Tag Archives: Accessibility

ACCESSIBILITY IN pRACTICE , workshop FEEDBACK

Do you want to hear about quick wins to create accessible documents, use accessibility checkers and experience how some of your learners adapt and work with digital content?

The Accessibility in Practice workshop covers this and more. You can book your place now from a range of dates over the next couple of months.

Victoria Rafferty, Learning Development Officer in the Writing Development Centre came along to one of these workshops. Find out what she thought below.

‘The accessibility training sessions provided the timely opportunity to become more aware of issues and techniques when making resources accessible.  By working with techniques demonstrated and discussed in the workshops, we’ve constructed a new range of study guides.  These sessions were important as we need to ensure that our study guides are suitable for students across the university’.

Victoria Rafferty, Learning Development Officer, Writing Development Centre

Victoria Rafferty

View an example of one of the study guides developed following the workshop, demonstrating good practice in designing accessible documents.

If you need further information about accessibility take a look at the LTDS website or get in touch at LTDS@ncl.ac.uk

Accessible digital content and systems

The University is carrying out work to improve the digital accessibility of systems and content across the institution. This includes the module content with Blackboard.

This work started with the Art of the Possible week in July 2019. This week of activity showcased some of the great work already underway in this area and provided useful practical CPD sessions for staff to engage with.

This is being followed by visits to academic units during this academic year to inform them of the benefits and ease of accessible content within Blackboard, and other TEL systems. These visits have started and will continue through Semester 1.

The accessibility in practice workshop that has been developed alongside the Student Wellbeing service the helps staff learn how to create accessible and inclusive learning and teaching resources will be offered to each academic unit, as well as being run centrally.

Other work reported on previously will continue throughout the academic year.

Some useful resources

The new accessibility regulations – what does this mean for the University?

By Graeme Redshaw-Boxwell, Learning Enhancement and Technology Team Manager

What are the new requirements?

In September 2019, the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No.2) Accessibility Regulations 2018 comes into effect in the UK. These regulations attempt to ensure that all students have equal and fair access to learning opportunities without any barriers as a result of a disability. This covers websites, services and content.

The University recognises that compliance with the Regulations will not happen immediately. A staged programme of work will embed training on compliance for new learning and teaching websites/service and content within the existing Learning and Teaching Development Programme which will be available both as open workshops and bespoke school/service based sessions. The trajectory for compliance is detailed below.

What is the University doing for the start of 2019/20?

Each website/system requires an accessibility statement, providing information about the accessibility of individual websites/systems. The Learning and Teaching Development Service will co-ordinate the creation of accessibility statements across all central University learning and teaching systems. This includes Blackboard, MLE, ePortfolio and others. All centrally supported teaching and learning systems will have an accessibility statement by September 2019.

What do academic units/services need to do for the start of 2019/20?

No specific actions are required for the start of the next academic year. Individuals should consider how they can make any new learning and teaching content accessible, and to start to change practice when creating content in readiness for 2020/21.

What will happen in 2019/20 to make us more compliant for 2020/21?

  •  The new Learning and Teaching Development Programme has Accessibility in Practice workshops that support academic and professional services staff in how to create accessible and inclusive learning and teaching resources. There are some simple tools built in to familiar desktop tools, such as Microsoft Office, that will help to create and check the accessibility of resources.
  • There are some small simple changes staff can make that will help all students on their programme, not only students with a disability. LTDS will prepare a range of online how to guides that will support staff in the creation of accessible documents.
  •  As part of the rollout of the new VLE, LTDS will run a large number of training sessions. The creation of accessible content will be embedded within these sessions.
  • The Newcastle Education Practice Scheme (NEPS) is the replacement for the CASAP programme. Accessibility and inclusion will be a core element, and the creation of accessible resources will be part of the programme.
  • We will renew the University site license for Sensus Access which enables staff and students to easily convert documents into an accessible format. Many file formats are supported, including the main Microsoft Office document types. Use of this tool will be built into the workshops detailed above.
    For further information please email ltds@ncl.ac.uk

The Art of the Possible

Thank you to everyone who took part in the launch of the Education Strategy Series ‘The Art of the Possible’ on 1-5 July 2019. It was excellent to see so many staff from across the campus engaging with this first week of activities under the theme Technology Enhanced Learning.

Throughout the week we explored The Art of Accessible and Inclusive Digital Content through interactive practical workshops, lightning talks showcasing some excellent approaches to creating accessible and flexible resources, and video case studies. We also welcomed Alistair McNaught, Subject Specialist in  Accessibility and Inclusion on Thursday 4 July. Alistair delivered a mixture of practical, strategic and collaborative sessions to raise awareness and confidence in digital accessibility, and the new public sector web accessibility legislation.

Feedback from all of the events was really positive. Some of the most valuable aspects were: Continue reading The Art of the Possible

The Art of the Possible: Case Study

Dr Chloe Duckworth from the School of History, Classics and Archaeology has used engaging, bespoke online resources and a range of practical group activities to create a relaxed learning environment for her students.

Find out more from Chloe in the video below as she describes how she considers accessibility issues  and ensures an inclusive approach to teaching.

If you are interested in reading more about Chloe’s case study or other case studies of effective practice take a look at the case studies website.

 

Introducing ‘The Art of the Possible’

Professor Suzanne Cholerton, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Education, introduces this brand new series of Education Strategy focussed events, showcasing ‘The Art of the Possible’.

This first week focusses on Technology Enhanced Learning given our commitment in the Education Strategy to an educational experience supported and enhanced by technology.

