All Things to Consider

As the Fall academic semester is winding down, and we are all looking forward to a break, our focus of course is on all those things to consider and the rapid passing of time.  How will it all get done?  Last minute rushing to get content firmly planted in student’s minds, preparation of exams and measuring what has been learned, finishing touches on grades. Lots of demands on our attention at a time when the rest of our lives are equally distracting.   It’s hard to look forward, when you’re in the midst of trying to tie up this semester.  But there are things to consider for the next semester, because the beginning date will be here before we know it.   And then it will be that rush and crunch time again.

So after the end of semester and winter break rush, it might help to break things down into easier pieces and look at what can be done to existing materials and instructional tools to increase accessibility.   Consider the following:

• Use graphics only when necessary; especially if graphics are crucial to the learning context.

You can start to prioritize which graphics are of utmost educational importance, and begin to dialogue with the publisher on how to get them described or into tactile format.  That follows to the next tip:

• Identify your needs for editing materials with as much lead time as possible so that you can find the resources you will need as you gather your materials for Spring. Putting those files into a separate folder may help organize them as priority files.

Check the Tip Sheets on the Disability Services web site.  These have been developed from the lunch sessions offered in December.  Another one will be held on the Hardin Valley campus on January 15, from 12-12:30 to help get your materials ready. More sessions and tip sheets will be coming.  Also sessions will be held on all the campus locations beginning in February.

• Request information from the content creator that goes beyond the Voluntary Product Accessibility Template ( VPAT).

Start early. If you are planning to adopt a book or materials for the Fall 2015 semester, contact Disability Services in order to provide materials for accessibility testing, or test them yourself using the tip sheets mentioned previously.

Ask questions regarding the content of the VPAT, and how the results were obtained.  Remember, VPAT’s are VOLUNTARY on the part of the vendors and do not indicate that accessibility has been tested.

Give the vendor an indemnification clause for the vendor’s signature, so that if further issues are identified regarding accessibility, it is the responsibility of the content creator to fix it.   For wording of a sample clause, see Contracts http://accessibility.temple.edu/guide-accessible-purchasing

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In an article from theguardian, Gus Alexiou makes a clear case for digital accessibility, citing a new book by Professor Jonathan Hassell, former head of accessibility and useability at the BBC from 2008 to 2011.  He now runs his own consulting business, Hassell Inclusion.  Hassell writes that “accessibility has always been synonymous with blind people […]

If it’s Digital, is it Accessible? Part 2: Word Documents with Text and Graphics

No one is type-setting any longer, in this digital age of desktop publishing.   Things like a novel, or a literature book, or any type of written work that doesn’t need to be described using figures or illustrations, graphs or diagrams, or symbols are relatively easy to convert.   If you cannot find a book in electronic […]