Enthusiastic support for Brightspace
Kamps, who helped lead the search for an accessible platform in 2011, knew the best judges would be those students and faculty with disabilities. She assembled a team and had them take Brightspace for a test drive.
She was taken aback by their enthusiastic support: “I asked what was behind the wonderful reaction and they told me that when they used a screen reader on Brightspace they could get to everything. D2L has put an enormous amount of time and effort into making sure buttons and links are labeled correctly so they work with screen readers, and it makes a big difference.”
A dedicated team and collaboration
Confident that they had chosen the right platform, the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) at SFASU pushed the envelope even further and created a dedicated student support team that was well versed in accessibility matters. “What a student needs on a day-to-day basis, such as getting a screen reader to read email right, those kinds of things go to our Brightspace support team,” says Kamps.
Being proactive, though, requires planning—and that takes collaboration. To that end, the CTL has reached out to Office of Disability Studies (ODS) to create a partnership. “We meet formally at least once a month to keep track of our successes and our challenges,” says Kamps. “It’s very useful because when students go to ODS they may need one kind of accommodation, and then need something else from us. If we all work together it’s a smoother process.”
Multiple ways to provide the right kind of help
A key feature of SFASU’s accessibility plan is providing a variety of channels for support. If you need help you can pick up the phone, send an email, or visit a website to watch video tutorials created to address SFASU’s unique course needs. All the bases are covered.
“We wanted to make sure we had not just one way of getting information out, but multiple ways,” says Kamps. “It’s about personal preferences and it plays into learning styles as well.”
Teachers are an important point of contact
Because instructors play a crucial role in ensuring a positive learning experience for students, SFASU insists that faculty members understand online accessibility issues. In addition, all of their online course materials must be accessible—or the course will not be approved.