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 19, 2022, marks the 11th 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.

Featured Webinar

Check out the recently recorded webinar on Designing Neuroinclusive Learning Environments available on-demand now!

It is estimated that approximately 30% of learners in your classroom have some form of neurodivergence such as autism, ADHD, or dyslexia (Conditt, 2020). These individuals are gifted with a unique way of viewing the world and processing information. However, they face the challenge of learning in environments that were not designed to accommodate their natural differences. Neurodivergent learners have unique skills and abilities that set them apart from their neurotypical counterparts. If supported effectively, neurodivergent learners tend to excel, especially in the STEAM fields, and their skills can lead to significant contributions in these areas. 

Providing adequate accommodations is not straightforward because numerous individuals may not even have an official diagnosis. In fact, there are many cases in which people haven’t recognized their neurodivergence until adulthood (Polyzoi, Ahnemark, Medin, & Ginsberg, 2018; Happe & Frith, 2020). This makes it even more critical that, as educators, we take the necessary steps to ensure their time in academia truly does accommodate every learner. Join us for an engaging webinar to learn various strategies for supporting neurodivergent learners and creating neuro-inclusive learning environments.

Online Workshops

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:

Blog Posts

  • Accessing Ability Through Digital Means – Items created for marginalized people are now being used for everyone to succeed. Dr. Carl S. Moore, Assistant Chief Academic Officer at the University of the District of Columbia, joins us on the blog to discuss variations of ability and ways we can extend access to all learners through digital means. 
  • 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.

Faculty Playbooks

  • Optimizing High-Quality Digital Learning Experiences – High-quality digital learning experiences are built on the foundational principles of providing equitable, inclusive, accessible learning environments for all students. Building on these principles and the urgency to provide improved and equitable digital learning, the focus of this playbook is to help faculty strategically embed technologies with learning outcomes to amplify the effectiveness of student learning experiences, especially for minoritized students.
  • Caring for Students Playbook – This playbook has been designed to provide instructors with examples to support putting student care into action. While the impetus for this playbook was the COVID-19 pandemic, the information and resources provided represent high standards of student support regardless of the environment. Each of these Six Recommendations for Caring for Students provides 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.