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Accessible Design

Accessible Design

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Accessible Design

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  1. Accessible Design Meeting the Needs of Students with Disabilities

  2. Stacy Smith Adaptive Technology Specialist Disability Support Services Kansas State University

  3. Presentation Goals • Provide background on accessibility for students with disabilities • Discuss how students access eLearning content, and how you can experience this on your own computer • Show sample strategies for creating accessible course content

  4. What is meant by Accessibility?

  5. Accessibility defined: A term used to describe the relative ease or difficulty in reaching a waterfall.

  6. Accessibility defined: • In the age of information technology, accessibility refers to the possibility for everyone, regardless of physical or technological readiness, such as people with disabilities, to access and use technology and information products.

  7. Universal Design Universal Design is “the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.” Seven Principles

  8. Principles of Universal Design Equitable Use: The design is useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities

  9. Principles of Universal Design Perceptible Information: The design communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the user’s sensory abilities.

  10. Applying principles of Universal Design Course Development + Universal Design = Universal Access Universal Access = Accessible Design

  11. Accessible Design defined • With respect to eLearning, Accessible Design refers to the planning, development and implementation of courses to be inherently accessible to students with a wide range of abilities, including students with disabilities.

  12. Why consider accessibility? Federal Law mandates equal access to education, employment, communication, technology, and other resources for persons with disabilities.

  13. Disability law • Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 • Prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1973 • Ensures that Federally funded institutions such as Universities provide equal access to students with disabilities • Section 508 of the the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998 • Requires electronic and information technology to be accessible to persons with disabilities

  14. Legal conclusions for education: • Universities must provide equal access to educational opportunities for otherwise qualified students. • An otherwise qualified student “meets the academic and technical standards requisite to admission or participation.”

  15. When should courses be accessible? • The Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights states that accessibility must be considered at the beginning of course development. • Ad-hoc measures taken once the student enrolls are not enough. • The course-taking experience must be as similar as possible for all students.

  16. The bottom line, legally: • Accessibility is the right thing to do. • Entities that accept Federal funds must meet Federal regulations. • All States accept Federal funding.

  17. Bonus points: • Accessibility translates into usability • Usability benefits all students • English as a Second Language • Taps a variety of learning styles • Usability benefits instructors • Flexible courses and happier students • Content can be more easily repurposed • Usability is marketable • Better courses; better reputation • Content deliverable using emergent technology, such as handheld devices

  18. Accessible design benefits: Students Instructors Institutions

  19. What has to be accessible? • Course management software (also called learning management software) • Web pages that support the course • All course content, such as presentations, documents, pdfs, graphics, images, video, etc.

  20. Providing accessible eLearning . . . How do I do that?

  21. The good news: • K-State Online is quite accessible • Navigation • Email and message boards • Variety of file types supported • Does not mean that every feature is accessible! • Axio team interested in accessibility • Request input, program that, repeat • Variety of tools already exist to assist with accessibility • Most of you aren’t responsible for Axio/K-State Online development

  22. Instructors responsible for • Course Content • Web Pages

  23. The bad news? • Can’t use all these cool tools? • My course has to be boring and plain? • This will take a lot of work and effort? • The university has to spend lots of $$?

  24. The bad news? • Can’t use all these cool tools? • My course has to be boring and plain? • This will take a lot of work and effort? • The university has to spend lots of $$?

  25. Use what you want . . . . . . But plan for accessibility. Considering accessibility in delivering eLearning hinges on preparation. What have you done, as an instructor, to prepare for the eventuality of a student with a disability enrolling in your course?

