and e-learning in higher education

Only online, 8.-9.12.2021

Organised by the University of York, United Kingdom

The coronavirus pandemic has thrown many higher education institutions (HEIs) headlong into e-learning and greatly increased the emphasis on blended learning, for both the short and longterm.

How have students with disabilities, students from a diversity of backgrounds and living circumstances coped with this situation and how have HEIs supported them?  What has worked, what has not worked, what are the challenges for the future?

The Erasmus+ funded TINEL Project (http://hamk.fi/tinel) has been investigating universal design for learning in blended and e-learning situations since before the pandemic hit.  Our work has become even more relevant since the pandemic.

The Conference

In December we will host a conference to share best practices and challenges for the future in supporting a diversity of students in the post-pandemic era of blended and e-learning in higher education.

The conference will be a mixture of workshops, short presentations from participants and from the TINEL team about the work of the project.  There will be plenty of time to network and we aim to start an ongoing support network of staff from HEIs to continue the discussion of these issues after the conference.

Conference programme, summaries of the presentations and videos.



No Registration Cost!

The conference will be funded by the Erasmus+ Programme, so there is no cost to attend.  

The online conference will be held at Zoom (Registration for all attendees)

Presenting at the conference

You are welcome to submit an abstract if you would like to make a 15 minute presentation, although it is not required to attend the conference.  

Your presentation can be about a successful practice or a problem you need help solving. You can present at the conference online either live or by pre-recording your presentation.

You can submit an abstract as a 500 word text, using the template available (in Word and PDF formats) or as a 5 minute video clip or podcast (there is also a very short text document to complete with information about the presentation).

Template for text abstract: Word, PDF

Template for video/podcast abstract: Word, PDF

Registration for all attendees


We will publish an online proceedings of all the conference presentations. The online proceedings will comprise the abstracts and optionally a captioned recording of the presentations at the conference.

A special issue of the journal Interacting with Computers (https://academic.oup.com/iwc) will be organized, with presenters invited to submit longer versions of their paper.

Further details will be available soon.

If you have any questions, contact the organizer in your country (or Helen Petrie for all other countries):

Finland: Merja Saarela, HÄME University of Applied Science (merja.saarela(at)hamk.fi)

or Tarja Ladonlahti, University of Jyvãskylã (tarja.ladonlahti(at)jyu.fi)

Norway: Anne-Britt Torkilsby, NTNU (anne.torkildsby(at)ntnu.no)

Sweden: Håkan Eftring, Lund University (hakan.eftring(at)certec.lth.se)

UK (and other countries): Helen Petrie, University of York (helen.petrie(at)york.ac.uk)

Conference invitation (PDF)

Keynote speaker

Addressing the needs of diverse learners in online and blended learning with Universal Design for Learning in the post-pandemic Academy: opportunities, new alliances, hurdles, shifting ground, U turns, quick sands, and other surprises of the journey


Frédéric Fovet is Associate Professor in the School of Education and Technology at Royal Roads UniversityFrédéric Fovet is Associate Professor in the School of Education and Technology at Royal Roads University.  He has previously held the position of Assistant Professor within the Faculty of Education of the University of Prince Edward Island.  Over the duration of his PhD., he was Director of the Office of Students with Disabilities at McGill University.  He has also served as a teacher and principal in the K-12 sector.

He is an inclusion specialist with a specific interest in social, emotional and behavioural difficulties (SEBD), critical pedagogy and universal design for learning (UDL).  Frederic also has a strong grounding in 

Disability Studies.  He acts as a consultant, both nationally and internationally, in the area of UDL and inclusion – in the K-12 and the post-secondary sector.  He was the instigator and program chair of the first three pan-Canadian conferences on UDL in 2015, 2017 and 2019.




The Best European Universal Design in Higher Education Conference 28.-29.8.2019, Jyväskylä Finland

Welcome to the Best Practices in Universal Design for eLearning in Higher Education conference!

Join us in this great opportunity to have innovative discussions about Universal Design for eLearning (including blended learning) in higher education. Over two days you will learn more about good educational and accessible practices from many higher education institutions and many countries including Finland, Sweden, Norway and United Kingdom. You can also share your own ideas and initiatives related to this topic in our poster sessions.

During Spring 2019 the TINEL project organized an Open Call for the best inclusive and flexible eLearning or blended learning practices in higher education. At the conference, the best initiatives and practices from this call will be presented, followed by a publication.

Quality Education for all!

Conference programme is free of charge.

Call for best inclusive and flexible eLearning or blended learning practices in higher education

Equal access to higher education for students with the greatest diversity of backgrounds, experiences, learning styles and abilities is becoming a very important priority for higher education institutions. It is also a legal requirement in Europe [1]. Equal access includes access to the educational environment, access to teaching materials and an inclusive student life through blended and eLearning channels.

