Presentation on theme: "Implementing A Holistic Approach To E-Learning Accessibility Brian Kelly UKOLN University of Bath Bath UKOLN is supported by:TechDis."— Presentation transcript:
Implementing A Holistic Approach To E-Learning Accessibility Brian Kelly UKOLN University of Bath Bath Email: B.Kelly@ukoln.ac.uk UKOLN is supported by:TechDis is supported by: http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/web-focus/events/conferences/alt-c-2005/ Lawrie Phipps JISC TechDis Service York Email: Lawrie.Phipps@heacademy.ac.uk Co-author: Caro Howell, University of Bristol Note: Permission is granted to record or broadcast this talk for non-commercial purposes.
2 About This Paper This paper: Summarises the role of W3C WAI and WAI WCAG guidelines in helping to provide universal access to digital resources Describes some of the difficulties experienced in implementing guidelines Describes some of the limitations and dangers with the guidelines Provides a holistic framework for e-learning accessibility BK
3 About The Speakers Brian Kelly: Works for UKOLN – a national centre of expertise in digital information management Web adviser to the UK higher & further education and cultural heritage communities Funded by JISC and the MLA Lawrie Phipps: Works for TechDis, an educational advisory service, working across UK, in the fields of accessibility and inclusion Senior Advisor for Higher Education Funded by the JISC BK This paper is based on the experiences gained by TechDis and UKOLN over several years in advising the HE/FE sector on best practices for Web accessibility
4 W3C WAI and WCAG W3C (World Wide Web Consortium): Body responsible for coordinating development of Web standards WAI (Web Accessibility Initiative): W3C group responsible for developing guidelines which will ensure Web resources are widely accessible WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines): One of three sets of WAI guidelines. WCAG provides advice of accessibility on Web content (e.g. HTML pages) Other two WAI guidelines cover accessible user agents (UAAG) and accessible authoring tools (ATAG) BK
5 Interpretation of WAI WCAG How do you interpret WAI WCAG (must use ALT tags for images; HTML must be valid; must use style sheets for presentation; …): Mandatory, with following characteristics: Clearly defined rules Objective Checking mostly objective Penalties for non-compliance Similar to checking that HTML complies with the standard Advisory, with following characteristics: Useful guidelines, to be interpreted in context It's about providing useful, usable resources Checking mostly subjective It's similar to checking that a Web site is well-designed Which reflects your views most closely? BK
6 WAI WCAG AA and AAA In order to achieve WAI WCAG AA compliance: Avoid deprecated features (e.g. FONT ) Use W3C technologies when available and appropriate (no Flash, MS Word or PowerPoint).. use the latest versions [of W3C formats] Create documents that validate to published formal grammars (i.e. HTML must be valid) In order to achieve WAI WCAG AAA compliance: "Specify the expansion of each abbreviation or acronym in a document where it first occurs" (BBC?) Specify document collections with the LINK element and " rel " and " rev " BK I think this means the format is appropriate (i.e. HTML for slides) but others argue it means resources, expertise, … available
7 The WAI Model The WAI model for Web accessibility is based on three components: Content Authoring Tools Browsers Get all three right and you'll have universal accessibility But: We have no control over browsers & authoring tools The browsers and authoring tools aren't great The content guidelines are flawed Is universal accessibility really possible?
8 WCAG and E-learning WCAG 2.0 draft (implicitly) acknowledges that accessibility to everyone is not possible: Our target is to make things as accessible to as many people as possible given the need to have practical techniques and criteria. But there are issues for learning e.g. "Make text content readable and understandable" Issues: How practical are guidelines in e-learning (rather than for informational resources)? How practical are they in the HE context? Contextual issues Backwards compatibility issues "Clearly identify who benefits from accessible content, and who will benefit from each requirement e.g Impairments of intelligence, memory, or thinking The inability to interpret and/or formulate language symbols, learning disabilities" "Clearly identify who benefits from accessible content, and who will benefit from each requirement e.g Impairments of intelligence, memory, or thinking The inability to interpret and/or formulate language symbols, learning disabilities" BK LP
9 The e-learning User Experience (in HE) Student E- learning CAA Web resources TutorialsLibraryViva Voce Group work Peer learning LecturesLabworkFieldwork LP
10 Usability Accessibility is not a product Creating a resource that is inclusive is a process The process must involve users The experience of the JISC X4L programme Creating learning materials A tick list for accessibility LP
11 Usability as a process … of accessibility, objectives and needs You need to consider your context What do your community want or need to access Prioritise those areas – test them with the users LP
12 The Holistic Approach Accessibility is only important in achieving a user's objective: This objective does not (usually) stateI want to read Wuthering Heights on a Web site that is XHTML Strict and complies with WCAG AAA Create an ALT tag for pathos? You have resources other than the Web LP
13 Pragmatism and Holism You have limited resources: Prioritise Seek to implement a basic level of accessibility – but test the important resources with users Usability of material is as important as accessibility Be flexible, state that you want to support users and provide a contact LP BK
14 TechDis – UKOLN Approach Remember UK legislation expects organisations to take "reasonable measures" Users Needs BK Holistic framework for e-learning accessibility published in CJLT: Focuses on the user and recognises importance of: External pressures e.g. funders, QAA, … Technical infrastructure Resource implications Learning & teaching outcomes and requires quality assurance based on documented policies and systematic checking
15 I-Map – A Case Study Independently of our work Tate Gallery were using a similar approach: Need for an educational resources about Picasso/Matisse Aimed at visually impaired users Recognition that a universal approach was inappropriate Developed a hybrid approach i-Map Web site breaks WAI guidelines (e.g. it uses proprietary formats) and took a user-focused and pragmatic (what expertise do we have) approach. Positive comments received from target audience i-Map Web site breaks WAI guidelines (e.g. it uses proprietary formats) and took a user-focused and pragmatic (what expertise do we have) approach. Positive comments received from target audience http://www.tate.org.uk/imap/pages/ animated/primitive/picasso/nude_arms.htm http://www.tate.org.uk/imap/pages/ animated/primitive/picasso/nude_arms.htm
16 Further Developments Need to develop a more formal methodology to support holistic approach to IT development programmes JISC-funded QA Focus project developed methodology: Supportive of open standards & best practices Recognises need for diversity (due to immaturity of technologies, richness of usage scenarios,...) Recommendation that programmes allow for diversity & experimentation: Argues for diversity rather than universality Freedom to experiment on some areas Tolerance of mistakes in some areas Opt-out mechanisms This approach is being further developed through joint work with UKOLN, TechDis, AHDS & CETIS
17 Conclusions To conclude: WAI guidelines have been developed for a reason – so seek to understand them and implement them if and where appropriate. Be flexible if implementation is difficult or conflicts with (for example) learning. Think holistically! Students dont come to HE to only sit in front of a screen. Select guidelines / standards that mean something to the context of the resource. Document your processes. BK
18 Questions Any questions? Acknowledgements: Many thanks to JISC for funding UKOLN and TechDis and the QA Focus project.