Professional Certificate in Web Accessibility case study


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The Professional Certificate in Web Accessibility provides a gateway to accessibility for web professionals. The course is offered online over six weeks by the University of South Australia and W3C member Media Access Australia. Here, lecturers Associate Professor Denise Wood and Dr Scott Hollier talk through the Professional Certificate in Web Accessibility at OZeWAI 2012.
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Professional Certificate in Web Accessibility case study

  1. 1. ProfessionalCertificate inWeb Accessibility:a case studyDr Scott HollierA/Professor Denise Wood
  2. 2. WHO ARE WE?• Dr Scott Hollier: • Project Manager & W3C AC Representative • Adjunct Senior Lecturer - Edith Cowan University • PhD looking at online accessibility • Legally blind, personal interest in accessibility• A/Prof Denise Wood: • Associate Head of School: Teaching and Learning • Expertise in Web 2.0 and inclusive education • Project leader of research focusing on accessible design
  3. 3. INTRODUCTION• Building the course: creation, development and challenges• Curriculum and assessment• Importance of forum discussion• Student feedback: what worked, what changed• Future of the course
  4. 4. INDUSTRY COURSECONCEPT• WCAG 2.0 adopted internationally after release in December 2008• Australian government initially quiet on WCAG 2.0 adoption• ACCAN committee: Discussions led to Scott and Denise identifying the need for professional certificate level training to assist industry transition to WCAG 2.0
  5. 5. NATIONAL TRANSITIONSTRATEGY• The plans for the professional certificate progressed, but gained greater momentum when the Australian government announced NTS: • WCAG 2.0 ‘A’ by end of 2012 • WCAG 2.0 ‘AA’ by end of 2014
  6. 6. COMBINING STRENGTHS• UniSA: • Experienced in course delivery: SA’s largest uni with 35,000 students and 400 staff • Already had web accessibility course as a capstone in the MBMA undergraduate degree • Denise: many years experience in teaching web accessibility and many papers published• MAA: • W3C member • Two decades of experience In access from ACC • Scott: PhD that focused on web accessibility
  7. 7. KEY QUESTIONS• What are the key objectives of the course?• Who is the target audience?• How long should the course run?• Face-to-face component or online only?• What types of assessment would help students?• Are we reinventing the wheel?
  8. 8. RESEARCH RESULTS• Need: to understand how to incorporate accessibility into existing work practices using existing authoring tools• No obvious existing tertiary-backed course• Basic HTML pre-requisite• Full semester too long, about half the time would be helpful• Online delivery and flexible with work• Learning to caption video: big priority
  9. 9. CURRICULUM MODULES• How people with disabilities access the Web• Policy and legislation• WCAG 2.0 ‘A’ (time priority)• WCAG 2.0 ‘AA’ & ‘AAA’• ATAG 2.0 (draft)• Basic auditing, good V bad design, future technologies (WAI-ARIA, HTML5, cloud)
  10. 10. COURSE ASSESSMENTAND DISCUSSION• Assignments: • Screen reader use with monitor turned off and WCAG POUR/Guidelines introduction • Captioning of any 2 minute video, ATAG review on an authoring tool • Creating an accessible website template and audit report• Forum: • Includes introductions, general discussion, reflections on modules • Feedback indicates forum discussion is as important as curriculum and assessment
  11. 11. CHALLENGES IN PUTTINGIT TOGETHER• Various agreements between MAA and UniSA took time• Curriculum constantly needing updating• Working out division of responsibility in terms of admin, marketing, etc.• Concept to pilot took two years• Pilot ran in October 2011 which happily went well• Three intakes in 2012: Apr, Aug, Oct
  12. 12. WHAT WORKED• Integrated accessibility into work practices• Met student expectations• Solid grounding on how to meet NTS requirements• Enhanced confidence with user experience• Awareness of authoring tool accessibility• Manage time around accessibility implementation• Tertiary-backed certificate can be used as credit
  13. 13. WHAT WORKED• Forum well used with topics including: • PDF accessibility • Good design and bad design • Current news and events • Challenges of being the only accessibility person in an organisation • Industry-specific discussions
  14. 14. WHAT’S CHANGED• Initial pilot had WAI-ARIA research task but found it pre-empted other knowledge• Students found 6 weeks for three assignments too hard. Now students can fast track or have extra two weeks• Admin processes continue to be refined• Still a lot of work in updating curriculum• Delays in finalising marks and certificate
  15. 15. LOCATION OF STUDENTS• Large cohort ACT• International including NZ, US, Canada• Largest cohort was WA last year
  16. 16. SECTORS• Federal & State Govt 63%• Recent increase in education and NFP
  17. 17. STUDENT EVALUATIONS• All respondents agree that course was engaging and supported learning
  18. 18. STUDENT EVALUATIONS• All respondents agree that lecturers were engaged and supported learning
  19. 19. STUDENT EVALUATIONS• Workload for the course seemed good in the pilot…
  20. 20. STUDENT EVALUATIONS• …but students were clearly overwhelmed in the second intake so assessment timeframes were extended
  21. 21. STUDENT EVALUATIONS• Before: knowledge scattered around beginning, intermediate and expert
  22. 22. STUDENT EVALUATIONS• After: definite shift to advanced knowledge• Little increase in experts
  23. 23. STUDENT EVALUATIONS• All agree that completing the course was a valuable exercise
  24. 24. STUDENT EVALUATIONS• Overall satisfaction 89%• Neutral 11%: likely to be due to admin and workload concerns• No-one dissatisfied
  25. 25. THE FUTURE• Three more offerings in 2013• Closer alignment with Access iQTM• Ongoing curriculum updates• Incorporation of emerging technologies• Explore demand for more advanced program
  26. 26. FURTHER INFORMATION• Course:• E-mail:• Telephone: • (02) 9212 6242 (head office) • (08) 9311 8230 (direct)• Website:• Twitter: @mediaaccessaus