Launch of New Website for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students at Third Level
Posted on: 30 November 2010
A new online resource for deaf and hard of hearing students www.ds3.ie was launched by Trinity College Dublin on the occasion of the Better Options event on November 30th last. Better Options, an information forum on higher education options for students with disabilities was hosted by TCD this year.
The unique interactive website www.ds3.ie was designed and created by deaf /hard of hearing students studying at third level who document their experiences in video format. The students discuss and critique the supports that are available at third level. The web resource also navigates students through the steps required when thinking about course choices, entry routes, supports available and most importantly peer to peer support from other deaf /hard of hearing students. www.ds3.ie uses social networking sites such as Facebook and Flickr to keep students in touch with each other. The website is fully accessible with sign language and sub-titles utilised throughout, catering for as diverse an audience as possible.
The newly launched website is an adjunct to the DS3 summer school hosted annually in Trinity College Dublin, which is a preparation for college courses for those who have applied to third level that year. The aim of the new website is to extend this project to make information available relating to the transition stage from second to third level. The success of this project has been assisted by the fact that many students who have been involved in the summer school have returned as mentors and remained engaged with the network of students brought together by this event. After the fifth summer school was hosted this year it was decided that a website was needed that would engage more second level students in the activities of the project and demonstrate the opportunities available at third level.
The website is now live at www.ds3.ie.
Trinity College Dublin is committed to increasing the participation of deaf and hard of hearing students. Its Deaf Support in Third Level ( DS3)project which was set up by the TCD Disability Service is a unique peer-led project where deaf students develop supports and exchange information. Trinity has the highest number of deaf /hard of hearing students in third level education with 32 students currently studying a variety, of course, such as Medicine, Dentistry, Physiotherapy, Nursing and Engineering among other subjects.
Nationally there are 473 deaf /hard of hearing students studying in Higher Education Institutions (AHEAD Participation Survey 2009-10) which represents 8% of a total of 5642 disabled students. In 2009-1053 deaf /hard of hearing students entered third level education again representing 8% of the disabled student total. There is a recognition nationally that this group of students is significantly underrepresented in third level education and the Higher Education Authority in their Strategic Plan are aiming to double the number of this group in higher education by 2013.
Better Options, took place in Trinity College Dublin’s Examination Hall in Front Square, and showcased the range and depth of courses available to students and highlight the support systems on offer for students with disabilities. This collaborative event, organised by TCD, the Association for Higher Education Access and Disability (AHEAD) and the Disability Advisors Working Network (DAWN), aims to reassure and inspire students with disabilities contemplating third level education, and will provide information on various options to ensure students can make informed decisions about their futures.