Accessibility Learning Curve: Accessibility Beyond Accommodation

Concurrent Session 3
Streamed Session

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Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Accessibility is often a tangled puzzle for many people, especially when creating accessible materials retroactively. This session explores a training document created without accessibility in mind and examines inherent accessibilities problems within the design, the process needed to make it accessible, the solutions, and the benefits of Accessibility Beyond Accommodation.


Graduated from Wichita State with a Masters in Criminal Justice in May of 2015. Began working as an Instructional Designer in June of 2015, before transitioning into the role of Senior Educational Technologist in fall of 2018. Master's Certificate in Project Management in April 2019. Certified Project Management Professional (PMP) as of June 2019. Adjunct Professor for Criminal Justice at the School of Criminal Justice at Wichita State. Certified Quality Matters Master Reviewer and Publisher Review, as well as earned certificate in the ST8 (Standard 8) training course from QM which speaks specifically to accessibility. Accessibility has been a significant focus for the 18+ months.

Extended Abstract

As many have seen in the last couple of years, accessibility has become a key element of instructional design and delivery, often getting national news as university after university makes headlines for accessibility compliance problems. In an effort to adhere to federal accessibility guidelines and regulations, WSU has committed to making changes towards accessibility. We recognized that in order to achieve these changes, training was needed and we endeavored to accomplish this through the training of all stakeholders in how to design and assess their materials for accessibility. However, as we soon discovered, this was easier said than done.

This presentation will demonstrate some barriers and challenges (such as color contrast, document tagging, tables, alt tags...etc.) we encountered in creating, designing, and implementing accessible materials--both in our own courses and our own accessibility trainings. By exploring some difficulties and inaccessibilities found in our accessibility training materials, we will examine the differences between accessibility and accommodation, as well as the benefits of choosing accessibility beyond accommodation. Furthermore, we will outline the processes undertaken to retroactively change documents for accessibility purposes, what technical strategies and insights that were attained from the process, the solutions that were found, and the lessons that were learned from this challenge as a whole. This session will also open up some time for discussion, in small and large groups, about similar situations that others may have encountered in their own organizations and what solutions and/or lessons they discovered. Finally, the session intends to discuss the changes we have made to our trainings at Wichita State University and the changes made to our view on the Accessibility Learning Curve: Accessibility beyond Accommodation.

During this presentation, participants will have the opportunity to identify the potential barriers that come with making documents accessible after-the-fact, explore the process of retroactively making documents accessible, and discuss the benefits of creating documents with accessibility in mind from the start. Additionally, because accessibility is beyond just higher education classrooms, this presentation will be beneficial for any member of the OLC Accelerate audience that is impacted by accessibility.

To facilitate audience learning, collaboration, and comprehension of the topic, members will be asked to participate in self-reflection and small group discussion of common accessibility problems encountered in PDF and Word documents, participate in large group discussion of best solutions found for making accessible documents, and participate in audience Q and A at designated times throughout the session and at the end of the presentation.