Are You WCAG 2.0 Compliant? Designing For Accessible And Inclusive Learning Environments

Pre-Conference Workshop Session 1
OLC Session

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Be proactive, not reactive! In this hands-on workshop, we will explore helpful techniques and tools to add to your accessibility toolkit in order to become compliant and inclusive. Take a deeper dive into the principles and guidelines of the WCAG 2.0 to ultimately benefit all students and avoid potential lawsuits.

The fee for this Pre-Conference Workshop is: $205 Early Bird / $235 Full Price. Participate in any two 1/2 day OLC pre-conference workshops (Tuesday, April 17) and save $75 on the combined cost.


Kaitlin Garrett is an instructional designer at the Online Learning Consortium within the Institute for Professional Development. Her primary responsibilities include designing and developing the self-paced workshop curriculum, updating and facilitating the accessibility-related online workshops, and supporting the Advanced Online Teaching Certificate program. She has developed a passion for web accessibility and universal design and has led multiple pre-conference workshops on the WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines), with a focus on the importance of designing for accessible and inclusive learning environments. Prior to joining OLC, Kaitlin was a module coordinator at the University of Central Florida’s College of Medicine. She assisted first-year module directors and faculty teams with the planning, design, implementation, and evaluation of instructional materials used in both synchronous and asynchronous environments. Kaitlin holds a MA in Educational Leadership (Higher Education/Student Personnel), a graduate certificate in Instructional Design and Technology (e-Learning), and a BS in Psychology from the University of Central Florida.
Jennifer Paloma Rafferty ( Pronouns: she, her, hers) provides leadership in researching, scoping, managing, and evaluating a full range of professional development solutions for multiple audiences within the OLC Institute for Professional Development. She has worked since 1999 supporting online learning initiatives in higher education and in the adult basic education system. Jennifer assumed this role at OLC after working for over seven years as an instructional designer at Quinnipiac University Online in Hamden, Connecticut. During her time at Quinnipiac University, Jennifer was also responsible for spearheading the development of the first online Spanish course at the University. She continues to teach this specialized curriculum for the School of Nursing and presents both nationally and internationally on the topic of online foreign language instruction. Prior to working in higher education, Jennifer was the project manager for the Massachusetts Adult Basic Education Distance Learning Project. In this role, she collaborated with the Massachusetts Department of Education and Project IDEAL to research and identify best practices for distance learning programs serving adult GED and ESL students. Jennifer holds a Masters of Education in Instructional Design from UMASS Boston, a Masters of Arts in Spanish from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and an undergraduate degree in Romance Languages from Mount Holyoke College.
Elisabeth Stucklen has worked in online higher education and instructional design for over 17 years. She currently works as an Instructional Designer in OLC's Institute for Professional Development, primarily managing the Instructional Designer Certificate Program and related instructional designer workshops, and provides support to the Institute for Emerging Leadership in Online Learning (IELOL) Program. Prior to joining OLC, she worked as the Senior Instructional Designer at Mount Washington College in Manchester, NH, where she was responsible for creating new online courses, providing training and support for faculty, and assisting the director in monitoring the course development process. Before MWC, she worked at Lesley University providing professional development and course design assistance to faculty. In addition to her role with the OLC, Elisabeth also teaches online for Brandeis University in their Masters in Learning Experience Design program and is a mentor in the Educause ID2ID cross-mentoring program for instructional designers. Elisabeth holds a Masters of Science in Instructional Design and Technology from Emporia State University and a Bachelors of Science in Visual Communication Technology from Lesley University.
Kate Sonka is the Executive Director of Teach Access and the Assistant Director of Inclusion & Academic Technology at the College of Arts & Letters at Michigan State University. She holds a Master’s degree in Bilingual/Bicultural Education and more than 10 years of experience in higher ed. She improves teaching and learning with technology through course design and support, experiential learning, and training and mentorship for faculty members and students. In exploring how accessibility exists in professional and academic spaces, she helped establish the Teach Access Study Away Silicon Valley program, implement the Teach Access Faculty Curriculum Development Grant program, and founded the Accessible Learning Conference at Michigan State University.

Extended Abstract

As the amount of offerings moving online continues to grow, it is crucial that accessibility for all students be a focal point of the course design process. Various accessibility initiatives are restructuring and becoming more stringent in order to preserve equitable access for people of all abilities. It’s crucial for higher education to stay abreast of these changes in legislation in order to avoid becoming vulnerable to potential lawsuits.

This workshop will focus on the importance of designing with accessibility in mind. This means being proactive and implementing accessibility measures from the beginning, instead of waiting for that accommodation letter from the Disability Services office and attempting to retrofit your course (often within a short period of time). Most of the accessibility components are simple to understand and implement once the designer is aware of the tools and techniques available to them.

During this hands-on workshop, we will take a deeper dive into some of the most important accessibility guidelines that course instructors and instructional designers need to consider when creating Web pages or online courses. These tips will benefit students of all abilities and will also help you move towards meeting the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0. We will also explore other resources for helping you create accessible documents, incorporate closed captioning and transcription, as well as accessibility evaluation tools to add to your accessibility toolkit.

***This workshop is BYOD (Bring your own device)***