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Community Member

Accessibility is a broad topic! Would someone summarize this for us?

What is a bullet point list of categories and or examples of Accessibility?

I have been in the rabbit warren of Canvas Guides, not to mention Google search, all day researching this topic.

Yikes!

6 Replies
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Lamplighter

Hi, balexriddell@gmail.com Welcome to the Canvas Community! We have a few lessons (with plenty of links therein) that should help get you started:

General Accessibility Design Guidelines 

https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-2061-accessibility-within-canvas 

We also have an Accessibility‌ group here in the Community. I've shared your question with the group, and you won't need to re-post it nor do you need to join it to view the responses from our experts as they come in;  their responses will appear right under here. However, if you would like to join the group to participate in discussions or ask other questions there, you can easily do so by clicking on the link to the group and selecting Join Group from the Actions dropdown that you'll see at the upper right of the group home page screen.

Last, I've flipped the format of this post over to a discussion, since no single uniquely-correct response is likely to emerge. 

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Learner II

Hi balexriddell@gmail.com , and  Welcome to the Canvas Community!

You are correct - it is a broad and very deep topic.  I am sure you are not referencing curb-cuts, elevators, ramps and such; but rather are more interested in Accessibility in online teaching and learning.

First, I will point you to the Accessibility‌ focus group in this Community. It is a great resource!

Also you might want to check out..............

You might also want to check out Accessibility 101 - Principles of Inclusive Design by Jess Thompson in the Canvas Commons.

I hope this helps get you started.

Anything else, just holler! And for the record.............. "All day"? Those of us who work in accessibility have been studying it for many years. Luckily for you, the information stefaniesanders‌ and I have provided should shorten your journey. Although, it may have the reverse effect, and start you on a much longer journey:)

Kelley

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Community Member

Great replies by stefaniesanders and kelley.meeusen@cptc.edu‌, and I'll add that if you are looking into accessible design from a faculty perspective, I would strongly recommend also looking at Universal Design (or UDL--Universal Design for Learning--in the education space) Universal Design: What is it? | Section508.gov .  Meeting ADA and 508 compliance standards versus designing a course from a UDL perspective can certainly lead to a much larger discussion, but the intent of designing a course that everyone will have equal access to is the best approach.

While you may need to go back and make existing courses meet accessibility requirements, when designing new content it certainly seems preferable not to create barriers in your content for students that you then need to modify in order for them to have equal access.

There are so many discussions on UD/UDL that I won't link you out to all of them, but if you search you'll see some great peer-reviewed research, in addition to information articles from good sources like Inside Higher Ed.  I will link to one from EDUCAUSE though that brings up some pertinent issues related to the implementation of UDL https://er.educause.edu/articles/2018/9/universal-design-for-learning-and-digital-accessibility-comp... .

Ken

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Learner II

As ken.cooper@losrios.edu  points out, UDL should be a part of your accessibility study. UDL is the vaccination that avoids having to  treat the disease. As Sheryl Burgstahler of the University of Washington Do-It Center states, "Accessibility has two components: accommodations and universal design."

I do have a blog on UDL for Module design that you might find informative at https://community.canvaslms.com/groups/accessibility/blog/2016/06/08/share-udl-course-design-tips-tr... . This is full of p4ractical rather than theoretical info.

Kelley

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Learner II

balexriddell@gmail.com

Are you looking at accessibility from a teacher perspective (bravo!) or as LMS admin (still bravo!)?

My interest started as a teacher, and rather abruptly a long time ago when a fully blind student walked into my hybrid classroom on opening day. We made it, she excelled, but I vowed to never be caught with my pants down like that again - or rather, to never not be prepared to provide learning for all my students.

This dedication and advocacy carried over to my admin role ten years ago, and I am now helping to lead our school's efforts towards fully accessible online courses (and other tech areas).

Any specific help you might need, I am happy to offer.

Kelley

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Learner II

And, balexriddell@gmail.com , one more thing, since that is what you asked for in your original question...........

What to look at, and do generally.................

  • All native Canvas content (pages, quizzes, discussions etc.) Apply header levels, add alt text to all images, don't use color to denote information, use smart links with logical names, caption all videos and provide transcripts, use structured lists (bulleted or numbered), use white space to break up text, don't use tables for structure just use for data and apply header rows or columns. There's more but that's a nice start.
  • Limit navigation choices - if all content in organized into modules, then hide unnecessary menu items like pages, quizzes, files, discussions etc. - they are not needed.
  • All uploaded files should be accessible - see minimum specs under Native Canvas Content.

That's a nice start to get you going, and you can find more specifics in the resources I first provided.

Kelley