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Implementing A Holistic Approach To E-Learning Accessibility

Implementing A Holistic Approach To E-Learning Accessibility



Slides for a peer-reviewed paper on "Implementing A Holistic Approach To E-Learning Accessibility"presented by Brian Kelly, UKOLN at the ALT-C 2005 conference in June 2005. ...

Slides for a peer-reviewed paper on "Implementing A Holistic Approach To E-Learning Accessibility"presented by Brian Kelly, UKOLN at the ALT-C 2005 conference in June 2005.

See http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/web-focus/events/conferences/alt-c-2005/



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    Implementing A Holistic Approach To E-Learning Accessibility Implementing A Holistic Approach To E-Learning Accessibility Presentation Transcript

    • Implementing A Holistic Approach To E-Learning Accessibility Brian Kelly UKOLN University of Bath Bath Email: [email_address] UKOLN is supported by: TechDis is supported by: http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/web-focus/events/conferences/alt-c-2005/ Lawrie Phipps JISC TechDis Service York Email: [email_address] Co-author: Caro Howell, University of Bristol Note : Permission is granted to record or broadcast this talk for non-commercial purposes.
    • About This Paper
      • This paper:
        • Summarises the role of W3C WAI and WAI WCAG guidelines in helping to provide universal access to digital resources
        • Describes some of the difficulties experienced in implementing guidelines
        • Describes some of the limitations and dangers with the guidelines
        • Provides a holistic framework for e-learning accessibility
    • About The Speakers
      • Brian Kelly:
        • Works for UKOLN – a national centre of expertise in digital information management
        • Web adviser to the UK higher & further education and cultural heritage communities
        • Funded by JISC and the MLA
      • Lawrie Phipps:
        • Works for TechDis, an educational advisory service, working across UK, in the fields of accessibility and inclusion
        • Senior Advisor for Higher Education
        • Funded by the JISC
      BK This paper is based on the experiences gained by TechDis and UKOLN over several years in advising the HE/FE sector on best practices for Web accessibility
    • W3C WAI and WCAG
      • W3C (World Wide Web Consortium):
        • Body responsible for coordinating development of Web standards
      • WAI (Web Accessibility Initiative):
        • W3C group responsible for developing guidelines which will ensure Web resources are widely accessible
      • WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines):
        • One of three sets of WAI guidelines. WCAG provides advice of accessibility on Web content (e.g. HTML pages)
        • Other two WAI guidelines cover accessible user agents (UAAG) and accessible authoring tools (ATAG)
    • Interpretation of WAI WCAG
      • How do you interpret WAI WCAG (must use ALT tags for images; HTML must be valid; must use style sheets for presentation; …):
        • Mandatory, with following characteristics:
          • Clearly defined rules  Objective
          • Checking mostly objective
          • Penalties for non-compliance
          • Similar to checking that HTML complies with the standard
        • Advisory, with following characteristics:
          • Useful guidelines, to be interpreted in context
          • It's about providing useful, usable resources
          • Checking mostly subjective
          • It's similar to checking that a Web site is well-designed
      BK Which reflects your views most closely?
    • WAI WCAG AA and AAA
      • In order to achieve WAI WCAG AA compliance:
        • Avoid deprecated features (e.g. FONT )
        • Use W3C technologies when available and appropriate (no Flash, MS Word or PowerPoint)
        • .. use the latest versions [of W3C formats]
        • Create documents that validate to published formal grammars (i.e. HTML must be valid)
      • In order to achieve WAI WCAG AAA compliance:
        • "Specify the expansion of each abbreviation or acronym in a document where it first occurs" (BBC?)
        • Specify document collections with the LINK element and " rel " and " rev "
      BK I think this means the format is appropriate (i.e. HTML for slides) but others argue it means resources, expertise, … available
    • The WAI Model
      • The WAI model for Web accessibility is based on three components:
        • Content
        • Authoring Tools
        • Browsers
      • Get all three right and you'll have universal accessibility
      • But:
        • We have no control over browsers & authoring tools
        • The browsers and authoring tools aren't great
