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Aalto University Accessibility Implementation Plan 2022–2024

This implementation plan is based on the Aalto University strategy, the Aalto University Equality Plan and the Code of Conduct as well as the Aalto general policy on accessible learning. The three sections of the implementation plan describe concrete measures that can be taken at unit-level to realise the agreed-upon goals in a cost-efficient manner. The measures to be taken and the monitoring of their implementation was agreed upon between the EDI committee and the service unit representatives in October–November 2021. This page is for monitoring the implementation in 2022–2024.
Aalto-yliopiston liput liehuvat salossa. Kuva: Aino Huovio
Purple, orange and green flags of Aalto University

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Accessibility, inclusion, diversity and equality in context

Ioncell

Our strategy

Aalto University's future is built upon a foundation of high-quality research, education, impact and shared values – responsibility, courage, and collaboration. The purpose of the university is to shape a sustainable future.

Kuvassa eri-ikäisiä ja erimaalaisia ihmisiä työskentelemässä yhdessä. Kuva: Aleksi Poutanen

Equality, diversity and inclusion at Aalto

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.

Aalto University
Students

Aalto University language guidelines

Aalto University language policies and principles

Aalto Handbook
kuva Dipolin sisätiloista tuolista jossa istuu henkilö

Preventing harassment and inappropriate conduct

The Code of Conduct is one way of putting our values and way of working - the foundation of our community culture - into practice.

Services
Workgroup in Aalto goes Accessible symposium

Accessible Aalto Network (AccaNet) (external link)

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 implementation plan for accessibility with the help of their peers.

Developing accessibility is part of the university's equality, diversity and inclusion work  

Aalto University's accessibility implementation plan includes accessibility guidelines, objectives and measures for the period 2022–2024. The plan is based on the obligations added to the Non-Discrimination Act (1325/2014), the Universities Act (558/2009) and the Polytechnic Act (932/2014) to promote accessibility in higher education. In addition, the implementation plan follows the objectives set out in the Ministry of Education and Culture's Plan “Towards more accessible higher education and higher education institutions, which promotes accessibility, diversity and inclusion. 

The accessibility development is part of Aalto's diversity and inclusion work, and this plan complements Aalto's Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Plan. 

Accessibility enablers at Aalto  

The physical and digital accessibility of teaching and other academic activities, as well as of the Aalto campus and services, support the Aalto community, ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to access the university’s knowledge, ideas and resources. Aalto University's accessibility work is coordinated by a working group established in 2021. Aalto University’s Accessibility coordination group was formed to improve coordination across the domains. The coordination group also monitors the development of national and EU legislation and ensures that changes are taken into account in Aalto University's operations. 

In addition, Aalto University's Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee, Accessibility Community Network (AccANet) and Learning Services teams plan and develop accessibility training. Human Resource Services and Learning Services in cooperation with Leadership Support Services map expertise in different areas of accessibility at Aalto University (e.g. acoustics, usability, visual design, typography, service design) to find suitable trainers within our university community. 

Accessibility (Aalto.fi) On this page you will find information on accessibility at Aalto University and the members of the Accessibility Coordination Group and the AccANet community network.

Accessibility and AccANet

On this page you will find information on accessibility at Aalto University and the members of the Accessibility Coordination Group and the AccANet community network.

diversity of aalto people

Accessibility

Diversity and accessibility are the guiding principles of equality at Aalto University. Accessibility refers to convenience of use and access to education, research and related support services regardless of the diverse qualities of individuals.

Aalto University

Accessibility of learning and teaching  

Responsible parties: Learning Services (LES) and Human Resource Services (HRS) 

Accessibility and equality are an integrated part of the work and competence development of teachers and staff. Learning Services and Human Resource Services advise, educate and encourage members of the university community to recognise barriers to studying and working. Our ways of learning and working may need to adapt to different learning and teaching methods, cultures and attitudes, in addition to mitigating the physical and visible barriers. 

Learning Services aims to support and train teachers to understand the benefits of different teaching and learning practices and for being able to guide students to use the services they need.  

Learning Services teams take accessibility into account as a factor that promotes well-being and study ability. 

Learning Services Aalto University's Learning Services are responsible for all services that enable the smooth progress of studies at the university. 

Personal study arrangements Every Aalto student has the right to receive reasonable personal study arrangements based on a doctor's or expert statement.

Academic guidance at Aalto University Academic guidance is part of the study guidance system, which covers the student's entire study lifecycle.  

