OPERA (Opportunity, Productivity, Engagement, Reducing barriers, Achievement).

OPERA (Opportunity, Productivity, Engagement, Reducing barriers, Achievement) is a University-wide accessibility project supported by advice and guidance from the Joint Information Systems Committee (Jisc). The project seeks to implement a range of accessibility initiatives to raise awareness of the potential for inclusive design and assistive technologies to improve access to learning for all. The project is primarily about mainstreaming accessibility by catalysing a shift in culture from individual adjustments via Inclusive Learning Plans (ILP) towards anticipatory reasonable adjustments and inclusive practice by design as the preferred means to tackle accessibility barriers at source.

The partnership with the Joint Information Systems Committee (Jisc) has enabled the collaborative development of a practice-based model for inclusive information delivery applying Jisc theoretical approaches. Working closely with an expert external agency has given Kent access to an array of good practice examples, support and networking opportunities that have resulted in the rapid development of our own institutional knowledge and capability.

Ultimately OPERA aims to make recommendations that will help to further develop an inclusive information environment and encourage the wider adoption of assistive technology (productivity tools) for all at the University of Kent.

The OPERA working group is chaired by Alison Dean (Associate Dean for Social Sciences): OPERA Working Group membership and terms of reference.

The videos below were commisioned by Jisc to showcase the work of the OPERA project. The first video gives the background to the project and the partnership with Jisc. Download transcript (PDF)


The second video describes the experiences of students and staff at the University who have been involved with the project. Download transcript (PDF)

OPERA lecture

Dr Howard Leicester gave a lecture about academia and accessibility (login required) at the Canterbury campus. In a very funny and engaging lecture he spoke about his work with the NHS's Accessible Information Standard, academic life, undertaking research and advocacy roles in the public sector. What is particularly extraordinary about Howard is that he has progressive deafblindness and he had a very powerful story to tell about potential barriers to access.

More information

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Last Updated: 02/01/2019