In May’s online learning webinar, Content Specialist Christine Scherer shared information on web accessibility in course design, specifically the use of alternative text to make images accessible to all students. Faculty were asked to think of alt-text for a variety of images, both straightforward and complex. A recording of the webinar is available on Blue Jeans. To learn more about accessibility, visit the SPS Distance Learning Accessibility page.
Including alt-text on images is one of the most basic requirements for web accessibility. Alt-text is a brief description of the information conveyed by the image and allows blind and low-vision users to fully engage with all content on a web page. For simple images, writing alt-text is easy. An image of the Chicago skyline, for example, could have alt-text reading “The Chicago downtown skyline, which includes the Willis Tower and Hancock building, at sunrise.” Pretty straightforward, right? But in online education, not all images are so simple. When teaching courses on subjects such as global health, predictive analytics, or medical
Introduction What can be done to improve web accessibility practices? I spoke with Terrill Thompson, the chairperson for the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) Technology Special Interest Group, to find out. In addition to his role with AHEAD, Thompson is a Technology Accessibility Specialist with DO-IT Accessible Technology Services at the University of Washington, leaders in the field of accessible technology and advocates for equity in technology. The theme of the next AHEAD conference is Equity and Excellence: Access in Higher Education. What does that mean to you? Thompson noted that disability is treated differently in higher education
Captions are one of the most well-known accessibility aids. They are a common sight on TV screens in noisy restaurants, and the option to activate them is available on nearly every DVD and blu-ray menu. But as common as they are, many people may not understand the importance of captioning as an accessibility tool. They are especially vital in online courses, where pre-recorded video lectures may be a student’s only opportunity to see their teacher. What are captions? Captions are “text versions of the spoken word presented within multimedia,” such as web videos. (WebAim, Captions, Transcripts, and Audio Descriptions) Typically,
Introduction Content Editor Christine Scherer and Learning Designer Krissy Wilson joined Rutgers University Continuing Education for a six-week course: Accessibility and Compliance in Online Education. The course focused on “basic concepts, issues, approaches, strategies, beneficiaries, and resources with regard to the creation and delivery of online courses that are accessible to all students, including those with disabilities.” In this post, they describe their three key takeaways and reflect on their time in the course. Sheryl Bergstahler, founder and director of the DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology) Center at the University of Washington, was the course instructor. The students in