With the rapid growth of technology, more and more online courses and programs are developed for K12 schools and higher education institutes. However, the accessibility of the content area for students with disabilities is always neglected (Huss & Eastep, 2016). Thus, the training of instructions in accessible design is needed in order to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 508. In this paper, the author will reflect upon the need for accessible materials in online education and information discovered on the WebAIM website.
When reflecting upon the practices for providing accessible content, Universal Design (UD) can support instructors to create a curriculum that meets all students’ needs (Cifuentes et al., 2016). UD involves providing materials and information accessible to the greatest extent possible. This design ensures students have choices for demonstrating knowledge and suggests teachers deliver instruction in multiple ways.
The voice-recognition software can turn the spoken word into written words on computers or other devices so learners who have hearing issues are able to access the lecture content. For example, Google Docs Voice Typing is a free program that can help to convert voice to text. Many teachers use this in the classroom to support all students with diverse needs.
A Braille keyboard has eight keys that are used to compose the Braille letters. This Braille keyboard can assist visually-impaired learners to navigate and locate the cursor much easier. The author used to have the Qwerty keyboards to assist students, but Braille also assists students in learning very well.
When students come to the class to learn, teachers would need to provide content that is suitable for the diverse students’ needs. Providing accessible content can also promotes independent learning. With the UD approach and many other technology tools, teachers can improve the accessibility of the course to benefit more students.
Cifuentes, L., Janney, A., Guerra, L., & Weir, J. (2016). A working model for complying with accessibility guidelines for online learning. TechTrends: Linking Research & Practice to Improve Learning, 60(6), 557-564. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11528-016-0086-8
Huss, J. A., & Eastep, S. (2016). Okay, our courses are online, but are they ADA compliant? Inquiry in Education, 8(2), 1-21.
Web AIM (n.d.). Microsoft Word. WebAIM. https://webaim.org/techniques/word/