Accessibility and a barrier-free campus
Diversity and accessibility are the guiding principles of equality at Aalto University. This article provides an overview of the background and policy principles related to the Accessible Aalto. In addition, other additional details and resources are included as links on this page.
Accessibility refers to convenience of use and access to education, research and related support services regardless of the diverse qualities of individuals. The accessible operating environment of Aalto is enabling and inclusive as our operations reflect the interactions, learning, research and work of all members of the Aalto community. Through its work on accessibility, Aalto University creates high-quality, barrier-free and efficient services and related support systems for research, education and academic management (Aalto University strategy).
The enabling environment of the Accessible Aalto will be executed with the following principles:
- We are proactive developers in accessibility issues.
- We improve equality in all our functions and teams.
- Aalto community members are encouraged to suggests improvements to the obstacles and hindraces they observe in daily activities.
- We will favour positive attitudes to accessibility and augment the know-how by discourse and continuous learning.
- We apply the principles of sustainable development to the accessible Aalto.
The terms accessibility and barrier-free design are commonly used interchangeably. However, they differ to some extent:
- Accessibility refers to the degree to which the environment, products, and services are accessible to people with different abilities.
- Barrier-free describes the effort of removing physical barriers from the "built environment" for people with disabilities. Barrier-free design addresses the issue of access. Barrier-free design focuses on disability and accommodating people with disabilities in the physical environment.
Barrier-free campus of the Aalto University in Otaniemi
All the services in the metropolitan area within your reach in English, Swedish and Finnish.
All the services in the metropolitan area within your reach. Search for services, units or addresses, including Aalto University premises at Otaniemi
The university's campus is in Otaniemi, home of the lively community that supports innovations. The goal of the campus development is to mix valuable history and new ways of planning.
AYY has paid more attention to the accessibility and reachability of rental facilities. Some of the facilities are nearly accessible, and we also now provide more information on accessible facilities in advance.
Barrier-free environment takes into account the diversity of people in designing and implementation (in Finnish).
In need of inspiration for accessibility and diversity work? Check out our checklist for museums (external link)
Accessibility and diversity checklist for exhibitions in English. Translated in cooperation with The Finnish National Committee of ICOM.
Assistive technology - an important part of enabling environment
Accessibility and students
At Aalto University, all students can focus on their studies with the highest degree of equality possible. For individual reasons, students can receive an extension to an examination period or use aids in their studies, for example. Such individual solutions are agreed upon, during a confidential meeting, with the school’s student affairs planning officer or course teacher. Advice on accessibility matters can also be requested from the university’s accessibility specialist, study psychologist, or tutor.
Accessibility and accessibility of studies are laid down in Section 24 of the Aalto University General Regulations on Teaching and Studying:
Section 24 Accessibility of studies
- Should the student, due to an impairment restricting his/her ability to study or other health condition, be unable to complete courses as provided in the curriculum or on the course, the school is obligated to take reasonable measures to organise an alternative mode of completing the study attainment. Such students are required to demonstrate the same level of knowledge and skills as the other students.
Further provisions on the accessibility of studies shall be given by the Aalto University Academic Affairs Committee.
Support for studying
Study at Aalto, admission services and academic policies and regulations
The university curricula are designed and implemented in accordance with the university strategy, and various academic guidelines, rules and regulations.
Study guide for all Aalto University students
Support for Studying
Do you want to study in the Nordics in Finland? At Aalto University science and art meet technology and business. We believe in the power of curiosity and encourage our students to explore the unknown as well as to learn and do things in a whole new way.
Aalto University organises several admissions. On this page you can find instructions for applying to Bachelor's, Master's and Doctoral programmes.
Aalto University has six schools with nearly 12 000 students and 4 200 employees, including 400 professors. Get to know our experts in research, art, technology and business.
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at Aalto University
Aalto University is committed to promoting diversity, equality and non-discrimination in all its activities.
We aim to be a diverse and inclusive community where all students, faculty, staff and stakeholders feel a sense of belonging and can fulfill their professional, educational and social aspirations fully.
Each Aalto student has a right to reasonable individual study arrangements due to an impairment restricting his/her ability to study or other health condition.
There's no place for racism in the scientific community says the management of Aalto University in its statement. As a university, Aalto is working hard to develop an open and diverse community.
The Aalto University Code of Conduct is one way of putting our values and way of working — the foundation of our community culture — into practice
Digital accessibility of research, tuition and service
Learn how to promote accessibility of Aalto University digital environment
Digital accessibility guidance for Aalto web sites, e-services, mobile applications and documents to implement the national Act on the Provision of Digital Services (306/2019).
You can find up-to-date news, contact information, chat and instructions of frequently used IT services at IT-help hub: accounts, passwords, email, MFA, vpn, printing, teams, zoom, VDI and guidelines how to procure workstations and phones.
Digital accessibility is a shared community practice
Web accessibility enables everyone to perceive, understand, navigate and interact with our web content and services regardless of individual differences. Making Aalto websites and apps more accessible results in an overall better user experience for everyone, not only for users with disabilities. Virtual learning (E-learning) accessibility involves both the content and the platform to be accessible, in order to be effective in the long run.
- Technical standards for accessibility stands for issues like an option to use our university websites easily with assistive technology.
- Accessible content stands for comprehensible, adoptable and usable web pages and other information.
Practical promotion of the accessibility requirements is quite simple:
- Save your word, powerpoint, excel and pdf files in accessible format by the built-in tools of the programmes
- Use styles in headlines and write simple and clear headlines dividing the body text in sections with logical subheadings
- Write helpful link texts with a meaning
- Learn to writhe good alt texts: Describe the image as specifically as possible. Alt text provides text explanations of images for users who are unable to see them.
- Write subtitles/captions for your video presentations
Thus, it is quite easy to follow accessibility requirements in daily work. Learn to use built-in styles in your Word of PowerPoint documents. This simple change in personal writing makes a big difference if somebody needs to use assistive technology while reading or listening your content.
Aalto University Accessibility Coordination Group
Diversity and accessibility are the guiding principles of equality at Aalto University. Accessibility of teaching and other academic activities, campus, and services both physically and digitally support the Aalto community in making sure that everyone has the opportunity to access the university’s knowledge, ideas, and resources.
Aalto University’s Accessibility coordination group is formed to improve coordination across domains.
Aalto University Accessibility Coordination Group members from May 1st, 2021
AccANet - Accessible Aalto Network for collaboration
Accessible Aalto Network (AccANet) is for collaboration and knowledge building to improve our main processes and quality at Aalto University. AccANet members are volunteers who have agreed with their directors to promote accessibility in schools and units. Network members serve as human nodes for different kinds of accessibility issues met in our daily activities. In addition, AccaNet updates the tri-annual Aalto University Accessibility Implementation Plan with the help of their peers.
- Enabling environment (all possible accessibility issues): Antti Raike
- Dyslexia; specific reading and writing difficulties in the mother tongue and in foreign languages; (foreign) language learning and teaching: Signe-Anita Lindgrén
- Mappings, plans and surveys for barrier-free environment: Ilpo Korhonen
- Students and social life on campus: Esa-Pekka Mattila, kokemusasiantuntija, AYY.
- Harald Herling Learning Centre: Risto Maijala
- AV equipment services and development: Peter Simontschuk and Janne Lummaa
- Coordination of the equality work: Anna Hynynen
- Lawyer Anni Tuomela
Recognising and removing barriers is an on-going process requiring everyone’s input.