Accessibility Lab: Cognitive
Welcome to the Cognitive section to experience how we make Brightspace more easily understandable by everyone. Here we introduce you to what digital access constraints people with cognitive challenges might face, how Brightspace is designed to make understanding the interface easier for them by reducing their cognitive load and how it works with assistive technologies such as e-Readers.
Cognitive Access Constraints
Cognitive challenges arise due to designs not meeting the different needs of people who exhibit neurodiversity, or diversity in the ways they think and behave. Neurodiversity could amnifest from birth or develop later in life. It could be progressive or sudden. Conditions commonly encountered in education are Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and learning disabilities such as Dyslexia (difficulty with reading,) Dysgraphia (difficulty with writing,) and Dyscalculia (difficulty with math.) Other conditions include Autism and Traumatic Brain Injury.
Learners might use a variety of assistive tools and techniques such as augmenting the reading experience with an e-Reader or using of an alternative customizable graphic keyboard. e-Reader is also called a text reader, and is sometimes confused with a screen reader that is used by people with vision loss. e-Readers read only the content on a page while screen readers read even the controls such as menus and buttons.
e-Reader is a generic software that helps learners focus better on learning content by providing both audio and visual reinforcements. eReader tools such as ReadSpeaker and Read&Write read out the content and at the same time highlight the words being read, thus helping the learner focus better.
Brightspace has integrated ReadSpeaker into the Content tool, Assignment and Quizzes. When a course topic is opened in the content tool, a small media player icon is visible above the content. Upon clicking the icon, this tool reads out the content and at the same time highlights the words being read. This makes it easier for a learner needing additional help to focus on their course content and allows them to set highlighting options. BrightSpace also allows learners the choice to use other commercially available e-Readers such as Read&Write Gold.
The Intellikeys keyboard allows the setting up of a variety of layouts depending on the cognitive capability of the learner.
Intellikeys programmable keyboard