Inclusive and Accessible
Please ensure when providing written or recorded information to your students, that it is inclusive and accessible to all. Further information about creating accessible content is available on Toolkit under Accessibility for Authors/Creators.
The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) Accessibility Regulations 2018 requires universities to make all new learning material published on Virtual Learning Environments (VLE) fully compliant with the legislation. From September 2020, this also includes having closed captions (CC) on pre-recorded video material. The university is also required to publish an accessibility statement online (available on the footer of the university website) which outlines what is accessible and what may be less accessible. This will be a working document that will be updated to reflect progress made towards digital accessibility. JISC have pubished additional guidance for universities.
Video captions can be generated manually or by using the automatic captions within Panopto (simliar systems are available on MS Stream and YouTube). The accurancy of these systems is 90-95%, however there are functions to allow you to correct errors in captioning if you feel this is important.
Accessibilty of documents can be checked and improved by using the Accessibility Checker in MS Word/PowerPoint or by using Blackboard Ally within MyAberdeen. These tools provide guidance and instructions for staff if helpful. Changes are often not complicated for staff, but can make a big difference to students.
The university has generated an accessibility checklist for staff, based on the checklist from Blackboard.
- Closed captions "CC": text of the audio from the video that can be switched on/off (often referred to as captions or subtitles)
- Transcription: a document to be read instead of watching and listening to a video
Additional support is being provided for schools from July to mid August 2020 to help make courses more accessible.
- Making Material Accessible
Do try to ensure:
- Write accessible documents by using heading styles, good colour contrast, simple sentences/bullets, consistent layouts, descriptive links, readable font size, use images and diagrams to support text, and align text to the left with a consistent layout.
- Ensure all images have alternative text descriptions or are marked as decorative. This will help students with a visual impairment.
- Providing recordings of classes allows students to revisit material covered in class and also allows those in different time zones to engage at a different time.
- All audio and video files should be uploaded to Panopto to provide the best download speeds. The quality will degrade gracefully to cater for slower speed connections.
- Enable automatic captioning for video as a minimum. Make students aware that there will be errors in automatic captioning the captioning. If possible, check and edit the captions. Use scripts for audio material as a basis for a transcript.
- Link to e-books rather than uploading a scanned paper.
- Design your learning material with mobile and touch screen in mind. This will work well on screens of all sizes.
- Use the accessibility feedback from Microsoft Office and Blackboard Ally to check your learning material.
- Some Common Practices to Avoid
- Have web links labelled “Click here”. This can make it difficult for students using screen readers.
- Only use colour to convey meaning. This can disadvantage students with a visual impairment.
- Use large blocks of heavy text, italics, underline words or write in upper case. This can make text difficult to read.
- Put content in images/scans, audio or video only. This can disadvantage students with visual or hearing impairments.
- Rush students with impractical time limits.
- Lockdown accessibility in documents. This can prevent accessibility software from working.
- Upload audio and video directly to MyAberdeen. This can lead to slow download speeds or “buffering”.
- Useful Links
- The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018
- Understanding accessibility requirements for public sector bodies
- Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1
- Toolkit Resource on Accessibility for Creators
- Library Guidance on Copyright and the VLE