December 7, 2023, by Ben Atkinson
The Digital Accessibility Journey
In the post below, Julian Tenney, Learning Content Team Leader, reflects on the journey of Digital Accessibility at the University of Nottingham over the past year.
Digital accessibility has been a major focus for the University this year, and as the festive season rolls in, it’s a good time to reflect on our achievements. We have defined good practice, with the Nottingham Accessibility Practices, or the NAPs as we refer to them – the simple every day habits that make a huge difference to the accessibility of digital materials, and we have identified the various challenges for the University – and our responses to them – so that we have one coherent framework that ensures our teaching and learning is as inclusive as it can be for everyone.
The law was not written with large higher education institutions teaching complex material at scale to large number of students in mind: accessibility is a real challenge. We saw this with the conference we ran in June, which was one of the largest events of its kind, and our three themes: achieving lasting change, embedding best practice, and an inclusive curriculum really chimed with the 300 attendees: clearly this is something that all institutions are grappling with.
We need to think about digital accessibility as a journey. A good deal of it is simple and straightforward, but elements of it are difficult, and in some areas the answers are not clear at all, best practice is still emerging. Our approach will need to evolve as things change, as new technologies impact the teaching and learning space, and as students become more demanding. Accessibility will never be done, but it will become integrated into our professional practices, and in the end become as natural to us as full stops and capital letters.
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