There was genuine angst on the MVC campus with respect to complying with ADA. In particular, faculty with a significant amount of media in their Blackboard shells were especially concerned. I must admit that I fell into this category. In the early goings it felt like much of this was laid at the feet of the faculty with very little guidance or assistance to help us become compliance. That said, several resources have popped up on our campus including MediaHub, which has really helped faculty like myself add subtitles.
I would also add that the accessibility checklist has proved to be a handy resource when it comes to chipping away at the accessibility issue. I really like the how-to manuals that help me add descriptions to my images (PowerPoint, etc.), sound where needed, and captions. Lastly, I liked the organizational structure that helps me organize my thoughts and approach to making my classes ADA compliant.
The Accessibility Checklist is user-friendly and easy to navigate for all faculty. I used the Checklist to go over my online courses and realized that a number of minor things within my courses were not ADA compliant. The links within the checklist walked me through the process of making those minor details fully ADA compliant. Since then I have gone on to share the checklist with other faculty within my discipline and almost everyone has found this tool to be incredibly helpful and great initial step to making our online courses fully ADA compliant.
I think like a lot of faculty, I was originally daunted by the sheer magnitude of making my courses accessible, and was not even sure where to begin. What motivated me to dive in was the knowledge that we have a moral duty as educators to provide our students with the tools that they need to be successful. I am eternally grateful to our Accessibility Team for creating the Accessibility Checklist, as it has been an invaluable resource in guiding me through this winding road of making my classes open and accessible to my students.
Each of the ten items on the Checklist contains easy-to-follow instructions for getting started, along with links to other resources, including videos, transcript, and how-to-guides. What was most helpful for me were the specific articles regarding how to use the software we are already familiar with – Microsoft Office, eCampus, Google Docs – to check for accessibility and to update our existing materials to make them accessible for my classes. Even if every item on the Checklist is not directly relevant to your class, those resources give you some sense as to what would be involved in creating new accessible content in the future. For instance, I have a long-term goal of providing more video content for my online and on-campus classes, and now I have a better idea of how to tackle that with accessibility in mind before I begin. The Accessibility Checklist has helped make a project that seemed so vast as to be unimaginable into one that is orderly, structured, and efficiently manageable.
For those of you (including myself) who have taken several workshops on how to make your course ADA compliant, I was uncertain that the Accessibility Checklist would be that beneficial. Color me wrong. The Checklist was very useful as a resource for answering "how to" questions that were buried somewhere in my workshop notes. Complying with ADA laws can be overwhelming; however, the Checklist makes it easy to focus your work on one standard at a time rather than trying to make all of the changes at once. What is unique about the Checklist is that you can read all the resources provided for each standard or focus on the "how to" tutorials for assessing whether your content meets each standard.
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 also requires that all programs, activities, and services of the college or university are accessible to students with disabilities. Section 504 applies to all entities receiving federal funds, so it applies to DCCCD. Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires Federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology accessible to people with disabilities.
The DCCCD Accessibility Checklist was formulated to not only to comply with these laws, but also to help faculty design with accessibility in mind. It is a condensed version of the WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) 2.1, which is an international organization that focuses on Web content and is technology neutral. Before you start using the checklist, it would be prudent to review your course and take out any superfluous or outdated material. Then, using the checklist, either update your remaining resources or create new ones.