The call is organized to highlight inclusive and flexible best practice in higher education. The aim is to develop a freely available corpus of best practices in this area to help staff in higher education institutions to support the widest diversity of students, regardless of backgrounds, experiences, learning styles and abilities. To stimulate development of this corpus, we are launching a Call for higher education institutions to present their current  best practices initiatives for inclusive and flexible education.  These might be initiatives at the level of the whole institution or by a particular group within the institution, either a group responsible for directly teaching students (such as an academic department or team responsible for a particular degree) or a support group (such as the library or the student records team).

We invite higher education institutions in Finland, Norway, Sweden and the UK to submit their best practice initiatives. A panel of experts in accessibility and inclusive learning will review these and the best proposals will be presented at the conference on “The Best European Universal Design in Higher Education” in August 2019.

The Call is being organized by the TINEL Project [2], funded by the EU Erasmus+ fund.

Important dates:

  • Deadline for submissions: 31 March, 2019, (closing time at 23:59 EET (GMT+2))
  • Results and feedback provided to entrants: 17 May, 2019. ***Unfortunately the feedback will be delayed until 22 May***
  • Announcement of the winning entries at the Best European Universal Design in Higher Education 2019 Conference, Jyväskylä, Finland: 28 – 29 August, 2019
  • Publication of winning entries on the TINEL Project website: 30 August 2019.

[1] The European Parliament has enacted legislation EN 301549:2015, in which it defines accessibility requirements suitable for public procurement of ICT and services in Europe. The purpose of this legislation is to ensure that everyone has the same opportunity to enjoy the benefits of the internet and mobile apps, to participate in society to a fuller extent and to lead a more independent life. The directive covers websites and mobile apps of public sector bodies.

[2] Towards Inclusive eLearning: Improving Accessibility of eLearning in Higher Education from Universal Design for Learning perspective (TINEL) – hamk.fi/tinel

UDL Camps – Intensive training events on inclusive eLearning and blended learning

(UDL = Universal Design for Learning, UDeL = Universal Design for eLearning)

Four transnational intensive training events (UDL Camps), each three days long, will be organised in Norway and Sweden at the following dates:

  • UDL Camp 1: 14-16.1.2020 in Oslo, Norway
  • UDL Camp 2 in Lund is moved to 7-11 September 2020 and will be held online. (Announcement, agenda)
  • UDL Camp 3: 18-22  January 2021 will be held online (half time work). (Announcement, agenda)
  • UDL Camp 4: 12-16 April 2021 will be held online (half time work). (Announcement, agenda)

Oslo Radhus University


Approximately 12-18 eLearning staff or teachers (2-4 from each of the TINEL partners) will be invited to attend each of the UDL Camps. An individual participant can attend one or maybe more UDL Camps. We prefer to have more participants have the opportunity to attend the UDL Camps than having the same participants in all UDL Camps.

If you are interested in participating in any of the UDL Camps and you are working at one of the higher education institutions in the TINEL project, please send an email to the contact person for your organisation:

HÄME University of Applied Sciences (HAMK), Finland: Merja Saarela, merja.saarela@hamk.fi
Lund University, Sweden: Håkan Eftring, hakan.eftring@certec.lth.se
NTNU, Norway: Elinor Olaussen, elinor.j.olaussen@ntnu.no
University of Jyväskylä, Finland: Tarja Ladonlahti, tarja.ladonlahti@jyu.fi
University of York, UK: Helen Petrie, helen.petrie@york.ac.uk

Tasks and content

At the UDL Camps, the participant will:

  • Choose a course to work on from a UDL perspective, to improve the inclusive eLearning or blended learning.
  • Learn about UDL/UDeL, student diversity and how to increase the flexibility of the chosen course regarding how students can engage in learning, how students can receive information and how students can express their knowledge.
  • Work in groups to improve the course.
  • Give feedback to the project partners about the learning material used at the UDL Camp, so the learning material can be further developed and improved in the project.

Intellectual Outputs from the UDL Camps

The UDL Camps will contribute to two of the project’s intellectual outputs: Developing learning material and a training model.

Learning material

Innovative pedagogical and technological UDL learning material for teachers in higher education will be developed iteratively and tested throughout the four UDL Camps. Early versions of the learning material will be used in the first UDL Camp and will then be improved based on the feedback from the UDL Camp participants. The learning material will consist of:

  • UDL context cards showing a wide variety of situations a proactive teacher is prepared for. Each card shows a headline and an image on one side and a description of the situation on the other side. The UDL context cards can be used as a tool for teachers to test a course in advance to see if the teacher has thought of most situations that could occur in a course, especially in relation to student diversity and different learning situations and preferences.
  • Videos with students and their experiences from different learning situations.
  • Videos with teachers and their experiences from different UDL solutions.
  • A collection of scientific/conference papers about teachers’ experiences of UDL. These papers can be used as a base for discussions when training teachers in UDL.

