What is accessibility?
Accessibility is the process of identifying, removing and/or preventing barriers to an equitable experience for all users. In a teaching and learning context, we want to identify, remove and and/or prevent barriers to an equitable student learning experience.
Why does accessibility matter?
Accessibility in teaching and learning creates educational experiences, including the materials, media, spaces, that are barrier-free for the widest range of users and the widest range of technology. By planning up front to prevent or remove barriers to learning, you avoid time consuming retrofits later on, create a more positive learning environment for all, and get to explore creative design solutions.
What is the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)?
The AODA outlines accessibility standards that impact organizations across Ontario, including Fleming College. Using the standards in the Act as a framework, Fleming College decides how to best meet or exceed those standards through accessibility planning.
What are some quick tips I can use to make my course more accessible to all learners?
All sorts of accessibility
- The Educator’s Accessibility Toolkit from Accessible Campus is a useful place to start. Of particular “quick tip” value is the section on Teaching Tips.
- Contact the LDSTeam or the Academic Accessibility Working Group for a quick chat about your accessibility questions.
- The Quick Start Guide for Higher Ed Faculty from the National Center on Accessible Educational Materials is a must-explore. It includes both basic questions and answers about accessible educational materials (AEM), and deeper dives to how to make AEM, resources, and more.
Making media and materials more accessible
- Visit Fleming’s Accessibility Centre site to get tips on how to make your documents, presentations and other materials more accessible.
- Add closed captions to your YouTube videos. Heck, add closed captions to all videos. Watch How To Add Closed Captions and Subtitles to Your YouTube Videos or visit YouTube’s Help Centre. Fleming’s Library staff also have Instructions for Editing Youtube Auto-Captions.
- Watch Understanding Accessibility in Digital Learning Materials by the National Center on Accessible Education Materials. You’ll learn lots, including that content + technology + user = accessible reading experience. Remember to turn on the closed captions!
What resources do you recommend for a deep dive about academic accessibility?
- The Learning Portal hosts an amazing AODA module for faculty to familiarize yourself with creating an accessible learning environment for all.
- Accessible Campus hosted by the Council of Ontario Universities offers a comprehensive website with background information about the AODA, a reference library with information about all sorts of accessibility, and a tools and resources kit about creating accessible learning environments.
- FLOE is led by the Inclusive Design Research Centre and stands for Flexible Learning for Open Education and they “provide the resources to personalize how we each learn and to address barriers to learning.” This site is all about inclusive design and open learning.
- The Inclusive Design Research Centre (IDRC) at OCAD University is a world-class accessibility leader right in our backyard.