Designing with everyone in mind
As an instructor you want to ensure that courses, webpages and learning materials are accessible to all learners. This may include offering alternative formats of instructional materials, making students aware of Lane's disability policy and/or guiding students to the Center for Accessible Resources [CAR].
Accessibility in online teaching, at its core, is about designing a course that students can make their way through easily. For an online course, this involves developing content that’s can be available in multiple formats, providing consistent and coherent navigation, and using design principles that support easy reading for all users. We believe that every move toward accessibility enhances a course’s quality for all students, and our team would be glad to work with you at any point in your project to incorporate or build more accessible content.
Providing multiple formats
Accessible content provides multiples means through which a student can access the material. One of the most popular examples is video: Students may choose to watch a video straight through, but many will also find use for the captions or transcript as a second method of accessing the content. In addition, students with a visual or auditory impairment may require alternative means of access to electronic materials. These issues are easiest to deal with as the content is being built, not after the fact (when remediation often becomes more difficult). Our team can work with you to review materials, design new ones, or update old ones so that any student can easily access course materials.
Ease of navigation
Students benefit from a consistent design structure. Having predictable ways of navigating through the course can lower a learner’s cognitive load, allowing the “how” of an online course to sink into the background while the learner’s mental attention can focus more completely on taking in new content. Our OSCQR template provides not only consistent weekly design but also models accessible content delivery, using the built-in Moodle headers and text formatting to make documents easy to read. Spacing, colors, font size, and link design are all considerations in an online course, and our team can discuss best practices and help you incorporate them to make getting from place to place a snap for your students.
CAR and IDS
The ID Services team can work with faculty to create a course that’s built to be accessible. When possible, we work with the Center for Accessible Resources staff to understand the needs of our students for accessible, universally designed content. They also provide resources to support accessible design in online and in-person classes, and their resources for students and faculty can be found at the CAR web site.
This year, Lane incorporated Blackboard’s Ally technology into all Moodle courses. Ally is software that performs an automated check of all course materials to determine whether they are accessible, and represents the readability with a colored (red/yellow/green) designation. If you’re seeing red in your course, contact our ID team to talk about strategies for updating or adapting your materials. When available, Ally offers download options for students
- Please take the time to review Who’s Responsible for Accessibility of Online Courses. It details what you are responsible for and where to go for support when you need it.
- Use the Lane CC Accessibility Quick Guide [pdf] as a resource for creating accessible documents, videos and courses.
- Here is a checklist of things to keep in mind when you are developing your course. While you will not reach 100% compliancy your first time through, you want to strive to make your course as accessible as possible for all students. Remember, the ATC is here to help!
The information in this workshop provides practical advice and direction for anyone involved in course creation and/or content creation. We will help get you started in analyzing and/or creating universally designed materials. There is also an introduction to the new Moodle plugin called Ally. While this workshop is geared for faculty and course development, anyone working with documents will benefit. This workshop can be taken online or F2F (face-to-face). You may self-enroll in the online section. Watch the Lane Weekly for the ID Services F2F Workshop Schedule.