Groundbreaking e-learning to educate university students on diversity issues

Written by
Changeboard Team

19 Feb 2010

19 Feb 2010 • by Changeboard Team

A groundbreaking move to teach students about diversity has been adopted by the University of Manchester. It's commonplace for UK universities to educate staff about equality and diversity, but this unprecedented e-learning course sees 500 students forming a pilot group to understand issues, think about how to resolve them, as well as support their future employability.




Patrick Johnson, head of equality and diversity at the university, explains: Its important for students to have an opportunity to think about and reflect on their perceptions, experiences and actions - and how these impact others. Staff are offered training, and now this new e-learning course will enable 37,000 students to build their understanding too. Students should have the opportunity to find out about equality and diversity and we believe this should happen early in the students higher education.

Students at the university operate in a diverse learning environment and one in which they may not have had any previous knowledge or experience of studying with a range of different people. The e-learning course will be piloted in the medical and human sciences faculty. These students will have direct contact with the general public when they graduate, making them an ideal pilot base. The university will try a range of different methods to engage students, including voluntary and compulsory.




Johnson continues: Marshall ACMs diversity e-learning course for students helps the university to promote equality and good relations between different groups. The course is specially developed; its interactive, interesting and engaging. Activities, scenario questions and podcasts are included, helping students to consider their personal responsibilities as a member of the university community.




A key factor for the university is that education on the matter will help raise students employability. It's not being implemented because of a particular problem on campus, but to ensure staff and students are all in tune with their rights and responsibilities, raising awareness of the advantages of social diversity.

Ann Allcock, principal consultant at Marshall ACM, explains: Universities technically have a legal duty to promote race relations on campus. Whereas training courses for staff have a strong focus on legal compliance, the student course is more of a resource they can tap into as and when convenient. To help engage students, it combines a highly interactive magazine format, along with audio voiceover.



About Marshall ACM


The company delivers a managed e-learning service to over 220 organisations across the public and private sector in the UK and Republic of Ireland. It can be contacted via its website, by calling  +44 (0)845 123 3909 or emailing