Accessibility conversations can get a little scary. We could talk about Harvard and MIT finding themselves in court over free online classes, (and here). I could tell you about Miami University and Penn State, or you could have a look at these recent settlements and pick your own. There are serious things we must consider regarding serving students with disabilities. But right now, I think the best thing to do is to talk about Santa.
Continuing our look at accessibility challenges, we look at inaccessible external websites, strict time constraints on exams, unclear or non-descriptive course content, and course content without proper headings and styles for navigation.
In part 1 of our look at accessibility challenges, we examine unclear navigation or inconsistent course designs, audio content without a transcript or text alternative, unclear or not meaningful links, images with no alternative text, colors used for instructional purposes, and videos without captioning.
Headings are a critical, but often overlooked, aspect of creating accessible content in Blackboard. Headers “provide screen reader users the ability to jump directly to specific content,” which allows them to navigate through content at their own pace.
You may have noticed the increased focus on the word “accessibility” in the last year. Wichita State, like most other universities, is seeing a shift toward the concepts of accessibility and universal design for learning (UDL) as we enrich our idea of “accommodation” and move from being primarily reactive to proactive in course design.
About a month ago, I wrote a blog about accessibility. The focus being on the idea that accessibility is Not Just Tech. When talking about accessibility, I am not just describing the ability to retrieve information or resources, but the ability to use and understand those resources and materials. Accessibility is about more than just technical solutions to inaccessible information. It’s about ensuring that every student has an equal opportunity to be successful.
YouTube is both a blessing and a curse for online learning. YouTube hosts thousands and thousands of great educational videos aimed for higher ed learning, and their topics range from introductory algebra to advanced business management. Any instructor could find supplementary material for their students via YouTube. Unfortunately, most of these videos do not meet federal accessibility standards.
What IDT would like to do is give you some important things to consider as you make your decision about whether to stick with a text you have been using or switch to a new one. We are big fans of Open Educational Resources (OERs), for one thing, but whether you’re considering an open resource or a traditional publisher textbook, it will be come more and more important to ensure that the text you choose is available in an accessible format for students with disabilities.
During the next few weeks professors of fully online courses will continue to receive letters outlining recommendations from the Spring, 2016 online course audit. We have had some questions about the audit process, so I thought it was a good idea to outline exactly what happens when your course is audited using the Friendly Audit process.