Support for applicants, students and teachers 

Aalto University has defined a common process for making personal study arrangements, created a statement template, and formulated standard practice for extending exam time (by one hour). Learning Services maintains a toolbox for making individual study arrangements in diverse situations.  Materials have been made to support students, teachers and Learning Services staff to face and support students who have a need for personal arrangements. 

Aalto University has a multiprofessional working group that ensures a common process for making personal study arrangements and the related communications and cooperation between the responsible parties.  

Student support, guidance and wellbeing Aalto's diverse and multicultural community supports the success and wellbeing of its students. Wellbeing in studies is Aalto's strategic goal, and study well-being surveys show that students who are feeling well also study and perform well.  We support wellbeing in many ways through high-quality learning support services and continual teaching development.

Starting Point of Wellbeing The Starting Point of Wellbeing is a low-threshold wellness service for students. 

Support for applicants

Individual accommodations required by applicants are arranged for student admissions and entrance examinations.   

Support for non-degree students  

Support is also offered to non-degree students, where applicable. 

Open University students and other non-degree students are informed of the support services available to them and of the possibility for personal study arrangements. 

Support for teachers  

Learning Services provide information, support and pedagogical training for personal study arrangements.  

Support for Aalto degree students 

  • Each student makes a personal study plan (bachelor and master's student HOPS and doctoral student DPSP). The plan can be updated and approved as needed. 
  • Students have the right to see an academic instructor once a year. 
  • Each student will be appointed a personal success team with an academic instructorand a representative of Learning Services (LES). 
  • Students have the opportunity to have personal guidance meetings with the study planner or coordinator when needed. The meetings may relate to the planning of exchange studies, credits for studies, completion of studies at a slower pace or other study matters. 
  • The wellbeing of students is systematically reviewed with the AllWell? survey 
  • Personal study arrangements during studies are granted by schools based on the student’s presentation of an expert statement. 
  • TheStarting Point of Wellbeing provides low-threshold advice and service guidance without appointment. The service providers are the Finnish Student Health Service (FSHS), university chaplains, study psychologists, guidance counsellors, Aalto University Student Union (AYY) and UniSport. 
  • Study and career guidance psychologist services. 

Support provided by external operators  

Examples of support available to students from outside the university: 

Personal assistants

  • Personal assistance provided to a person with severe disabilities fulfiling the conditions of the amended Act on Disability Services and Assistance (380/1987) / act on disability services (380/1987) 

Celia's services for university students

  • Course books can be borrowed free of charge from Celia as audiobooks. 

Support Line Foundation

  • Supports equality and inclusion of people with disabilities and long-term illnesses by awarding grants for education, employment and an active life. 

Rehabilitation Foundation

  • Provides timely and customer-oriented rehabilitation services that support work, study and functional capacity.

Provided by Kela  

Guide and assistance dogs  

Development measures  

Description  

Responsible parties 

Developing student marketing  

  • Applicants are actively informed during the marketing and application phase about their possibility to receive individual accomodations when applying to Aalto University. 

Admission Services 

Accessibility integrated in orientation and onboarding 

  • Accessibility issues are included in the orientation process, guidance and tutoring of students, as well as in the onboarding of employees.  

  • Newcomer events for employees are accessible. 

LES, HRS, AYY, higher education institutions 

Raising awareness about personal study arrangements  

  • Students are informed in the beginning and during their studies about the possibility of personal study arrangements.  

  • Teachers are informed and instructed on the implementation of personal study arrangements on a semester basis. Teachers are provided with materials that can be used to inform students about personal study arrangements. 

LES, study programmes and higher education institutions 

Developing competence on accessibility  

  • Developing the understanding of LES staff about accessibility and equality, both in service production and in teaching. Pedagogical experts are trained to process personal study arrangements and the support material of the toolbox, and information is integrated in pedagogical training. General accessibility training is also arranged as part of the staff training provided by Human Resource Services. 

  • Learning Services will organise student guidance training for teachers and instructors in 2022–2024. 

  • Training on accessibility will be available for students. 

LES, HRS 

Development of operating models for personal study arrangements  

  • Examine teachers' views on the implementation of personal study arrangements, the arrangements used and the functioning of the process.  

  • Methods for monitoring and evaluating personal study arrangements will be developed. 

  • Examine how the increase in workload resulting from implementation of personal study arrangements can be included in staff work plans and resourcing. 

