How to Build and Use Knowledge about Accessibility – Athens State University

The following are recommended steps for individuals to take to learn more about accessibility and to begin their own review of content for accessibility related issues.

WCAG 2.0 Standards

Become familiar with the WCAG 2.0 principles of accessible content by reading through the specific and useable information contained in this document. Learn about the techniques and application tools that can be used to aid in making digital content accessible.

Assist students first

Address immediate needs of students first.  If you have a student who identifies a need for an accommodation, you are probably already working with Disability Services on course content modifications so the student can successfully access course content.  This has been the past practices to make content accessible, it was done on a case by case basis.  The new standard will be to publish content that is accessible and can be used by any student immediately.

Get started on Fall 2017 courses now

Review all digital content used in online courses beginning with those that will be taught in the Fall 2017 semester. Although Blackboard is compliant with Section 508 requirements, the content accessed through Blackboard such as a file, an audio/video recording, software application, or another website, must also be accessible.  The purchase of the accessibility tool Ally will provide invaluable assistance to faculty to ensure content accessed through Blackboard is accessible.

Review content quality

4Review the quality of all audio/video recordings. Closed captioning and transcription using DocSoft will work best on high quality audio, otherwise, there can be a high error rate requiring more time to edit out the mistakes.

Textbooks/Software/Hardware

Before purchasing textbooks, software applications, or hardware, go through the review outlined in the General Procurement Practices section later in this document.  Don’t put money into a resource before assessing accessibility and usability. Book publishers are usually very aware of accessibility and have made a lot of effort toward meeting requirements.

Classroom planning

Review live classroom presentations by considering how an individual might be impacted if there are no alternative ways to access the materials you present.  Having content online that follows accessibility standards is a first step to making a live classroom presentation fully accessible to all students. Blackboard has a great site on accessibility at: www.blackboard.com/accessibility.aspx

Review all documents

You should also review any documents that you authored and published to the Athens State website against the WCAG 2.0 standards so you can modify source documents and republish as necessary. Site Improve, a website governance product used to review web site for accessibility violations, has been purchased and is now used to review the public facing Athens.edu website.  Site Improve reviews both web page content and PDF documents for compliance to WCAG 2.0.  PDF files are created by converting source documents developed in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, to PDF format.

Training opportunities

Attend in-person training sessions and learn from your peers.  Go through the self-directed tutorial and webinars that are referenced in this guide.

Support

Remember, you are not alone.  Help will be available to work in partnership with all faculty and staff to address the accessibility needs of the entire community.  Be receptive to feedback about your content.  As content is reviewed, issues will be found.