Accessibility illustration

December 11, 2021, by Helen Whitehead

Advent calendar #11: Free practical Accessibility webinars

Thinking of New Years’ Resolutions yet? One of them has to be to improve the accessibility of your students’ learning materials. Get ready to improve your accessibility knowledge in January with these free webinars. Book them now?

It is now three years since the Public Sector Bodies Accessibility Regulations required colleges and universities to “meet the accessibility requirement” on the digital tools and content used by staff and students. Some organisations have made strong progress in making the cultural change required and ensuring all staff have appropriate awareness and training for their roles.

But most organisations are still playing catch up.

Because staff lack awareness or training in digital accessibility, many organisations are accruing “technical debt” – inaccessible content that poses a greater and greater legal risk. More to the point, many students continue to have their progress and confidence undermined by inaccessible content that creates needless barriers.

Education and training foundation logoThis January, the Education and Training Foundation are running a series of free one-hour accessibility webinars. This suite of free accessibility webinars will translate the often obscure world of digital accessibility into a plain-English, teaching-relevant context. It focuses on

  • what matters,
  • why it matters and
  • how you can easily check it.

It won’t make you an instant expert but it will help you identify your strengths and weaknesses, highlight any training needs and point you to free resources that can help on your journey to an improved experience for all learners. The sessions will be recorded – so please don’t register if you know you can’t come since you may be taking the place of someone who can.

The sessions and dates most suitable for university teachers are as below:

Teacher-based auditing – part 1: Ways of working to maximise navigation and comfort

18/01/2022 from 12:00 – 13:00 – Register for Teacher based auditing – part 1

Audience: Teachers / trainers, heads of department. Anyone responsible for training.

How to check the resources you make. Key accessibility practices that enable learners to navigate through resources more efficiently and read the more comfortably. What are the accessibility requirements with headings? Hyperlinks? Lists and tables? How do you test them? How do you remediate them? How can fonts, colours and layout make reading more comfortable? How does the format you provide influence the learner experience?

Teacher-based auditing 2: Ways of working to maximise meaning and understanding

20/01/2022 from 12:00 – 13:00 – Register for Teacher based auditing – part 2

Audience: Teachers / trainers, heads of department. Anyone responsible for training.

What are the accessibility requirements that make content easier to understand or more meaningful to people with sensory disabilities? How to check for reading level. How to check content works with text to speech and reads in a logical order. Practical (and achievable) advice on dealing with images, audio, video and tables so they make more sense to more learners.

Introduction to assistive technology

24/01/2022 from 12:00 – 13:00 – Register for Introduction to assistive technology

Audience: Learning support teams, study skills tutors, e-learning teams, heads of subject, teachers/trainers.

Make learners more independent and productive with free and inbuilt assistive technology tools. Know how and when to add value through commercial tools.  What assistive technologies are already free and built into your existing tools? How can you promote these more effectively to learners? What do you gain by paying more for commercial versions of text to speech, voice recognition or mind mapping? An introduction to free screen readers and how you can use them to support accessibility audits.

Tool-based auditing 1 – keyboard accessibility

27/01/2022 from 12:00 – 13:00 – Register for Auditing keyboard accessibility

Audience: IT directors, heads of marketing, e-learning teams, heads of subject, teachers and trainers.

How to test your key platforms for common accessibility failures, including screenreader basics. How to test your website, VLE and other key platforms to check their accessibility for keyboard-only users, including basic screenreader testing. Identify common compliance failures on websites that significantly impact usability. Understand key concepts that need taken back to your developers.

Tool-based auditing 2 – key tests for new tools

31/01/2022 from 12:00 – 13:00 – Register for Tool based audits – checks for new tools

Audience: E-learning teams, procurement teams, heads of subject, teachers and trainers.

How to avoid the hidden costs of inaccessible tools and systems. What are the key accessibility checks to verify supplier’s accessibility claims? What are the key things to look for when you invest in a new platform or a new tool to use with your learners? What matters and how you can check for it. Key questions to ask suppliers. Communicating meaningful accessibility information to your learners.

Advent  Calendar 2021

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