Accessibility

The Special School District promotes course strategies and materials with accessibility to enhance the learning experience of students with different learning styles and abilities. Instructors can achieve this by practicing the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) standards. The goal is to create equal and flexible lessons and learning materials. Moodle has accessibility features built in the software to help publish the materials in a universal and accessible manne.

Who benefits from Universal Design for Learning?

  • Students with and without disabilities
  • Students with varying access to technology
  • Students with English as a second, third, or fourth language
  • Students with crazy schedules
  • Students with different learning preferences
  • Faculty who want a large number of their students to gain enduring understanding
  • Faculty whose teaching style is inconsistent with the student's preferred learning style

Principles

  • Identify the essential course content
  • Clearly express the essential content and any feedback given to the student
  • Integrate natural supports for learning (i.e. using resources already found in the environment such as study buddy)
  • Use a variety of instructional methods when presenting material
  • Allow for multiple methods of demonstrating understanding of essential course content
  • Use technology to increase accessibility
  • Create accessible electronic files that support all types of learners
  • Invite students to meet/contact the faculty member with any questions/concerns

Implementation

  • Put course content on-line allowing students to "pick up" information that might have been missed in lecture
  • Use peer mentoring, group discussions, and cooperative learning situations rather than strictly lecture
  • Using guided notes enables students to listen for essential concepts without copying notes off Whiteboard or Projector Screen
  • Update course materials based on current events and student demands
  • Provide comprehensive syllabus with clearly identified course requirements, accommodation statement and due dates
  • Fluctuate instructional methods, provide illustrations, handouts, auditory and visual aids
  • Clarify any feedback or instructions, ask for questions, and repeat or give additional examples
  • Relate a new topic to one already learned or a real-life example
  • Allow a student to tape record lectures or provide him/her with a copy of your notes
  • Allow the student to demonstrate knowledge of the subject through alternate means
  • Permit and encourage the use of adaptive technology
  • Develop study guides
  • Give more frequent quizzes that are shorter in length

The SSD (Moodle) application itself is accessible, but the files that are added by instructors and students are most likely not. The course layout, settings and content added should also be usable, easy to read, and find.

For additional information on creating accessible Word, PowerPoint, Web Pages, and PDF files, please go to the Atomic Learninig Spotlight: Supporting Accessible Instruction site.

Moodle Tips

  • Use a hierarchical order
  • Use Moodle styles (e.g., heading 1) for course titles and topic titles
  • Remove/hide unused blocks or features
  • Use high contrast, adjustable fonts and colors

Pictures, Graphics, Movies & Animations

Instructors are required to provide alternate text for images and graphics. A general description can be typed within the "Image description" box. The long description is available within the Advanced tab.

screen image of Moodle's ALT box

Movies and animations require browser plug-ins to display. Instructors should provide links to the plug-ins and point students to the browser checker (opens in new window).


Styled and Colored Text

While designing course blocks, titles, and content materials, keep the users in mind. Not all browsers and computers will display the colors and text style the same. Information conveyed with color is also conveyed without the use of color.

Course Layout / Organization:
The SSD (Moodle) courses should be easy to read and have a high contrast between the text and background color.

screen image of a Moodle course

screen image of a Moodle block layout

Content Materials:
The WYSIWYG / HTML Editor within Moodle allows the creation of web pages within the course. While using the HTML Editor make sure:

screen image of Moodle's HTML editor

  • The text color is dark and easy to read on the white or a very light gray background
  • Use sans serif font types such as Helvetica, Arial, and Verdana rather than font types like ‘Times New Roman’, because it is very difficult to read font types with serifs on computer screens
  • Use Format headings in a proper, hierarchical way (Heading 1, Heading 2, Heading 3)--not simply making bold or large text
  • Break up long pages by use of appropriate sections
  • Do not use the color red or green to emphasize a needed action, such as: click on the red button, important information is in red, or green means go, etc.
  • Use table summaries (Table Caption) and header rows (Rules)
    screen image of table captions or summaries
    Screen image of table row or collumn headers

For more information about creating usable, organized, and accessible HTML pages, please go to http://www.sjsu.edu/cfd/accessibility.


Turn Off HTML Editor (Plain Text Only)

If an instructor or student is unable to use the HTML editor due to screen contrast or a screen reader application, the user can edit their Profile to provide a Plain Text option instead of the HTML editor.

  1. Click on My profile settings (bottom left)
  2. Click on Edit profile
  3. Choose "Use standard web forms" in the When editing text.
    Plain text option screen image
  4. Click on the Update profile button to save your profile.

Files & Documents

Instructors can upload files and documents to share within the course shell. Screen reading applications will read web site content to people with visual impairments. To support screen reading users...

  • Use descriptive labels
  • Use consistent file naming conventions
  • Use labels that match references from the syllabus
  • Inform users when new window or pop-up will occur
  • Avoid abbreviations
  • Name file with name and extension. (ex: Learning_Management_System_Process_2012.pdf)
  • Avoid using file names that repeat weekly. For example, if the students are required to enter information into a "Weekly Journal", naming the link in each session based on the week (ex: Week One Journal, Week Two Journal..) will allow for the students to find the correct weekly journal.

References

SJSU (2007). Course Design for Accessibility, Center for Faculty Development.
Received from http://www.sjsu.edu/cfd/accessibility/

OSU (2007). ADA: Fast Facts for Faculty - Universal Design
Received from http://ada.osu.edu/resources/fastfacts/Universal_Design.htm

universalusability.com (2007). Universal Usability: A Universal Design Approach to Web Usability.
Received from http://universalusability.com/access_by_design/index.html

Last modified: Tuesday, 28 October 2014, 5:19 PM