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The collected opinions of an august and aristocratic personage who, despite her body having succumbed to the ravages of time, yet retains the keen intellect, mordant wit and utter want of tact for which she was so universally lauded in her younger days. Being of a generation unequal to the mysterious demands of the computing device, Lady Bracknell relies on the good offices of her Editor for assistance with the technological aspects of her journal.

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Location: Bracknell Towers

Friday, May 23, 2008

Testing, testing

I found something at work yesterday in my list of bookmarked websites when I was looking for something completely different.

This happens to me a lot.

So much so, in fact, that only this week I had an email from someone who won't be a member of our trade union advisory committee for 2008/09. "I know you won't be able to send me any of the confidential papers", she wrote, "but could I ask you to carry on copying me in to all the things you find when you're looking for something else?"

I'm not sure whether to feel gratified or mocked by that, really....

Anyway, back to my find.

I don't know how long ago I bookmarked it or how I came to know of its existence. I have the vaguest of vague suspicions that it may have been the Boy Marmite who first sent me the link. As his memory is, if anything, even worse than mine, though, we may never know.

WebEQuality offers online disability equality training for UK organisations and individuals. (Fairly large parts of the training would be of interest to non-UK residents as well, but they stress - with good reason - that they are dealing only with UK legislation.)

Given that

  • the advisory committee will have a whole load of new bugs on it this year, and
  • that I would very much prefer not to have to devote half the year to introducing said new bugs to the concept of disability equality and exactly how it differs from what I have every reason to suspect is their current approach of just feeling sorry for themselves because they suffer from terrible afflictions

I suggested to the appropriate full-time official that it might be an idea to insist that they work through this training package before setting foot - or wheel - in the first meeting venue. And that he and whichever assistant group secretary has "volunteered" for the equality and diversity portfolio this year should work through it as well. (You will note that I am nothing if not tyrannical!)

Well, the day wore on, and the very important thing I was waiting for regarding the other part of my job arrived, and I was assured that there was nothing more needed from me on that front for the moment, and I found myself with a couple of hours in which there was nothing immediately pressing for me to do. So, having worked out by this time that I could do the WebEQuality training for free in my non-professional capacity (wot wiv me being disabed), I decided to sample its wares so that I would know whether what I was recommending would be worth the fee.

And I've got to say that I was very pleasantly surprised indeed by the calibre of the modules. I have worked through ever so many of my employer's online training packages and, as a result, have learned to expect that the questions at the end will test memory only. And will therefore lodge in the brain only as long as it takes to print the certificate off and wave it under the nose of one's manager.

The WebEQuality modules are a lot smarter than that. (There's a list of the modules here.) You don't get any opportunity to pass the tests by simply regurgitating what you've just read. Nuh-uh. Instead, you have to apply what you have just learned to hypothetical situations. What's even more tricksy and demanding is the fact that there are pretty strong arguments both for and against some of the scenarios they quote. So they make you analyse the ramifications of every choice.

For example, there's a section on barriers to employment for disabled people. In one of the tests in that section, you're given a list of of criteria a supermarket has decided are crucial in anyone taken on to work on the tills. Your task is to decide which of those criteria actually are crucial; which are merely desirable; and which should never have been included in the list in the first place.

Imagine my glee when I was faced with a list of fictitious newspaper headlines and asked which of them represented a negative portrayal of disabled people. (Not that this is a trigger issue for me, or anything...)

All in all, really well worth devoting a couple of hours to: even if you're already fairly expert on the subject. Ok, so it lacks the life-altering impact of spending a week on a residential training event having one's eyes opened by the Mighty Mr C, but, as online packages go, it packs a pretty serious punch.

The Editor


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Lady B,

As the person who is responsible for keeping the Webequality site going, I would like to thank you for your very kind words. The design of the course, including the subtler questions, was originally by a lady called Lynda Pearce, now retired, sadly. It has generally achieved a very high level of user approval (90% or so).

Non-disabled people tend to be most interested in learning about etiquette and how to be inclusive than mere legal matters, perhaps because anyone in a relevant job is likely to have some clue about the law.

It has always been my understanding that the newspaper headlines to which you refer were all real.

Everyone who wants to is welcome to follow your link to the course and sign up. It's free to disabled people and their carers.

Once again, many thanks for your interest. May I now add "By Appointment to Lady Bracknell" as a strapline to the course?

Best wishes, Leslie Courtis

4:28 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

By all means... ;-)

Those newspaper headlines were real? Saints preserve us!

Imagine how popular I was in the office yesterday when I said that I would rather stick needles in my eyes than contribute so much as one penny to the annual, mawkish, sentimental, perpetuation of the charity model of disability which is Children in Need...

5:48 am  

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