Breaking Down Barriers and Building Your Accessibility Practice

  • 3 Min Read

Increasing the accessibility of online course materials is an important goal on campuses everywhere. Sometimes, that process can seem incredibly overwhelming. How do you create a plan to evaluate all your content? How do you make sure faculty and staff understand how to create accessible materials? What resources need to be available to help students, faculty, and staff? Which standards should you measure against? How do you know what to do next?

Accessibility is a journey, not a destination. Meeting standards is just one important piece of that puzzle. As your organization determines priorities and creates a plan and process for ensuring the accessibility of course content, you may find that drawing on additional resources is very helpful to build your own knowledge.

D2L has a strong commitment to accessibility. The passion comes from all over the organization. The cross-functional Accessibility Interest Group and Community of Practice includes representatives from Services, Product Development, Marketing, HR, Client Enablement, and other teams.

To help clients succeed and meet their accessibility needs, the Creative Services team works closely with them to develop a variety of offerings. These are all part of the overall Accessibility Audits service. The service can include evaluations of existing content based on accessibility standards, consulting and recommendations on accessible design and technology choices, and on-site or virtual training workshops.

I recently gave a one-day virtual training session that focused on hands-on creation of accessible content. Lynn Mack, the Dean of Instructional Development and Distance Learning at the client college, reflected on their experience:

“To assist faculty with meeting the accessibility needs of students in all online courses, a train-the-trainer team composed of 10 faculty members from across campus were recently trained by a D2L Accessibility trainer. The six-hour workshop focused on the areas faculty can impact as they design and facilitate online courses.

The workshop included best practices for making all Microsoft Word documents, PowerPoint files, videos, and HTML documents accessible. Using this training model and training materials, the college can now implement a leaner and more sustainable professional development model that will help the college accomplish its accessibility action plan. This plan is not only essential to meeting federal and state accessibility requirements but the “right action to take” to better address the learning needs of students.”

This is just one of many ways that D2L can support your organization in creating accessible, engaging, and inspiring learning experiences. What was once overwhelming soon becomes a part of your everyday thought process. How will you improve accessibility on your campus this year? Connect with us today if you’d like to learn more.

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