Big Sandwich, Little Bites! Planning and Strategies for Web Accessibility

Pre-Conference Workshop Session 1

Session Materials

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Brief Abstract

Research trends show that while there is a greater awareness of web accessibility and Section 508 requirements, many campuses lack the resources to quickly and comprehensively address these issues. Join this hands-on workshop to learn about best practices, strategies, and tools for creating an overall strategic plan for your institution to meet current web accessibility standards.

There is a fee for this Pre-Conference Workshop: $225 Early Bird / $250 Full Price. Select both an AM and a PM pre-conference workshop to receive special combo package pricing of $395 Early Bird / $445 Full Price (total savings of $55).

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Presenters

Wendy MacColl has extensive experience in online learning, instructional design, and teaching. She has worked in higher education as a teacher and administrator, and also in executive education training venues. Ms. MacColl was Associate Director of the Center for Management and Executive Development, Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas, and was promoted to the Director of Instructional Design at Walton College. She was later hired as Director of the Office of Distance Learning at John Brown University and was an Assistant Professor of Distance Learning. Currently under contract by Colorado Community Colleges Online, from 2013 to 2017 she was Director of eLearning at Pikes Peak Community College (PPCC) in Colorado Springs and has served on a number of state-level committees addressing Web Accessibility and captioning solutions. Ms. MacColl was co-chair of the Web Accessibility Planning committee at PPCC and chaired the Web Accessibility Implementation Committee as the college worked towards compliance with WCAG 2.0 AA accessibility standards. She earned her undergraduate degree in Trade and Industrial Education from Colorado State University, and graduate degree in Administration, Supervision and Curriculum Development with an emphasis in Instructional Design and Technology from the University of Colorado-Denver.
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 Rafferty provides leadership in researching, scoping, managing, and evaluating a full range of professional development solutions for multiple audiences within the OLC Institute. She has worked for over 15 years 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.

Extended Abstract

The question of how to make online/web-based content accessible is emerging as one of the top concerns among online educators, and for all institutions that provide online education or other information via the Internet. Research trends show that while there is a greater awareness of Section 508 accessibility compliance requirements, most campuses lack the resources they need to address these issues quickly and comprehensively.

There was a much-anticipated ruling from the U.S. Department of Justice regarding websites and implementation of the updated Section 508 (which directly referenced WCAG 2.0) standards in late 2017, but that legislation has been placed on the inactive list. An October 2018 commentary from the DOJ did little to further clarify responsibility, while the uncertain legal landscape has led to a drastic increase in lawsuits and demand letters. This situation emphasizes the importance of creating (or moving forward with) an overall strategic plan for web accessibility compliance.

The broad areas addressed in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0/2.1 standards call for content that is Perceivable, Operable, Understandable, and Robust. Examining a pathway for how an institution plans to meet those standards, by using best practices from colleges and universities that have already navigated those waters, makes this task an easier process. This hands-on workshop will provide participants with the knowledge, practical tools, and strategies they need to develop a working draft timeline and proposal to implement a web accessibility plan within their own institution.

The intended audience for this workshop is eLearning/Distance Education Directors, Faculty and Administrators, and eLearning professionals who might be involved in efforts to provide accessible content online and are looking for a “road map” that would help them to plan and implement such an initiative.

This workshop will address the following learning objectives:

  • Examine documents and processes that are needed to develop a Web Accessibility Plan (WAP)

  • Explore what strategies are most effective in engaging executive leadership to endorse your plan, including how and when to request resources

  • Discuss ways to successfully involve faculty and other key members of your Web Accessibility Planning Committee

  • Review best practices and potential landmines to avoid in developing a WAP