Blogging USDLA 2014: Accessibility vs. Usability – Designing Beyond the 508 Requirements

I dedicate my blog posts at the USDLA 2014 Conference to Kimberly, the fast runner who let me borrow her Dell power cord!

The first session I attended was on Accessibility, which was presented by someone in place of the main presenter, and I didn’t catch the name.

He shared three myths about accessibility:

  • I can put the video transcript in when a student requests it.
  • Because of ADA I can’t do cool things in my course. He said, almost anything can be made accessible, and anything online is already cool.
  • Captioning video is beyond the financial resources of my school. A librarian in the audience shared how she created videos with the scripts embedded. He shared that at his university the department that does transcripts are two years backlogged. He suggested YouTube and other software programs automatically add captures, but it requires clean-up.

He also shared the main principles of UDL and discussion of how to do that online:

  • Provide multiple means of presentation
    • Including multiple means of navigation
  • Provide multiple means of expression
  • Provide multiple means of engagement (i.e. choice & collaboration)
    • Some asked about choice vs. learning outcomes. He suggested having core objectives that have to be covered, but then to give students choice in the application. I.e. you could have 5 core modules, and then have optional modules where students can choose different tracks, and they can also decide what level / grade to participate.
    • Reflection – expand their metacognitive skills

Finally: Good practices:

  • Check applications end-to-end (including the login page – can they tab between fields)
  • Look at every course with a checklist
  • Involve your disabilities office; hire students with disabilities to test
  • Revise courses every year

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