The instructor knows and understands the implications of the Americans with Disabilities Act and section 508 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act, and ensures that course material is accessible.
The instructor provides a link to campus services, and/or discusses available services with the course;
The instructor includes accessible material, including multi-media;
The instructor is aware of accessibility issues with the LMS.
Reflection By law, college instructors are obligated to use strategies that benefit and serve students with visual, hearing, motor and cognitive disabilities. But this requirement didn't really become real to me until a few semesters ago when I had a student diagnosed with "low vision" who enrolled in my writing course. This was a young girl who used a walking cane and who was in the process of attaining a service dog. Adding to the challenge of helping her was the emotional dimension she was going through as her condition had recently worsened just prior to enrolling in my class. On the first day of class she handed me a note from DSPS and explained her situation. Feeling under-prepared to serve her, I reached out to DSPS for further guidance (I was able to provide them with a PDF of all of our readings which they placed onto a CD, which she was then able to use with a screen reader similar to JAWS); I placed her in the front of the class; I coupled her with a student who was willing to be her "note-taker"; I refrained from showing vidoes, which I had previously planned on; and I gave her extended time to finish in-class writing activities. My heart went out to her, because I knew she didn't like the attention that her disability brought on her in the classroom, and yet it was so inspiring to see all of the other students come together and support her. Despite all I did (and she did pass the course), I knew I needed to do more for my online and F2F students who had disabilities. Fortunately, as I was going through this experience with this student, I was also taking an Accessibility course through @ONE. Here are some of my artifacts I now utilize in my Blackboard writing courses that demonstrate this standard.
Artifacts Course Accessibility Production Plan My course accessibility production plan outlines the details of accommodating students throughout the various stages of the teaching process in the first six weeks of my online transferable writing course. In these weeks, I take a close look at learning objectives, content presentation, the assignment itself, the due date of student deliverables, and my means of assessment all with the disabled student in mind. Essentially, this is the careful planning that needs to happen before the teaching begins, which considers how you are successfully serving students with and without a disability.
Closed-Captioned Videos I use different tools to create my self-made instructional videos for my students that include closed-captioning for the hearing impaired. I begin by either utilizing my iMac or iPhone, recording myself while sometimes wearing a microphone headpiece. Then, if I am using the iMac, I will upload the video to YouTube using QuickTime Player. Once the video has been processed, I can begin to utilize the YouTube editing tools, which include closed-captioning. Using the closed-captioning tool, I go through the "automatic" language tool set to English, which types out my words automatically, and I edit what I see line by line, editing for punctuation, spelling and overall clarity. Here I am in my backyard, using my iPhone to create a video for my English 1A students, introducing Week 2.
Alt-Text, Layout, Color and Easily Readable Fonts When I present PDFs, word documents or Google Slides presentations to students online, I include alt-text on all of the images, providing a textual explanation of a non-text content so that students who are blind can better understand the content through the use of a screen reader, whether it be a picture, graph or other visual object. Below you'll see my accessible syllabus for my transferable writing course, which includes alt-text language.
You'll also notice that I've used a page layout that is clear, which include clear headings that are screen reader friendly. I am also sensitive to the color, using dark text on a light background, and the font I've chosen is easily readable.
Introduction Letter On the first day of class I clearly point out the disability resources that the college makes available to all of the students, including a link in my introduction letter show below. Here is a link to the Disabled Students Programs and Services that Saddleback College offers.
WebAIMS One way to verify whether or not my web site is successfully accessible is through the use of WebAIM. If there are any gaps in accessibility, this free site will point them out so I can make modifications.
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