'Quest for Learning' launched by Minister de Valera

15 December:  At DIT's 'E-Learning Day', Minister of State at the Department of Education and Science, Síle de Valera, TD, launched a new website that aims to provide a virtual support network for students with disability. The launch was broadcast live on the internet - click here to see the archive.

Ms Lorraine Gallagher, AHEAD, demonstrates the 'Quest for Learning'website to Minister Sile de Valera

The website, entitled 'Quest for Learning', was developed as a joint initiative by the Association for Higher Education Access and Disability (AHEAD), with the support of the Dublin Institute of Technology, UCC, FÁS, and the Higher Education Authority.  It provides a virtual support network for students, including tips on how to manage and maximise their learning systems.  For academic staff it provides guidelines on creating an accessible curriculum, mindful of the needs of students with a disability, and raises their awareness of disability among students.

Lorraine Gallagher and Minister de Valera broadcast on the web via HEAnet

Minister de Valera launched the website at the opening of DIT's annual 'E-Learning Day' which took place this year in the FOCAS Institute.  Chief Executive of AHEAD, Ms Anne Heelan, welcomed the Minister and thanked her for her Department's support for AHEAD's objectives.  The Minister was taken through a demonstration of the site's capabilities by Ms Lorraine Gallagher, Research and Information Officer with AHEAD, and commented that as someone intending to return to learning she would find the site very helpful herself.

Minister Sile de Valera with Ms Caroline Casey (right), founder of Aisling Foundation and initiator of the national 'Ability Awards'

Formally launching 'Quest for Learning', the Minister said "Innovative initiatives such as the QFL website are a welcome advance in making E-Learning more accessible to students with a disability.  They also form part of a wider national and European movement towards making all sectors and services more accessible for persons with a disability. This is integral to any society that is genuinely inclusive of the needs of all its citizens."

- DIT eLearning Day 2005 - 'Expanding the Campus'

Following the launch, the participants continued with the 'E-Learning Day' programme, entitled 'Expanding the Campus'.  The day included an interesting mix of demonstrations and presentations, with case studies from DIT lecturers in the afternoon and an opportunity to hear DIT students talk about how eLearning is impacting on their learning experience.

Minister de Valera with Ms Olive O'Connor, Disability Liaison, DIT

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