Typical Online Class Components May Have Possible Barriers To Accessibility
- Navigation: Many LMS contain menus, icons, and visuals to navigate class sections, such as tutorials or discussions. LMS interfaces can often be frustrating or counterintuitive. In addition, icons or images may not have alt-tags. We can review the components of the LMS used and determine accessibility levels.
- Lecture: Instructors frequently create lectures for student learning. Some utilize applications such as “lecture capture”, where the professor is the “voice over” for a slide show or other presentation. In some cases, professors use their webcam to construct their lectures. Each approach has potential limitations with accessibility. We ensure all class videos provide the captioning and appropriate audio capability. A document describing the video will also be developed.
- Reading Assignments: Reading exercises commonly complement lectures. Readings may be connections to web sites, other electronic content, text papers, or PDFs. These outside sources may not be accessible. Our instructional designers can assist instructors to ensure that articles and other course materials are accessible.
- Discussions: Asynchronous discussions may be more effective for students with disabilities than real-time discussions, as students have time to absorb and react to their reading material. Many LMS discussion structures have multi-level threads that may be challenging to access, particularly for students with vision or visual impairments. Allow us to help you structure the discussions to restrict excessive level threads.
- Assessments: Typically, learners with disabilities may require additional time to read, process, and react to test objects. Many LMS has a function to change the time allotted for individual students or all students. Furthermore, assessment items should be comprehensible by text-to-speech applications.
We will ensure that all online courses and content meet Section 508 and other federal and state accessibility guidelines.
All courses are designed to meet accessibility expectations per your institutional policy. This includes attending to issues related to color, contrast ratios, accommodations related to timed assessments, and providing equivalents for visual and auditory content.
When content is not accessible, our content and instructional designers work with faculty and program directors to create alternative content and activities (e.g., a clickable learning activity may be replaced by static content achieving the same learning outcomes). Also, our team will address specific requests for accommodations on a case-by-case basis.
We are committed to using tools that meet the WCAG 2.0 AA standards (available at https://www.w3.org/WAI/WCAG20/quickref/) for accessibility. Where third-party learning tools are integrated into a course, we review each of its own accessibility statement. Examples include web conferencing (ZOOM, AdobeConnect, Big Blue Button), video (Panopto, Kaltura, Vimeo, YouTube), VoiceThread, FlipGrid, and a host of others. Focus EduSolutions technologists and designers evaluate all third-party learning tools using a verifiable accessibility checklist based on WCAG 2.0 AA to ensure they meet WCAG 2.0 AA standards prior to implementation. As a rule of thumb, all content in our courses and the tools that we embed in courses should comply with WCAG 2.0 Level AA standards.
We take a great deal of time creating online courses that meet ADA compliance.
The Americans with Disability Act (ADA) of 1990, Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act, states that all individuals should have equal accessibility — including online instructional opportunities. ADA requires that all online courses be fully compliant from the start of the course, which can be challenging.
We do our due diligence to develop ADA-compliant courses.