ETUG Spring 2013 - Journey in Accessibility for Online Course Design by Kar-On Lee and Matthew Menzies


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Take a journey with us through the process of designing an online course with accessibility in mind. In collaboration with SFU Disability Services, we will look at basic elements of a Learning Management System (LMS) and identify ways to support students with disabilities and help them to more easily navigate through their course. We will describe some of the current issues and some tips and tricks that can be implemented to increase accessibility.

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ETUG Spring 2013 - Journey in Accessibility for Online Course Design by Kar-On Lee and Matthew Menzies

  1. 1. Journey In AccessibilityLMS Course Design for theVisually VERSION | June 17, 2013Presented by: Matthew Menzies, Disability Services and Kar-On Lee, Teaching and Learning Centre, SFU
  2. 2.• Current Issues• Universal Design for Learning• LMS Comparison• Course Design Tips• Going Forward
  3. 3. Who Does Disability ServicesSupport?• Visually Impaired• Deaf & Hard of Hearing• Physical & Developmental Disabilities• Learning Disabilities• Mental Health VERSION | June 17, 2013
  4. 4. Current Student Experiences• Accessibility of online documents• Navigation of LMS for blind students• Access to visual content• Access to aural content• Access to live voice/lecture chat
  5. 5. Other Potential Issues• Navigation for Keyboard users• Ease of discussion board for visually impaired• Intuitive layout and usability
  6. 6. Current Solutions & Support• ‘one-off’ processing of course materials(e.g. OCR; captioning)• Hiring access
  7. 7. Universal Design for LearningDefinitionMethod of creating educational goals, methods,materials and assessment that includes everyone –including those of language barriers, learning andphysical disabilities or any other needs--- From
  8. 8. Accessibility in LMSWhat is your experience with
  9. 9. Why Universal Design?• Unique individuals with specialized needs• Equal and uninhibited access to same levelof education and life goalsEquality
  10. 10. UDL Guidelines• Provide alternative content when necessary• Do not rely on colour• Effective use of markup codes (HTML/Aria)• Use of Plain Language• Ensure pages are easily updated• Assistive Technology compatibility• Meaningful
  11. 11. Basic LMS uses• Discussion Boards• Posting Documents• Assignment Submission• Communication•
  12. 12. LMS Comparison• WebCT• Moodle• Instructure
  13. 13. WebCTPROS / CONS of thesystemPossibleImprovementsRatingDocument Retrieval • JAWS readseverything on page,• has conflicts withjava-based navigationwithin file structure.• Unable to usebuttons to downloaddocuments.• Remove WebCTs javadependency andJAWS would functionbetter.2Discussions • JAWS readseverything on page.• WebCTs formatallows JAWs tonavigate throughpage in logical format• None identified.extremely
  14. 14. / CONS ofthe systemPossibleImprovementsRatingCommunication • Communicationsworks well withJAWS.• WebCT mail opensa new frame, andcauses JAWS toread the entireURL, but gives theuser a goodoverview of thelayout and promptsthe user where toenter which text.• A few frame-in-frame navigationalso causes someconfusion withJAWS.• Design WebCT sothat JAWS candifferentiatebetween static anddynamic contentand only read whatis relevant.3
  15. 15. MoodlePROS / CONS of thesystemPossibleImprovementsRatingDiscussions • sub-menus in Moodlemakes processtedious.• Advanced discussionfeatures (radiobuttons, text entryboxes) not describedproperly.If Moodle is not designedwith accessibility in mind,it can be difficult for userto use screenreader. Evena course designedspecifically to use with ascreenreader hasdifficulty.4Document Retrieval • it does not provideany audio feedbackto show it is adownloadable filerather than a newwebpage.• Screenreader spendstoo much timereading actual URLand headings.Allow for moredescriptive informationto be entered intodocument when it isuploaded into Moodleand allow JAWS to read itas a
  16. 16. MoodlePROS / CONS of thesystemPossibleImprovementsRatingCommunication • it reads most of whatneeds to be read.• JAWS reads the staticheader andnavigation menusagain and repeats itall when aconversation isrefreshed.Design moodle so thatJAWS can differentiatebetween static anddynamic content and onlyread what is
  17. 17. CanvasPROS / CONS of thesystemPossibleImprovementsRatingDiscussion • JAWS readseverything on pageincluding allnavigation bars.• Difficult tounderstand what adiscussion topic iswhen movingthrough the threadsbecause it calls everydiscussion heading as"link".• Struggles withthreaded discussionswhere there aremultiple repliescorresponding todifferent sections of athread.Descriptive labeling isimportant whendesigning course contentto make headings andlinks more obvious tousers when using ascreen reader.Avoid using multi-threaded discussionsbecause it gets confusingwhen using
  18. 18. CanvasPROS / CONS of thesystemPossibleImprovementsRatingDocument Retrieval • It reads all thenavigation andsidebars each andevery time the pageis loaded without theability to skip themwhich can beoverwhelming.• Simple pages soundoverly detailed withthe screen readerreading out all theheadings and links inevery section.The ability to restrictareas (such as thenavigation bar) frombeing read by the screenreader on certain
  19. 19. CanvasPROS / CONS of thesystemPossibleImprovementsRatingCommunication Students can easily sendmessages and attach filesin Conversations.However, JAWS strugglesto read out theautocomplete options forrecipient names whichcould pose a problem ifthe user does not knowthe full name of theperson they wish tomessage.Works great overall, aseparate window forconversations wouldmake it more efficient sothe screen reader doesntread all the navigationbars every time the pageis
  20. 20. What’s in Common• Incompatible Web Technologies• JAWS reading unnecessary information• Constant repetition of information• Full URL
  21. 21. Course Design Tips & Tricks• Use Plain Language• Limit the use of pop-up windows• Provide ALT text/alternate site when needed• Descriptive naming convention for documents• Description for placeholders• Templates for page to page
  22. 22. Going forward• Educate faculty about Universal Design• Modify existing content• Using more meaningful labels and names• Keeping courses open to add content
  23. 23. Going ForwardAny Suggestions and Experience onAccessibility and LMS Design to add?
  24. 24. • Thank you for everyone who helped on thisproject– Betty Nobel, Vancouver Community College– Donald Mok, Canvas Implementation, SFU– Stephine Reimer, Canvas Implementation, SFU– Fredrik Kruger-Ross, Learn Tech Technician,
  25. 25. Questions? Contact usMatthew Menzies: mmenzies@sfu.caKar On Lee: