Accelerate Accessibility: Build It In, Not Bolt It On

Pre-Conference Workshop Session 1

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

It’s time for accessibility to become the “norm”. This hands-on workshop explores helpful techniques and tools to add to your toolkit for becoming inclusive and compliant. Take a deeper dive into the most important universal design principles that will ultimately benefit all students and avoid potential lawsuits. Be proactive, not reactive!

There is a fee for this Pre-Conference Workshop: $205 Early Bird / $235 Full Price. Select both an AM and a PM pre-conference workshop to receive special combo package pricing of $375 Early Bird / $435 Full Price (total savings of $35).

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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.
Torie joined Wichita State's Media Resources Center as an Instructional Designer in Summer 2015. She now works as a full-time Instructional Designer and online English Composition and Literature Instructor.She is especially interested in faculty professional development. Before joining the team, she worked as a Graduate Teaching Assistant for Wichita State's Department of English. There she taught various Composition and Literature courses both face-to-face and online. Torie has received her BA and MA in English Language and Literature from Wichita State University.

Extended Abstract

How accessible is your online course? What steps can you take to make it more accessible? The question of how to make online/web-based content accessible has emerged as one of the top concerns among online educators and is currently ranked #2 on the ELI (Educause Learning Initiative) list of 2018 Key Issues in Teaching & Learning. Most of the accessibility and universal design principles are simple to understand and implement once the designer is aware of the tools and techniques available to them.

As the amount of offerings moving online continues to grow and various accessibility initiatives restructure to become more stringent, it is crucial that accessibility for all students be a focal point of the course design process. This hands-on 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).

During this hand-on workshop, we will take a deeper dive into some of the most important accessibility and universal design guidelines that course instructors and instructional designers need to consider when creating online course content and web pages. These inclusive design practices are crucial for individuals with disabilities, but they also end up enhancing the learning environment for many other students as well. Bonus: They will also help you to avoid becoming vulnerable to potential lawsuits! We will also explore tips and resources for helping you create accessible documents, incorporate closed captioning, transcription, and audio description into your multimedia, as well as a number of accessibility evaluation tools that will assist in making your life easier as you continue on your journey towards designing accessible and inclusive online courses.