  26. Planning for accessibility • Remember that courses must take accessibility into account from the beginning • Learn how students with disabilities access eLearning content • Learn the standards – or learn where to find good advice

  27. How do students access eLearning? • Text-to-Speech screen readers • visual, cognitive, learning impairments • Screen enlargement • visual impairments • Speech-to-Text or voice recognition • mobility, cognitive, learning impairments • Sign Language Interpreters • hearing impairments • Transcripts • valuable to all

  28. Put yourself in your students’ shoes • Disable images using your web browser • Do you see alt text? • Does the page convey information? • Can you navigate effectively? • Navigate using the keyboard • Do you navigate to important links first? • Can you access all links and information? • Common file types/components? • Listen to your documents using text-to speech • Bandage your fingers and participate in text-based chat • Close your eyes and listen to a visual lecture with visual aids

  29. Screen readers: how do they work? • Beneficial to students with visual, mobility, and cognitive impairments • Technology relies on • Coded document structure • Headings, body text, creation order of elements • Problems with: frames, improperly used tables, matching questions • Cues, such as periods and commas • Instructs screen reader to pause; helps with pacing • Problems with: online test questions that don’t’ use punctuation

  30. Free adaptive technology to try • Built-in accessibility • Adobe Reader • MicroSoft Office reader • Language bar for Office • Mozilla FireFox • Developer toolbar allows user to turn off images, CSS, linearize tables, etc • FireVox extension reads page content • ReadPlease • Web validation tools • W3C Validator: • Cynthia Says: • WAVE from WebAIM:

  31. Practical application

  32. #1 Accommodation • Extended time on exams • KSOL allows instructors to grant a timed exception to students

  33. #1 Word processor: MicroSoft Word • Use styles for formatting • Format  Styles and Formatting • “Marks up” document with header and body styles – can be navigated by screen reader • Translates well to HTML • Saving the file • Save as Web Page, Filtered most accessible • HTML universally accessible • “Filtered” avoids much extraneous code • Offer at least two options: .doc, .rtf, .txt • Many, but not all, students will have Word • .txt universal but loses formatting

  34. #1 Presentation method: PowerPoint • Make good design choices • Slide background (cool may not be readable) • Font choice (once again, cool may not be readable) • Sufficient – but not too much – contrast between background and text • Slides are cheap. Use multiple slides rather than cramming everything onto one • Use images only when they add or reinforce meaning • Provide alt text for all images, graphs, etc

  35. Poor design choices • Clutter: things that don’t convey necessary meaning • Information overload: too much information on one page • Unnecessary conservation: some people load their slides with lots of text because they think PowerPoint slides are expensive and they can’t use as many as they’d like. As a result the text gets smaller and smaller and the slide looks like it’s nothing but text…unless you’ve been clever like me and you’ve put cool images of Santa on the page.

  36. My title is here • My first bullet is here • My second bullet is here • My third bullet is here • My fourth bullet is here • My fifth bullet is here • Aren’t rainbows pretty?

  37. Just because you CAN . . . Doesn’t mean you SHOULD.

  38. Saving accessible PowerPoint • Making PowerPoint accessible – for free • Don’t use PowerPoint. • Student must have full version of PowerPoint or PowerPoint plug-in to view. JAWS, most popular screen reader, doesn’t work well with plug-ins • Saving as Web page loses Alt text and uses Frames for page layout. Reading order may be off. • Making PowerPoint accessible – for real • Best: LecShare • Fully accessible in one document format; many options • Better: Illinois Accessibility Wizard • Creates multiple documents • Good: Adobe PDF, other software • Not good for screen readers

  39. For all file types: simple accommodations benefit many • Creating a video? • Script it. Your presentation will be better (no um’s) • Record without an audience (no dead space during questions) • Transcript can be repurposed for captions • Scanning documents? • Make sure to use Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to convert images into text. • Using images, graphs, charts? • Provide alternate text, whether it’s a word processing file, web page, .pdf, PowerPoint, etc

  40. I can’t plan for everything…can I? • Include a statement in your syllabus encouraging students with disabilities to disclose • Exercise your flexibility and creativity • Offer alternative assignments if necessary • Rely on the expertise of others

  41. Accessible design benefits everyone • Students with disabilities • Students with undocumented disabilities • Students with different learning styles • Non-native speakers (ESL) • People using older, slower technology • People using the smaller, portable technology Benefits instructors, too!

  42. Instructors benefit . . . • Well-organized, clean, and flexible courses • Improved student participation and feedback • Increased retention of students • Favorable student evaluations

  43. Everyone wins Questions?