VLEs and accessibility: getting to the core of learning
The outer skin
Interface questions – 1 Key questions: Can users change colour schemes? How? How do they know?
Image of the JISC TechDis IT Q Moodle. A range of user selectable colour and font size themes have been created.
Interface example number two. This is from the JISC TechDis website where user selectable colour schemes can be chosen. There is also a link to an accessibility statement that gives additional information on accessibility features built into the website.
Interface questions – 2 Will the interface speak to me? If so how do I find out about it? If not why not? (free plugins, free voices, what’s the problem?).
Interface example 3. This is a screenshot of part of the JISC TechDis website. Text has been selected. By right clicking (in the chrome browser with chrome speak plug-in) it is possible to speak all the selected text.
Interface example 4 This example shows the same text selected. In this case it is being spoken either by the Orato clipboard reader tool or the ClipSpeak tool. Both of those are free and portable.
Interface questions-3. Has it been tested with disabled users? If so did it include screen reader users? Did it include mouse-only users who are sighted (who therefore lack some of the navigation tools built into a screenreader) What were the results? Where would I find any resulting tips?
The middle bit - Content
Are documents delightful? – 1 Do word documents, assignments and handouts have proper structural headings? The image on the right shows a document created without structural headings, just using,, italic and font size to define heading appearance. As a result in the document navigation pane can pick up nothing other than a few bulleted lists. By contrast, the document on the left contains exactly the same information and looks the same on paper but because the headings and subheadings have been created using heading styles, it is instantly navigable through the navigation pane
Are documents delightful? – 2 In additional benefits of a well structured documents include the way that structural information is exported when you either create a mind map from the document or create a PDF from the document
Are PowerPoints purposeful? Many people are aware of the perils of making PowerPoint to text heavy. However, there is an equal danger in making them so text light that they are useless to revise from. The example given (from a photography course) and originally had nothing but images which were used in the class session. In these examples the PowerPoint only became useful for revision when (in the lower image) the notes fields were used onto provide the key content discussed with each image.
Are people empowered? Staff can create more accessible content if they have access to the right tools and training. In this image, audio, images, video and screen capture have been suggested as free open source software tools/collections and Xerte OnlineToolkits has been suggested as a content creation platform that can output both Flash based online content and HTML based mobile content.
The core – activity In many ways the most important element of engagement and inclusion is not how you access the content, nor what the content consists of but the activities which are built around the content.
Does Bloom blossom? A very simple way of testing activity is to see where on the Bloom's taxonomy your tasks are lying. The virtual learning environment can host interactive tasks such as the word document shown on the left or the PowerPoint shown on the right. In both cases the virtual learning environment is hosting incomplete resources which engage the learners in application, analysis evaluation and indeed creativity
It is important to have some way of assessing the quality of resources that are used with students. The same quality assurance should apply equally to material on the virtual learning environment as it does to material not used online. The image on the screen shows an interactive Excel spreadsheet which was developed for virtual campus in order to help assign a level to any content created for the virtual learning environment.
Jisc RSC Eastern VLE forum March 2013 'Core of learning'
VLEs and accessibility
Interface example 4
only or save
Interface questions - 3
Has it been tested with disabled users?
If so did it include screen reader users?
Did it include mouse-only users who are
sighted (who therefore lack some of the
navigation tools built into a screenreader)
What were the results?
Where would I find any resulting tips?
• See also the exciting new Discover Jisc
project led by Jisc TechDis