Find out more from Professor Cholerton in the video below.

All events and activities will be delivered in a light, fun and adventurous way and we are looking forward to engaging with colleagues from across the University. Take a look at the programme and find out how to register.

If you are interested in future ‘The Art of the Possible’  events and other learning and teaching news, events and case studies sign up to the learning and teaching newsletter.

#nclpossible

Accessibility for everyone: Alistair McNaught, Subject Specialist, Accessibility and Inclusion

Alistair McNaught,  Subject Specialist, Accessibility and Inclusion

A long time coming…

Disability legislation has required organisations to make “reasonable adjustments” for disabled people since 1995. Unfortunately, the legislation did not define what a reasonable adjustment might look like. For the next 23 years, equalities legislation tried to improve the lived experience of disabled people, but without clarity about what was ‘reasonable’ it often failed. Many disabled students drop out of University courses not because the intellectual challenge is too hard, but because negotiating the basic resources is a daily uphill struggle.

The new public sector web accessibility legislation changes everything. For the first time ever it makes a concrete link between a failure to make a reasonable adjustment and a failure to meet the “accessibility requirement” for websites, VLEs and VLE content. The accessibility requirement for digital content is well established – so it’s very easy to tell if resources fail the ‘reasonable adjustment’ test.

Competence more than compliance

This does not mean not every teaching professional now has to become an accessibility professional, any more than an academic referencing a paper is expected to be an information professional. What it does mean is that professional communicators are expected to communicate using conventions and practices that minimise barriers. With a significant proportion of teaching staff having self-taught IT skills it’s little surprise that we don’t always know the best way to make our resources accessible. But the relevant skills are learned very quickly. They also benefit considerably more students than the 10% with visible or invisible disabilities.

Accessibility for everyone

For too many years, accessibility has “belonged to” the disability support team. This is as unrealistic as hygiene in a restaurant belonging to the chef, with nobody else having awareness of training. Higher education institutions have complex digital ecosystems and accessibility needs to be a ‘hygiene factor’ that threads through the organisation’s policy and practice. The encouraging thing is that the vast majority of accessibility is a combination of good design, good practice, good resources, good pedagogy and good procurement policies. What is there not to like?

Find out more

In the Education Strategy Series: The Art of the Possible, Alistair McNaught will work with different groups of staff in the University to try to do what accessibility should do for everyone: enlighten, empower, support and inspire. Bring your own experience, skill and ambition – the catalysts for culture change.

Find out more about the events and book your place.

Accessibility Stocking Fillers

Do you want to find out how to make your content accessible for everyone?

In our latest 3Ps we covered a range of accessibility tools and tips to ensure that we can quickly and easily make new and existing materials accessible to everyone.

In the session we covered three topics:

  • How to use styles, colours, alt text to create accessible content.
  • Tools available to students and staff so make content accessible and support the
  • Some of the frustrations staff and students might experience and how to overcome them.

If you weren’t able to attend the session you can have a go and test your accessibility knowledge with the Accessibility Checking Activities.

Resources

Microsoft Office

The Microsoft Office Accessibility Center is a great place to look for handy guides on producing accessible Office documents with out of the box accessible templates. Microsoft Office is available for free to all staff and students and has some great Microsoft Accessibility Features built in.

Adobe Acrobat PDFs

Staff and Students have access to Adobe Acrobat Pro from University Machines. Acrobat has a built in PDF Accessibility Checker which can automatically fix issues with your PDFs and also advise you on why certain elements aren’t accessible.

Video Captions

The session focused mainly of text and images but if you’d like to find out more about creating accessible audio and video content you check out our blog post on creating captions.

On Campus

For disabled users accessing IT services on campus we offer specialist software and hardware available to staff and students via our Easy Access Accessibility Service.

Printable Checklists

Download and print copies of our A4 checklists for Word, Powerpoint, PDFs and Blackboard and keep them with you for quick reference.

What support is available?

The Student Health and Wellbeing Service provides information, advice and guidance on a wide range of student support issues, helping students to maximise their potential whilst at university.

If you have any queries about creating accessible content get in touch with us and we’ll be happy to offer advice and guidance – contact LTDS@ncl.ac.uk

NUTELA 3Ps – Dialogues

At NUTELA (Newcastle University Technology Enhanced Learning Advocates) 3Ps workshop this week, we were learning about how to make really excellent resources for all of our students.

change-timingsAs both teachers and as researchers, we spend lots of time creating digital resources, how can we build in accessibility so that they can be used by the widest group of people?

For this session we explored a number of ideas:

  • Documents are best when they have text (not pictures of text), structure, and a sensible reading order.
    – We explored this with a hands-on exercise looking at pdf accessibility.
  • Videos are much more accessible and useful when they have a transcript and subtitles.
    – We had a look at how easy it is to add transcripts to YouTube.
  • Images can convey information powerfully, but how can we make these useful to people with little or no sight?
    – We explored the use of images in a Sway.

You can read more about the sessions and learn how to make resources for all at the NUTELA blog.

For more information about NUTELA or to join our mailing list email us.

NUTELA 3Ps: Dialogues

The next 3Ps: Pizza Pop and Practice workshop will take place on 29th November 2016.

3ps-dialoguesThe topic is ‘Dialogues’ and draws together sessions on storytelling using Microsoft Sway and the complexities of designing materials accessible to all students.

The event will take place between 12 and 2pm in the Hope and Tees Clusters of the Robinson Library.

There will, of course, be pizza and pop available before the workshops begin.

Please do register here.

We look forward to seeing you there!