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Accessibility of eLearning at the City Colleges of Chicago

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Yasmine Abou-El-Kheir

on 24 April 2014

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Transcript of Accessibility of eLearning at the City Colleges of Chicago

Universal Design Principles in eLearning:
An assessment of CCC's application of UD

Identifying students with disabilities
Accessible learning for all students
Improving user experience for everyone
Value of making accessible content
Students are diverse with varying abilities
Some disabilities are invisible and can present real barriers for learning
PTSD, bipolar disorder, traumatic brain injury are all invisible disabilities
CCC has a policy statement informing students of their rights to services and accomodations as required by ADA/ADAAA
CCC also has a Disability Access Center serving students
It can be hard to detect online students with disabilities
CCC instructors are proactive and inform students in course syllabi of available services
The CCC physical campus is accessible as required by federal law
The CCC online learning environment partially complies with UD recommendations
Section 508 compliance requires agencies/schools to make IT accessible for all
Blackboard Learn, CCC's LMS has accessibility features. CCC instructors do not employ all these features. The reasons are unclear.
Accessibility standards improve usability for all users
These standards overlap with other best practices like:
mobile web design
design for older users
device independence
multi-modal interaction
Other benefits?
better search results
lower maintenance costs
increased audience reach
Universal Design ​for Learning Principles
"Universal Design is a set of principles and techniques ​
for creating inclusive teaching and accessible technology."​
(The Access Project, Colorado State University)​

Provide multiple means
of representations

Different information format?
CCC course material on Blackboard is predominantly text format.
Language, expressions and symbols.
Unable to determine if there are alternative forms of representations (e.g. graph with detailed caption, images with alt text)
Provide options for comprehension
Apart from the ADA policy statement informing them of accomodations, it's unclear how options are provided online.
Provide multiple of means of access and expression
Information is compatible with adaptive technology
CCC provides students with various services such as providing readers, transcribers, adaptive software, screen reading, etc.
Provide options for expression and communication
Available course syllabi does not make this objective apparent.
Students will need to be proactive and request such accomodations.
Provide options for executive functioning
CCC instructors do break down course work into manageable chunks for students to complete
What CCC IT is doing to support accessibility
Semantic Structure
CCC's LMS makes clear use of section headings
information is chunked in clearly labeled sections
lists are amply provided instead of blocks of text.
Navigation is consistent between pages
easy navigation, users can find information using few clicks.
CCC students can enlarge text
students can modify contrast
unclear if students can disable styles
the courses explored did not employ multiple medium nor were they multi-sensory
Limited if any use of images, videos, audio, etc.
Compatible with assistive design technologies
CCC's LMS appears to be compatible with adaptive technologies.
Other design considerations
CCC's LMS does not solely use color as a way to differentiate content
simple font faces
no background sounds or animated gifs
Academic Partnerships. (2013, February 13). Free Download: Web Accessibility Checklist. In
Faculty eCommons. Retrieved April 20, 2014, from http://facultyecommons.org/free-download-web-accesibility-checklist/

Accessibility Basics. (n.d.). In usability.gov. Retrieved April 20, 2014, from http://

Gutierrez, Karla. (2013, March 19). Understand These 10 Principles of Good Design Before You
Start Your Next eLearning Project.
In Sh!ft: Disruptive eLearning.
Retrieved April 19, 2014, from http://info.shiftelearning.com/blog/bid/277278/Understand-These-10-Principles-of-Good-Design-Before-You-Start-Your-Next-eLearning-Project?goback=.gde_55108_member_224789700

Murphy, S. K. (2013, April 30). Accessibility Specialists: Understanding "Invisible" Disabilities
and What This Means for Online Education.
In 3PlayMedia.
Retrieved April 19, 2014, from http://www.3playmedia.com/2013/04/30/accessibility-specialists-understanding-invisible-disabilities-what-means-online-education/

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