Module 2: Accessibility
As instructors, we have legal and ethical obligations to ensure our courses are fully accessible to all learners, including those with disabilities. We use digital resources in our courses because we believe they enhance learning. However, unless carefully chosen with accessibility in mind, these resources can have the opposite effect for students with disabilities, creating barriers that make learning difficult or impossible.
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), developed by the World Wide Web Consortium, provide an international standard that defines accessibility of web-based resources. The principles of WCAG 2.0 are applicable to other digital assets as well, including software, video, and digital documents.
There are also tools built into many content creation software tools. For example, there is a Check Accessibility button within the Canvas content editor.
While an in-depth discussion of Universal Design is outside of the scope of this course, learning about its principles may be beneficial when thinking about how to use or create OER. According to its creator, Ron Mace, "Universal design is the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design." Read more at the Center for Universal Design website.
Watch the video below for an introduction to Universal Design for Learning, or visit the Universal Design for Learning page on the Texas State ODS website.
- Universal Design for Learning Series: The full video series from the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at OU that begins with Part 1 above.
- Reach everyone, teach everyone : universal design for learning in higher education / Thomas J. Tobin and Kirsten T. Behling.This book is aimed at faculty members, faculty-service staff, disability support providers, student-service staff, campus leaders, and graduate students who want to strengthen the engagement, interaction, and performance of all college students.
- Visual design for online learning / Torria Davis: This book provides guidelines for adding pedagogically relevant visual design elements that contribute to effective learning practices.
- Universal design in higher education : from principles to practice / edited by Sheryl E. Burgstahler : This book contains essays on universal design as it relates to higher education instruction, spaces, and services.
- Sustaining mobile learning : theory, research and practice / edited by Wan Ng and Therese M. Cumming: This book contains essays on learning in a virtual environment, including universal design.
- You may be able to find other library resources by searching for "universal design" in your library's catalog.