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Are your instructional materials accessible to all students? Sloan-C Conference, USM, May 19, 2011 John E. Brandt Maine CITE jebswebs.com
Objectives: We will: • Discuss legal and policy issues and considerations • Learn why ALL instructional materials need to be accessible • Learn about how the principles of Universal Design for Learning can help achieve the goal of accessibility • Learn about tools/methods to test for accessibility
Caveats • This is very much a broad overview • We only have time to touch on many items
Resources Everything is right here: http://www.mainecite.org/sloan
Legal & Policies Note: I am not a lawyer and I do not play one on TV… • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) • Rehabilitation Act (Sections 504 and 508) • Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA)
Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 amended in 2008 • …to provide a clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities… • Link for more information about ADA
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a national law that protects qualified individuals from discrimination based on their disability. • The nondiscrimination requirements of the law apply to employers and organizations that receive financial assistance from any Federal department or agency. • Link for more information about Sec 504
Accommodations • At the postsecondary level, the recipient is required to provide students with appropriate academic adjustments and auxiliary aids and services that are necessary to afford an individual with a disability an equal opportunity to participate in a school's program. Recipients are not required to make adjustments or provide aids or services that would result in a fundamental alteration of a recipient's program or impose an undue burden. • For more information about Accommodations
Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act • Section 508 was enacted to eliminate barriers in information technology, open new opportunities for people with disabilities, and encourage development of technologies that will help achieve these goals. The law applies to all Federal agencies when they develop, procure, maintain, or use electronic and information technology. • Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 applies to the Federal Government and US Postal Service only. • However, many institutions have incorporated the Section 508 guidelines into their policies • For more information about Sec 508
Higher Education Act • Initially, the law was intended “to strengthen the educational resources of our colleges and universities and to provide financial assistance for students in postsecondary and higher education.” It increased federal money given to universities, created scholarships, gave low-interest loans for students, and established a National Teachers Corps. • Over the years the amendments were focused on issues related to helping minority students enter fields where they were underrepresented and to give incentives to minorities to enter these programs.
Reauthorization and Amendments of 2008 • The HEA became the Higher Education Opportunity Act (Public Law 110-315) (HEOA). Again the major focus is on the economics of costs of higher education and student loans. • But it also introduced some new language:
HEOA 2008 • (D) DISTANCE LEARNING.—The development of innovative and effective teaching methods and strategies to provide postsecondary faculty, staff, and administrators with the ability to provide accessible distance education programs or classes that would enhance the access of students with disabilities to postsecondary education, including the use of accessible curricula and electronic communication for instruction and advising.
HEOA 2008 – page 2 • (G) ACCESSIBILITY OF EDUCATION.—Making postsecondary education more accessible to students with disabilities through curriculum development, consistent with the principles of universal design for learning.
HEOA 2008 – page 3 • SEC. 771. DEFINITION OF STUDENT WITH A PRINT DISABILITY. • In this subpart, the term ‘student with a print disability’ means a student with a disability who experiences barriers to accessing instructional material in nonspecialized formats, including an individual described in section 121(d)(2) of title 17, United States Code.
Institutional Policy • University of Maine System • The University of Maine is undertaking a major initiative to ensure that all of its Web pages are accessible, according to the federal government’s Section 508 Priority 1 guidelines… • University of Southern Maine Web Accessibility Report • What is your institution’s policy? (See resources)
Recently Trends • Accessibility makes good business sense • More and more public awareness • Federal government becoming more pro-active – see Dear Colleague letters
What are Instructional Materials? Any materials used in the execution of a course of study • Textbooks, Workbooks, Trade books used as course material • Study guides and Syllabi • Audio/Visual materials including animations • On-line materials and content including all digital documents (e.g., word processor, spreadsheet, presentational, PDFs, DTP documents) • All content from associated learning activities that may be included within any application or device (e.g., Second Life, games, apps)
Instructional Materials that are Accessible vs. Accessible Instructional Materials • You will be hearing more about this as HEOA unfolds • Print Disabilities – individuals who need alternate formats • Alternative format – Braille, Large Print, Audio, e-text • IMTAA – people who need captioning, transcripts and maybe sign language • Let’s not forget about physical access (devices and controls) • Cognitive disabilities uncharted territory
Why all instructional materials need to be accessible • It is good practice • It might be the law – and you don’t want to be the test case.
Let’s focus on Distance Learning • I am talking about synchronous, asynchronous and blended/hybrid courses. • I am talking about course offered through a Learning Management System like BlackBoard or Moodle. • I am also talking about courses that are delivered by video conference (ITV).
Universal Design for Learning - UDL • UDL is a set of principles for curriculum development that give all individuals equal opportunities to learn. • UDL provides a blueprint for creating instructional goals, methods, materials, and assessments that work for everyone--not a single, one-size-fits-all solution but rather flexible approaches that can be customized and adjusted for individual needs. • More information about UDL
Tools to Build IMTAA • Most of the major office suite packages have the capacity to create accessible digital documents • MS-Office 2010 for PC – Accessibility Checker • LibreOffice on all platforms – thumbs up • MS-Office 2011 for Mac – not ready for prime time • iWork suite on the Mac – not ready for prime time • Adobe CS5 • Acrobat Professional - Accessibility checker • InDesign – has capacity to create accessible documents for conversion to PDF • Avoid Flash • Learning Management Systems • Moodle – thumbs up • BlackBoard has gotten better • Captioning • See our resources list • Google and YouTube • May want to stand clear for a while • Use accessible player for YT
The Top Ten List Things Than Must Be Done to Ensure Your Instructional Materials Are Accessible 10. All images need to have an Alternative Description 9. Use Styles/Headings 8. Use Tables for data only (not layout) 7. When creating links make them individually understandable (never use URL unless it is in print and then use short URL) 6. When creating PDFs, use Adobe Acrobat Pro to test for accessibility Image licensed by Creative Commons by Sam Church
The Top Ten List – cont’d Things Than Must Be Done to Ensure Your Instructional Materials Are Accessible 5. Caption all videos; transcribe all audios 4. Avoid the use of Flash, particularly for navigation 3. Train your staff, and your students on how to make accessible digital documents 2. Test, test, test and be vigilant. 1. Use the Guidelines of Universal Design for Learning Image licensed by Creative Commons by Sam Church
Thank you! • Q & A Image licensed by Creative Commons by woodleywonderworks
Contact John E. Brandtjebswebs.comAugusta, ME 04330P: 207-622-7937W: www.jebswebs.com W: www.mainecite.org/sloan E: email@example.com