Making Learning Accessible 2016 — Keynote Speaker Sarah Horton
Afternoon Keynote Presentation
Accessible Learning Experiences: Reports from the Field
Online education opens up learning opportunities for everyone, including people with disabilities. And accessibility can improve online education. To create accessible online learning experiences, where people with disabilities are able to participate fully, we must prioritize what matters, focusing on quality, effectiveness, and learning outcomes.
When accessibility is not considered, online education can be a barrier for people with disabilities. Class lectures that are not captioned, interactive activities that cannot be completed with an alternative input device, learning management and collaboration tools that are not compatible with screen reader software, documents that cannot be read using literacy tools. On the physical campus, students overcome such barriers with help from accessibility support services—helpful and skilled counselors who coordinate and deliver accommodations tailored to student needs. On the digital campus, the accommodation model falls short. Technology needs are nuanced, students are remote, and particularly with open courses, so numerous and dispersed that it’s impossible to provide individual consultation and support.
Delegating responsibility for accessibility is not a viable option for online education. For accessible online learning we must integrate accessibility into culture and practice, so everyone knows their role and has the skills and tools needed to be successful.
In this session we will look at common challenges faced by organizations in providing accessible online learning. We will explore how we can best use our accessibility assets, and untapped resources and opportunities, to move accessibility forward within our organizations, with the goal of improving online learning for everyone.
Sarah Horton is interested in exploring ways to improve quality of life through good design. As User Experience Strategy Lead at the The Paciello Group (TPG), she works with companies and product teams to create “born accessible” digital products and services that work well for everyone. She is co-author of A Web for Everyone with Whitney Quesenbery and Web Style Guide with Patrick Lynch.