SIGNALL: A European Partnership Approach to Deaf Studies via New Technologies

Leeson, Lorraine and Sheikh, H. (2009) SIGNALL: A European Partnership Approach to Deaf Studies via New Technologies. UNSPECIFIED. UNSPECIFIED.


Abstract: This paper presents preliminary outcomes of a European Commission; funded project which brings together industry, academics and practitioners in an; innovative project to create an international forum of learning. SIGNALL II builds; on the successes of SIGNALL I (a Leonardo da Vinci project). It is promoted by; Interesource Group (Ireland) Limited partnered with the Centre for Deaf Studies,; Trinity College Dublin (Ireland), Irish Deaf Society (Ireland), Finnish Association of; the Deaf (Finland), University of Sussex (UK), the Foundation for the Promotion of; Entrepreneurship, Lodz, (Poland) and Grant Advisor, Brno (Czech Republic).; SIGNALL 2 aims to utilise the experience, results, partnership alliances and the; relationships built up with supporters and user groups from SIGNALL I and to; develop an accredited digital course on Perspectives on Deafness (POD).; Accreditation leads to the transfer of credit points (under the European Credit; Transfer System) amongst participating third level educational establishments; promoting international mobility in education and the transparency of; qualifications. Experiential and evidenced-based material will illustrate experiences; of deafness by using digitised case studies and video materials. The course will be; offered as a distance-learning programme with fully accessible (signed, subtitled); course content in each partner country on-line. This is essential given that Deaf people are the most under-represented group accessing third level education (e.g.; Leeson 2007, Conroy 2006), and is challenging given the linguistic diversity of the; European Union. For example, signed languages differ from territory to territory,; even where spoken languages are the same (i.e. Britain and Ireland have very; different natural signed languages – British Sign Language and Irish Sign; Language).; The core content for the ‘Perspectives on Deafness’ course has been created by the; Centre for Deaf Studies (CDS) at Trinity College Dublin. CDS has actively engaged; in the development of digital learning assets to support traditional delivery of; programmes, and are actively engaged in the development of blended learning; diplomas and degrees. European perspectives are added, allowing for the; exploration of shared – and differing- experiences of Deafhood (Ladd 2003) across; Europe as well as notions of d/Deafness as a medical, social, cultural, and historical; construct. Human rights perspectives are also explored in this wide reaching; course.; This paper outlines the background to the development of this course, outlining; rationale, content, creation of digital materials, the nature of international; involvement and the challenges to creating a repository of digital courseware that; will be accessible and relevant to Deaf and hearing students and employers across; the European Union, and beyond.

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