Creating accessible learning resources

Screenshot showing Heading Styles in Microsoft Word

If you missed our recent webinar on creating accessible learning resources, you can watch the recording online:

The webinar introduced some of the basic practices that we can all adopt to improve the accessibility of online content for disabled users:

  • Document and online content structure with Heading Styles.
  • Using images.
  • Alternatives to text.
  • Saving Word and PowerPoint files as PDF.
  • Using Prezi.
  • Alternatives to multimedia.

These approaches will have benefits to all students, not just those who have disclosed a disability, but students who also choose not to disclose a disability or wish to use assistive technology for other reasons. By building in accessibility, disabled students are able to participate and engage with learning activities and resources independently. Crucially, we have a legal obligation under the Equality Act 2010 to ensure that no student is at a disadvantage in the education they receive due to a disability. Whist technology can be an enabler, if you are not aware of how online resources are used by disabled students, technology can also create barriers. We have added accessibility considerations throughout the York Technology-Enhanced Learning Handbook to support your accessibility practice.

The webinar covers the key recommendations we have provided in the York Technology-Enhanced Learning Handbook (see Section 1.1.1 for Key Accessibility Guidelines). There is also a shorter, captioned mini-lecture on accessibility available as an alternative to the webinar recording.

Inclusive ethos

The technical suggestions from the webinar complement approaches to inclusive teaching, as outlined in the York Technology-Enhanced Handbook when considering programme-level approaches to the use of learning technology. For example:

  • Online submission of work eliminates the need for students to travel to hand in
  • Digitised texts can be more accessible to visually impaired students
  • Text or aural equivalents for visually conveyed content
  • Captions on videos and transcripts for audio recordings which are key to the learning aims of the course
  • Asynchronous learning activities enable flexible participation and students to control the pace of learning
  • Lecture recordings and video summaries for students with impairments affecting note-taking
  • Online spaces to provide contributions from students who are unable to contribute to class-based discussions
  • Clear and consistent site structures

York TEL Handbook 1.1

Further guidance

The University’s Disability Support provides guidance for lecturers on certain disabilities. Student Support Plans will also indicate any measures that may be needed for individual students.

Further guidance on specific operation of content creation tools such as Microsoft Office are available from IT Support.

Additional recommendations are provided in the York TEL Handbook Section 3. Creating resources.

One response to “Creating accessible learning resources

  1. Pingback: E-Learning Newsletter – November 2016 Edition | E-Learning Development Team·

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