According to the World Health Organization, over a billion people (about 15% of the world’s population) have some form of disability and the rates of disability are increasing due to population aging and increases in chronic health conditions (WHO, 2018). Thursday, May 20, 2021, marks the tenth anniversary of Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). GAAD was originally inspired by a blog post written by a web developer named Joe Devon back in 2011 where he encouraged developers to come together and work to bridge the accessibility gap by raising awareness and global standards.
Celebrate GAAD with us this year by following @gbla11yday on Twitter and tweet using the #GAAD hashtag. Don’t forget to check out the GAAD Facebook page too! A full list of events and activities can be found at https://globalaccessibilityawarenessday.org/events/.
There are many different ways that you can get involved and learn more about GAAD, including attending a virtual event, spreading awareness, contributing directly to a digital accessibility effort (such as captioning a video), and by checking out the compiled OLC resources below.
Take your awareness of digital accessibility a step further by completing the OLC Accessibility Badge, or join OLC for an upcoming accessibility workshop this summer:
- ADA & Web Accessibility Self-Paced Workshop | ongoing
- Designing with Accessibility in Mind | Starts June 21st
- Reframing Disability and Implications for Inclusive Practice | Starts August 9th
- Applying Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Principles to Online Courses to Increase Accessibility and Engagement | Starts August 23rd
- Fundamentals: ADA & Web Accessibility | Starts September 20th
- Strategic Planning for Web Accessibility | Starts October 11th
- Leading the eLearning Transformation of Higher Ed – Part Two: Ensuring Operational Effectiveness – The second half of this webinar (beginning at 44:00) is led by Dr. Cyndi Rowland, Founder and Executive Director of WebAIM and the National Center on Disability and Access to Education (NCDAE), and provides viewers with an overview of components that are necessary as they transform the digital footprint of their programs and services to one that is accessible to those with disabilities.
- Lessons from COVID-19: Using Digital Content to Increase Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion – This panel brought together leaders across the higher education sector to discuss the role of new approaches to content in expanding access and opportunity, particularly for historically underrepresented students, and how to build on these initial successes moving forward.
Virtual Conference Events
Although these synchronous conference sessions have ended, you can still access all of the recordings on-demand!
- OLC Ideate: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Digital Learning Environments – This past December, this particular Ideate event brought together the work of countless educators in our field who are exploring key questions around diversity, equity and inclusion within digital learning environments. From Reactive Support to Structural Change: Lessons from a Student Perspective was a notable session from Jessica Lemond that provided participants with valuable student perspectives, increased familiarity with basic accommodations, and the ability to apply short-term solutions to create long-term change.
- OLC Innovate: Education Reimagined – The major focus of this virtual conference that recently took place in March 2021 was on creating equitable and inclusive digital learning environments. Tips for Designing an Inclusive Online Course is one session of note from Dr. Sheryl Burgstahler, Director of Accessible Technology Services at the University of Washington, that provided participants with 20 evidence-based tips on how to deliver an online course that is inclusive of all students.
- Equitable Online Environments: Thinking Beyond Basic Access and Compliance – Dr. Amanda Kraus, Executive Director of the Disability Resource Center at the University of Arizona and OLC Institute faculty for the 7-day workshop on Reframing Disability and Implications for Inclusive Practice, joins us to discuss the importance of thinking beyond basic access and compliance when ensuring equitable online environments.
- Delivering High-Quality Instruction Online In Response to COVID-19 is a faculty-focused playbook intended to improve course design, teaching, and learning in online environments. With special attention to the needs of instructors teaching online for the first time, the guide offers strategies for getting started and improving over time. Applicable sections include designing with equity in mind, as well as a focus on accessibility and Universal Design for Learning as crucial course design principles.
- Caring for Students Playbook (Coming Soon!) – The next highly anticipated faculty-focused playbook is broken out into six recommendations for caring for students, each providing practical recommendations, concrete strategies, and resources to support instructors in operationalizing equity-focused, inclusive teaching strategies that put student care into practice by acknowledging student challenges while identifying student assets. The section on Review and Revise Your Course Content provides strategies, tools, and examples for ways you can ensure accessibility in content, make content more inclusive, and chunk content to support your students.