“Good design is accessible design”. Designing eLearning that is accessible for all people is not easy. Making your online courses accessible may seem challenging; however, in many respects you may already be on your way thanks to technology! The key is to find ways in which basic principles of good web design, along with the principles of Universal Design, can improve access to and the experience of eLearning for all learners, regardless of ability (Pappas, 2016, May).
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) includes the following types of disabilities in its consideration of designing for accessibility: visual disability, hearing impairment, physical (motor) disability, speech disability, cognitive and neurological disability (including learning disability and seizure disorders, for example), multiple disability, and aging-related conditions (W3C, 2005). W3C provides this definition for accessibility: “Web accessibility means that people with disabilities can perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with the Web, and that they can contribute to the Web.” (W3C, 2005). The resources below can help you create course materials that are accessible and usable by all students.
Myth or Law?
According to Web Accessibility in Mind (WebAIM), understanding the myths and realities of US law is important when it comes to web accessibility. The following information/resources cover key US laws pertinent to web accessibility. These resources will help you understand the conditions under which you must create web content that is accessible to individuals with disabilities under US law.
Overview of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Sections 504 and 508)
How Do I Know if I Have a Student Who Requires Accommodation?
- If a student registered for your course requires accommodation, they will submit a request through the office of Student Accessibility Services. Florida Atlantic University Student Accessibility Services (SAS) provides comprehensive academic support services – advocacy, academic accommodations, Assistive Technology equipment/software training, Assistive Technology Computer Lab, Learning Strategies training, and an active student organization. SAS has offices across three of FAU’s campuses – Boca Raton, Davie, and Jupiter. However, accessibility services are available for students attending any of the six FAU campuses.
The following have been compiled to help you design more inclusive and diverse courses.
- Resources for Creating Accessible Content
- Creating Accessible Documents for your Online Course
- Working with PDF Files
- Accessible Multimedia Elements
- Beyond The Wires!
- Additional Resources
- Quizzes, Exams, and Surveys Tools
- Designing Classes for the M-Generation: Universal Design
Burgstahler, S. (2010). Equal Access: Universal design of instruction. In DO-IT:
Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking and Technology. Retrieved on July 16, 2016 from http://www.washington.edu/doit/Brochures/Academics/equal_access_udi.html
Bradbard, D.A., Peters, C. (2010). Web accessibility theory and practice: An introduction for university faculty. The Journal of Educators Online, Volume 7, Number 1, January 2010. Retrieved on July 18, 2016 from http://www.thejeo.com/Archives/Volume7Number1/BradbardandPeterspaper.pdf
Pappas, C. (2016, May). Instructional design for accessibility: How to ensure that learning is for everyone. eLearning Industry: Instructional Design. Retrieved on July 15, 2016 from https://elearningindustry.com/instructional-design-for-accessibility-free-technical-article