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Re: I am always amazed at the inaccessibility of classroom materials

From: Wayne Dick <waynedick@knowbility.org>
Date: Tue, 30 Jun 2015 09:08:05 -0700
Message-ID: <CAC9gL74okrg9Z7PZBSV1KW1i-r7htALThqr0ODsPbbRVBfdWYQ@mail.gmail.com>
To: Chris Leighton <chris.leighton@uwa.edu.au>
Cc: WAI Interest Group <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Dear Chris,
Instructional materials are always difficult. At the California State
University system, this is chronic.  There are two big problems: (1)
Faculty at a large university will produce from 25,000 to 50,000 pages per
term.  Much of this is very temporal, course outlines, examinations and
assignments.  (2) Purchased instructional materials claim accessibility but
rarely meet the mark.

Fortunately for students, universities usually provide direct services to
fill in accessibility gaps. These services are labor intensive and very
expensive. So, there are usually not enough available.  Also, some
universities try to limit their disability population to control cost. I
have heard this argued on the Academic Senate floor.

In this context accessibility is the cheaper option.  What is hard to
understand at first is how a population that only occupies 2% (it should be
many more) of the student population can actually impact 1 in 20 class
offerings.  A simple binomial calculation verifies this.  Once money people
become aware of this issue, and the risk associated with failure, they
listen.

This is a long and difficult struggle, and administrators need constant
reminding.

I am sure the same issues exist in primary and secondary school.  That is
why we only have 2% of our university students with disabilities.

Now that on-line instructional materials are becoming norm, the issue is
more urgent. If we can catch this transition as it happens, we can improve
access on a scale we couldn't attempt 30 years ago.  If we let this
opportunity slip past, shame on us.

Wayne


On Mon, Jan 26, 2015 at 5:31 PM, Chris Leighton <chris.leighton@uwa.edu.au>
wrote:

> Hello Jonathan, Olaf and all,,
>
>
>
> Re: “I am always amazed at the inaccessibility of classroom materials”
>
>
>
> Rightly or wrongly our tertiary institution allows for teaching materials
> to be digitally delivered that in themselves do not meet universal
> accessibility standards. We have a dedicated team/resource committed to
> students with special needs, the team does what is needed to make content
> available. This apparently gets our institution across Human Right
> legislation.
>
>
>
> Like many I believe the content should be universally accessible as it is
> published. The strength of that would be to broaden all user expectations
> of correct content delivery and to widen provider experience of publishing
> accessibly. Two gains that current cost-benefit analyses are probably not
> overcoming.
>
>
>
> If legislation didn’t allow for the ‘alternatives’ then things would be
> different.
>
>
>
> Regards,
>
>
>
>
>
> Chris.
>
>
>
> *From:* Jonathan Avila [mailto:jon.avila@ssbbartgroup.com]
> *Sent:* Monday, 26 January 2015 11:02 AM
> *To:* WAI Interest Group
> *Subject:* RE: PDF accessibility guidelines. WAS: Re: PDF's and Signatures
>
>
>
> All,
>
> The issues you discuss not only affect students at the University level
> but also at the primary and secondary level.  I am always amazed at the
> inaccessibility of classroom materials for students at the primary level
> given that most materials do start out somewhere as a word processing or
> digital publishing file that must be manually remediated by a materials
> specialist, teacher of the visually impaired, etc..  There are few items to
> keep in mind:
>
>
>
> ·         While many class documents may start out as Word Processing
> files these files may not always be available to the teacher.  The teacher
> may have received an inaccessible PDF version of the file from the state,
> the Internet or from another teacher.
>
> ·         Accessibility to one student may not be accessibility to
> another.  I think for the most part the discussion has been around
> accessibility of PDF for people who need text-to-speech.  Consider that the
> document may need to be consumed by a student with low vision who needs to
> print the document out in large print as a worksheet.  Even if the document
> is tagged the reflow features of Acrobat are limited and may not meet the
> particular needs.  In this case a not fully inaccessible Word or
> inaccessible HTML document might actually be easier to extract text out of
> into a word processing file for enlargement of text and printing.
>
> ·         Training continues to be a challenge.  Many well-meaning people
> spent hours trying to adapt materials which could be found on the Internet
> in more accessible forms or that only exist as inaccessible paper or
> inaccessible digital format.
>
> ·         Many class handouts are articles of scanned PDF files.  Often
> these files may be available online behind collections and library services
> that may or not be available to the institution.  Sometimes these version
> of the document are much more accessible than those provided by an
> instructor – but they may be difficult to locate.
>
>
>
> Jonathan
>
>
>
> --
> Jonathan Avila
> Chief Accessibility Officer
> SSB BART Group
> jon.avila@ssbbartgroup.com
>
>
>
> 703-637-8957 (o)
> Follow us: Facebook <http://www.facebook.com/#%21/ssbbartgroup> | Twitter
> <http://twitter.com/#%21/SSBBARTGroup> | LinkedIn
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>
>
>
> *From:* Olaf Drümmer [mailto:olaflist@callassoftware.com
> <olaflist@callassoftware.com>]
> *Sent:* Saturday, January 24, 2015 7:03 AM
> *To:* WAI Interest Group
> *Cc:* Olaf Drümmer; Wayne Dick; accessys@smart.net; John Foliot; Duff
> Johnson; Thompson, Rachel
> *Subject:* Re: PDF accessibility guidelines. WAS: Re: PDF's and Signatures
>
>
>
> On 24 Jan 2015, at 07:31, Wayne Dick <waynedick@knowbility.org> wrote:
>
>
>
> 3. Educate faculty to the need to preparing accessible content.  Teaching
> accessible use of their word processor is most effective.
>
>
>
> there is one thing I always fail to get:
>
> - I think it is a fair assumption that faculty tend to use a word
> processor to prepare papers for their courses
>
> - typical word processors are let's say OpenOffice/LibreOffice Writer or
> Microsoft Word
>
> - in this context, there are at least the following ways to provide those
> papers in electronic form:
>
>             [1] as a word processor file (and share via email or web site)
>
>             [2] exported to [tagged] PDF (and share via email or web site)
>
>             [3] exported to HTML (and share via email or web site)
>
> Now, which of these work well?
>
>
>
> [1] and [2] would work easily for the author and the student. [3] I simply
> do not know how to do it such that it works well for both sides, word
> processor documents and HTML to me seem to be from different universes. But
> maybe I am missing something here? [I can easily proven to be wrong, just
> send me a non-trivial paper in HTML, exported from a typical word
> processor…]
>
>
>
> Olaf
>
>
>
>
>
Received on Tuesday, 30 June 2015 16:08:39 UTC

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