Accessibility and Universal Design

When most of us hear the word accessibility we probably start to think of legislation such as the American with Disabilities Act or Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.

For the purposes of iCollegeNow we are not going to quote legislation– we will simply say that accessibility is important for the students in our courses regardless of whether the student has a disclosed disability or not.  Ensuring that courses are accessible is also one of GSU’s best practice recommendations.

Beyond accessibility, you may also want to consider using Universal Design Principles (UDL) when designing your course.  These principles go beyond the mechanics of what might need to be done to make course content accessible and includes recommendations for offering content in multiple formats and multiple ways to assess student learning.

 

The use of UDL principles helps to ensure that our courses are ready for a diverse body of learners–not just those with a disclosed disability–English language learners, learners with temporary mobility issues, aging learners, etc.

Concrete examples of what you need to do from an accessibility and UDL perspective include:

  • Making sure content/files can be easily navigated with keyboard navigation and screen reader technology.
  • Ensuring captions are available for all videos.
  • Ensuring transcripts are available for audio files.

Here are a few features and tools that can help you with accessibility and UDL.

  • iCollege HTML Editor’s Accessibility Checker– this is another great reason to use the HTML editor as the primary way to create content for a course!

The Microsoft Office Products include accessibility checkers that you can use prior to uploading documents to iCollege.

TIP

BAKE accessibility into the course from the beginning.
It’s easier to start with accessibility in mind than it is to retrofit courses later!

 

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iCollegeNow by Tracy Adkins, Crystal Bundrage, Kathleen Mapson, and Will Kerr is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.