Additionally, the UDL Camps will create mentoring networks for the participants in order to support their implementation of inclusive eLearning. The mentoring networks will consist of the other participants in the UDL Camp and the project partners.

Training model

A training model for training eLearning staff and teachers in UDL will be developed. This model will focus on two levels: A practical level and a meta-level.

The practical level will consist of instructions how to use the learning material used in the UDL Camps (UDL Context Cards, videos and scientific/conference papers). These instructions will be iteratively developed using feedback from the UDL Camp participants.

At the meta-level, the training model will consist of methods how to implement UDL in practice. The methods will be based on the experience and participant feedback from the UDL Camps and the subsequent Webinars and workshops. It will also include the participants’ experiences from developing their own eLearning or blended learning courses. The training model will be reported in a scientific paper.

International and national Webinars and workshops will follow each of the transnational intensive training events (UDL Camps).


Webinars and workshops to follow-up the UDL Camps

Each UDL Camp will be followed by international and national webinars and workshops to follow-up the intensive training and to spread the results of the previous UDL Camp. The Webinars and workshops will be held 1-2 months after each of the UDL Camp:

UDL Webinar/workshop 1

  • 10.3.2020, Follow-up international webinar for the participants in UDL Camp 1
  • 17.4.2020, National webinar for Higher Education Institutions in Finland
  • Online Follow-up workshop for project partners, 18-20 May 2020

UDL Webinar/workshop 2

  • 19.10.2020  Follow-up international webinar for the participants in UDL Camp 2 
  • 12.10.2020 Online Follow-up workshop for project partners.

UDL Webinar/workshop 3

  • 1 March 2021 at 9.00-11.00 Central European Time Follow-up international webinar for the participants in UDL Camp 3
  • 26 March 2021 at 10.00-12.00 (UK time) National webinar for Higher Education Institutions in UK (in English)
  • 17 February and 9 March 2021 Online Follow-up workshop for project partners.

UDL Webinar/workshop 4

  • 31 May 2021  at 9.00-11.00 (Central European Summer Time) Follow-up international webinar for the participants in UDL Camp 4
  • 2 June  2021 at 13.00-15.30 (Central European Summer Time) Swedish/Norwegian webinar for Higher Education Institutions in Sweden and Norway (in Swedish and Norwegian) (Invitation with agenda)
  • June 2021 Online Follow-up workshop for project partners.
  • 1.9.2021 National webinar for Higher Education Institutions in Finland.

Plan for the follow-up international webinars

The participants who knows each other from the previous UDL Camp will meet again online to share what they have done and reflected upon since the UDL Camp, e.g. experience from the learning material developed in the project (8 hours work). They will prepare a presentation at home for this webinar (8 hours work). The project partners will also participate. After the webinar, the participants will reflect on and prepare how they will continue developing their courses. Documented in writing (8 hours work).

Plan for the national webinars

Norway, Sweden, UK and Finland will hold national webinars to Higher Education Institutions, to present the results of the previous UDL Camp and results from the participants’ presentations at the follow-up international webinars.

Plan for the workshops

Workshops for the project partners will be held in Norway, Sweden, [UK and Finland] after the national webinars to sum up what has been learnt, to plan the further development to learning material and training model and to plan the next UDL Camp.


Towards Inclusive eLearning: Improving Accessibility of eLearning in Higher Education from Universal Design for Learning perspective

Towards Inclusive eLearning: Improving Accessibility of eLearning in Higher Education from Universal Design for Learning perspective (TINEL) is an Erasmus+ funded project, coordinated by Häme University of Applied Sciences (HAMK).

  1. The overall aim of the project is to improve inclusive eLearning from UDL perspective. The project objectives are:
    to map and explore inclusive practices of eLearning and implementation aspects of UDL approach in HEIs
  2. to develop an evaluation tool and a training model for improving eLearning accessibility from UDL perspective
  3. to develop pedagogical and technological skills of staff for improving inclusive eLearning from UDL perspective.

The project will be carried out during 1.10.2018-31.12.2021 in cooperation between six partners, The Association of Finnish eLearning Centre (NGO), University of Jyväskylä from Finland, Lund University from Sweden, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) from Norway and University of York from United Kingdom.

More information on Suomen eOppimiskeskus.

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