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I am always amazed at the inaccessibility of classroom materials

From: Chris Leighton <chris.leighton@uwa.edu.au>
Date: Tue, 27 Jan 2015 09:31:17 +0800
To: WAI Interest Group <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <828152E9D90AEE45A489CC38D9C7B274943123199D@IS-WIN-382.staffad.uwa.edu.au>
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.



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

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 Avila
Chief Accessibility Officer

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From: Olaf Drümmer [mailto:olaflist@callassoftware.com]
Sent: Saturday, January 24, 2015 7:03 AM
To: WAI Interest Group
Cc: Olaf Drümmer; Wayne Dick; accessys@smart.net<mailto: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<mailto: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...]

Received on Tuesday, 27 January 2015 01:31:56 UTC

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