Accessibility multiprofessional working group and academic leadership 

Kuvassa kaksi opiskelijaa tutkii tietokoneen ruutua pöydän molemmiin puolin.Photo: Unto Rautio

Learning Services

Aalto University Learning Services (LES) is responsible for all services which facilitate the smooth progression of studies at the university.

Services
People in Dipoli stairs

HR Services

Human Resource Services support your work and managerial duties at Aalto. We are available to help at every stage of the employment relationship. On this page you can find links to employment related information and contact information of the HR Services.

Services

Accessibility of Infrastructure   

Responsibility: Aalto University Campus & Real Estate (ACRE)

Accessibility in learning, research and workspaces  

Accessibility will be taken into account when improving buildings by renovation or when building new premises. in accordance with the Land Use and Building Act (132/1999). In the case of changes in the purpose or use of a building, the licensed repair work, extension or modification of the building will take into account the character of the building, the size of the working area and the quality of the architecture.   

Improvements in accessibility focus routes leading into buildings, building entrances, doors, internal passageways, common indoor spaces, spaces between floors, and toilets, washrooms, hygiene facilities and meeting rooms.  Accessibility of the built environment is also included in the Aalto University strategy.  The university is committed to making solutions for sustainability, and accessibility is included in Aalto University's values, such as responsibility and collaboration. 

In campus development, Aalto University Campus & Real Estate is mapping potential obstacles in the built environment and in the outdoor areas, planning a more accessible environment for all, and taking responsibility for implementing the plans. The goal is for all users to feel that the campus is a safe work and study environment. 

ACRE Aalto University Campus & Real Estate.

Service map of the Helsinki Metropolitan AreaUse the service map to search for services, locations, or addresses. 

Aalto University Infrastructure Principles  

  • Good acoustics: This serves everyone — especially hearing or visually impaired persons and persons who do not speak Finnish. 
  • The soundproofing of teaching, meeting, dining and office spaces is designed and implemented taking into account the purpose of the space in order to achieve a sufficiently good sound environment. 
  • Large meeting and teaching facilities use audio transmission systems that make listening easier. Smaller spaces are equipped with a mobile induction loop or similar system. All teaching facilities with voice reproduction shall have an induction loop or equivalent sound transmission system.  
  • The colour scheme and the material world of the buildings support efficient and safe indoor navigation by diverse users. 
  • Sufficiently large and clear fonts, consistent with the ACRE signage manual, are used in the signs, and general information is formatted for prompt perception of the layout of spaces and operations. 
  • Service design is included in the planning processes as needed. 
  • Reserving enough storage space for student and staff equipment and work materials so that the defined access ways and emergency exit routes are barrier-free at all times. 
  • Ramps, if they fit in naturally with other planning, are used in addition to lifts in elevation differences between building levels. 
  • Personal assistants, devices, transportation and other services are smoothly combined with a building’s own functions and resources (speech-to-text and sign-language interpreters, guide dogs and assistance dogs). 

Development measures  

Description 

Responsible parties 

Accessibility of buildings and outdoor areas  

  • Accessibility surveys will be used for campus planning and development of buildings and outdoor areas. 
  • Accessibility surveys are carried out in the renovation of buildings and outdoor areas, and the surveys are ordered from specialists. 
  • New buildings and older buildings that are under of renovation or modification will be designed for accessibility. 
  • Workable assisted commuter traffic (wheelchair accessible taxis etc.) will be planned for new buildings and renovation sites. The spatial design and modifications of premises ensure the easy use suitability and sufficiency of the power sockets. 
  • Ensure accessibility of the routes to Dipoli, which will be implemented in phases from 2022 to 2024. 

ACRE 

Ensuring the accessibility of building entrances  

  • Delivery vehicles will be directed to entrances in a manner that does not obstruct assisted or other commuter traffic. 
  • Ensure annually  that bicycle parking or similar activities near the entrances do not obstruct any routes. 
  • Year-round maintenance of accessible routes at Aalto University’s properties is taken care of.   

ACRE 

Safety and accessibility communications  

  • In order to increase safety, the multilingualism of rescue plans (Finnish, Swedish, English, Russian) is ensured and rescue plans are kept up to date. 
  • Accessibility data for buildings that the University uses is communicated using a service map. 