        • The content guidelines are flawed
        • Is universal accessibility really possible?
    • WCAG and E-learning
      • WCAG 2.0 draft (implicitly) acknowledges that accessibility to everyone is not possible:
        • “ Our target is to make things as accessible to as many people as possible given the need to have practical techniques and criteria. ”
      • But there are issues for learning e.g. " Make text content readable and understandable "
      • Issues:
          • How practical are guidelines in e-learning (rather than for informational resources)?
          • How practical are they in the HE context?
          • Contextual issues
          • Backwards compatibility issues
      • "Clearly identify who benefits from accessible content, and who will benefit from each requirement e.g
        • Impairments of intelligence, memory, or thinking
        • The inability to interpret and/or formulate language symbols, learning disabilities "
      BK  LP
    • The e-learning User Experience (in HE) LP Fieldwork Labwork Lectures Peer learning Group work Viva Voce Library Tutorials Web resources CAA E-learning Student
    • Usability
      • Accessibility is not a product
      • Creating a resource that is inclusive is a process
      • The process must involve users
      • The experience of the JISC X4L programme
        • Creating learning materials
        • A tick list for accessibility
    • Usability as a process
        • … of accessibility, objectives and needs
      • You need to consider your context
      • What do your community want or need to access
      • Prioritise those areas – test them with the users
    • The Holistic Approach
      • Accessibility is only important in achieving a user's objective:
        • This objective does not (usually) state “ I want to read Wuthering Heights on a Web site that is XHTML Strict and complies with WCAG AAA ”
        • Create an ALT tag for pathos?
        • You have resources other than the Web
    • Pragmatism and Holism
      • You have limited resources:
        • Prioritise
        • Seek to implement a basic level of accessibility – but test the important resources with users
        • Usability of material is as important as accessibility
        • Be flexible, state that you want to support users and provide a contact
      LP  BK
    • TechDis – UKOLN Approach
        • Focuses on the user
      • and recognises importance of:
        • External pressures e.g. funders, QAA, …
        • Technical infrastructure
        • Resource implications
        • Learning & teaching outcomes
      • and requires quality assurance based on documented policies and systematic checking
      Remember UK legislation expects organisations to take "reasonable measures" BK Holistic framework for e-learning accessibility published in CJLT: Users Needs
    • I-Map – A Case Study
      • Independently of our work Tate Gallery were using a similar approach:
        • Need for an educational resources about Picasso/Matisse
        • Aimed at visually impaired users
        • Recognition that a universal approach was inappropriate
        • Developed a hybrid approach
      i-Map Web site breaks WAI guidelines (e.g. it uses proprietary formats) and took a user-focused and pragmatic (what expertise do we have) approach. Positive comments received from target audience http://www.tate.org.uk/imap/pages/ animated/primitive/picasso/nude_arms.htm
    • Further Developments
      • Need to develop a more formal methodology to support holistic approach to IT development programmes
      • JISC-funded QA Focus project developed methodology:
        • Supportive of open standards & best practices
        • Recognises need for diversity (due to immaturity of technologies, richness of usage scenarios, ...)
      • Recommendation that programmes allow for diversity & experimentation:
        • Argues for diversity rather than universality
        • Freedom to experiment on some areas
        • Tolerance of mistakes in some areas
        • Opt-out mechanisms
      This approach is being further developed through joint work with UKOLN, TechDis, AHDS & CETIS
    • Conclusions
      • To conclude:
        • WAI guidelines have been developed for a reason – so seek to understand them and implement them if and where appropriate.
        • Be flexible if implementation is difficult or conflicts with (for example) learning.
        • Think holistically! Students don’t come to HE to only sit in front of a screen.
        • Select guidelines / standards that mean something to the context of the resource.
        • Document your processes.
    • Questions
      • Any questions?
      Acknowledgements : Many thanks to JISC for funding UKOLN and TechDis and the QA Focus project.