ACRE, Communications Services (COS) 

Development of accessibility monitoring  

  • The accessibility and accessibility  of the campus are monitored through the annual Leesman survey, which collects feedback of users’ experiences with Aalto University campus. 
  • Data on all facilities and the utilisation rates of the premises are collected to support decision-making in campus development. 

ACRE, ITS 

Students with bicycles in Otaniemi

Aalto University Campus & Real Estate - ACRE

Aalto University Campus & Real Estate (ACRE) maintains, develops and rents out Aalto University facilities in Otaniemi and Töölö. We also build new concepts and shared facilities for parties outside the university, thus turning Otaniemi into a unique partnership centre and the most inspiring campus in the world.

Campus
Aalto-yliopiston toimipisteet pääkaupunkiseudun palvelukartalla

Servicemap of the metropolitan area (external link)

All the services in the metropolitan area within your reach.

Digital accessibility

Responsible parties: Aalto University service functions

On 12 February 2019, the Finnish Parliament adopted the Act on the Provision of Digital Services (DPL, 306/2019) and the act amending the act on electronic services and communications in the public sector (307/2019, in Finnish and Swedish only). The acts entered into force on 1 April 2019. The application of the accessibility requirements at Aalto University began on 23 September 2019 and will continue in the period 2022–2024. 

Digital accessibilityInstructions for digital accessibility for the implementation of Aalto University's systems, websites, electronic services, mobile applications and files as required by the Digital Services Act (DPL).  

Digital services for teachingThe Teacher Services team, which is part of Learning Services, develops digital services for teaching and learning and provides related support.  

IT systems

Responsible parties: Aalto University service functions 

Aalto University’s information network provides staff and students with opportunities for for nondiscriminatory, secure and reliable collaboration. Members of the Aalto community have the opportunity to use such accessible devices and programs in their studying and research as best meet their needs (the BYOD principle). 

The implementation of any new software tools is carried out on the scale and timetable that university resources permit as a part of the development of Aalto's digitalisation and digital operations at the national and international level. 

The system for booking campus spaces will be developed to improve the accessibility of the research and teaching environment. The reservation process must include the possibility to assess the accessibility of a space when booking it. If necessary, the information in the booking system shall be supplemented in such a way as to allow for this. Accessibility data shall be integrated with other systems related to the use or management of facilities as appropriate. 

Digital Aalto Aalto University aims to be one of Europe's leading universities in digitalisation research and practices. 

IT services Aalto's IT services are a service unit that supports the entire university's operations by supporting users' needs regarding information systems, networks and IT equipment.

Development measures

Description 

Responsible parties 

Digitalisation  

  • The mapping of the accessibility of the university's IT systems will continue as a basis for assessing and implementing any necessary changes (ITS). Accessibility is ensured in the development and procurement of digital services, information systems and online communications  (ITS, COS, FIS). 

ITS, COS, 

Financial Services (FIS) 

Accessibility of work and study  

  • Aalto University offers digital solutions that support accessibility for students and staff by, for example, adding subtitles or transcripts of audiovisual material. 

ITS 

Learning and teaching accessibility  

  • Particular attention will be paid to improving the accessibility of the study information system SISU. In addition, Aalto University will provide accessibility support for the use of SISU, if necessary. 

LES, ITS 

Competence development and networks  

  • The development of digital accessibility and universal design  expertise is supported by various learning solutions (Aalto service functions). 
  • A workshop on accessibility of university online services will be organised to monitor the implementation of the Accessibility Directive (i.e. the Directive (EU) 2016/2102)  together with the Accessibility Team of the Regional State Administrative Agency of Southern Finland in 2022. (ITS, COS, HRS). 

Aalto service functions, ITS, COS, HRS 
 

 

Harald Herlin Learning Centre aula

Digital Aalto

Digital Aalto is a university-level strategic initiative that helps us shape a sustainable future.

Information and communication 

Responsible parties: Communications Services (COS), Aalto schools and departments 

Accessibility will be taken into account in the overall development of online communications. Communications Services (COS) supports university actors in internal communication related to the implementation of the accessibility implementation plan and the evaluation of the results. In addition, COS supports the publishing and updating of information in the communication channels used by the university in implementing accessible interaction and accessible publications.  The new network materials comply with the Accessibility Directive and the W3C/WAI initiative. Different language versions in compliance with the university Language Guidelines as well as the standardisation of document formats and content are taken into account as far as possible and on a needs-based priority. In addition, COS engages, when necessary, in prioritising the measures meant to achieve accessibility and a barrier-free environment and also in prioritising the target groups for such measures. 

Aalto Schools comply with the Accessibility Directive and monitor the accessibility of websites (research groups, etc.) maintained by their own departments and research groups. 

Aalto.fi website - Drupal Help Information about aalto.fi, instructions and advice on how to produce and visualise content and how to improve the findability of content.

Accessible documents (saavutettavasti.fi) Provides practical guidance on how to produce documents that are published online as Word, Excel, PowerPoint or PDF files.

Development measures

Description 

Responsible parties 

Ensure online communication accessibility  

  • Communications services provides website content producers with orientation and training in accessibility requirements (COS). Ensure that the relevant marketing communications content aimed at students can be found in an accessible format, even if it is also published on channels that are not accessible (COS, LES). 

COS, LES 

Service development  

  • Published accessibility statements are regularly updated as part of the development of services. 

Aalto service functions 
 

Organise events in an accessible way  

  • Ensure that on-site, virtual and hybrid events can be organised in an accessible way. 

COS, event organisers 

Rehtori Ilkka Niemelä puhuu Väreen avajaisjuhlissa

Accessible event planning checklist

The Accessible Aalto makes it possible for people of all abilities to be a part of our community every day. Aalto goes Accessible also in events and parties!

Aalto University

Online materials and publications in teaching and research  

Responsible parties: Learning Services (LES), Research Services (RES) 

Aalto University implements the principle of open publication as widely as possible as part of the university's strategy.  

Teachers can publish course material for educational programmes in Aalto University's Open Learning Materials Portal or in the National Library of Open Learning Materials. Data owners can decide what terms of use and copyrights are needed  for their own materials, for example, in accordance with Creative Commons licence principles. 

The university's research publications and works included in publication series are primarily published openly, in accordance with Aalto University's open science and research  policy.

Open science and research Open science is an important way to promote science and the effectiveness of science in society and to enable new kinds of cooperation and innovation.

Aaltodoc In the Aaltodoc publication archive, you will find doctoral and master’s theses and research publications, among other things. 

Open publishing Open access publishing makes scientific publications accessible to all free of charge and without barriers.

ACRIS Aalto University Research Information System and guidelines.

Research.aalto.fi Aalto University's public research information portal.

Development measures

Description 

Responsible parties 

Supporting the openness of learning materials  

  • In cooperation with departmental teachers, LES will train teaching staff on the open access publishing of study materials). 
  • Content owners will be offered support to determine usage and copyright, for example, in accordancewith the principles of Creative Commons licensing (LES, RES). 

LES, RES 

Support for open publishing  

  • Further development of support for researchers in open access publishing practices and use of the Aalto Current Research Information System (ACRIS). 

RES 

Offering accessible materials  

  • The Learning Centre offers student-accessible course literature in cooperation with the Celia Expert Centre (in Finnish) (LES). 
  • Most digital library materials are ordered through the national FinELib consortium. According to its licensing principles, users with reading challenges have access to materials through braille displays, voice synthesisers and other similar tools (RES). 

LES, RES 

IT Service Desk

IT services

Aalto University IT is a service unit, which supports the operations of the university by meeting the users and units’ needs concerning data systems, telecommunication networks and IT devices along with the Aalto organization.

Services
Bluch rectangle with an illustration of a pink megaphone

Promotion

Event communications & marketing helps you target the right audience with compelling content at the right time.

Events Library
People in Faculty Club

Research and Innovation Services

Research Services, Innovation Ecosystem Services and Academic Legal Services support the research staff and Aalto management.

Services
Student at laptop. Photo by Aalto University / Aino Huovio

Digital Accessibility

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).

Drupal: Aalto.fi website

Service functions and abbreviations (Suomi, English, Svenska, Johtaja - Director)

Ella Bingham

Ella Bingham

Head of Research Services
U901 Research Services

Petri Suomala

Vararehtori
U902 Learning Services

Jaakko Salavuo

Viestintäjohtaja
Kati Hagros

Kati Hagros

Chief Digital Officer

Marianna Bom

Talousjohtaja

Riitta Silvennoinen

Henkilöstöjohtaja

Sirkku Linna

Kehitysjohtaja

You are the solver – Together we can do it!

A happy student slides downhill a snowbank

Accessible Aalto

Aalto University strives towards being an accessible, safe and healthy university where research, teaching and services are accessible for all.

Aalto University
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