Quality Matters Monday: Standard 7.2
It’s Quality Matters Monday! Each Monday, we highlight a Quality Matters standard and review its importance in an online course and how we evaluate this standard.
Today, we are reviewing Quality Matters Standards 7.2
General Standard 7 addresses Learner Support.
This standard specifically addresses that the course instructions articulate or link to a clear description of the institution’s accessibility policies and services, and how to obtain them.
· While Accessibility policies might vary between academic institutions, it’s imperative to include specific information regarding your institution’s accessibility policy, along with a link that lets learners access this statement on an official university website. In addition, remember to list and link any available services pertaining to these accessibility policies. Doing so ensures that all learners are made aware of the policies and services available to them at the beginning of the semester, thus enabling them to correspond or meet with a disability services representative that will assist with any requests for specific academic accommodations.
· A well-designed course facilitates a quality learning experience for a diverse learner base, including students with disabilities. Here’s a few helpful hints to ensure that you maximize visibility and access to these policies and services:
o Start by locating your institution’s policies and services relating to accessibility. If you’re unaware of how to locate them, or if you’re not sure if what you already have listed in your course is up-to-date, contact your university ADA office.
o Considering that you want students to encounter accessibility information as early as possible in the semester, think strategically about where you want to place it in the course. Ideally, you’ll want to consolidate this with general university/course policies and services, such as those mentioned in QM standard 7.1., all of which should be in one of the ‘first stops’ that a student makes when logging into the course for the first time (e.g. course syllabus, ‘start here’ page, policy folder, etc.).
o Don’t just copy and post an accessibility statement into your course. Be sure to include a link(s) these statements and services, along with relevant contact information that will enable a student to get the help they need in case they have additional questions or concerns (e.g. emails, phone numbers, hours of operation, etc.).
AP Guidance: Are your students able to easily locate the accessibility information and services they need in order to be successful in your course? In order to meet QM standard 7.2, remember the following things:
1) Search for policies/services– Know what they are, and where they’re at so you can communicate them most effectively to your students.
2) Pick a place– Find a place in your course to insert this information that students will encounter early on, and combine it with other general policies and services.
3) Include links and contacts– Always link out to the accessibility information you provide, and don’t forget to include contact information so learners can obtain the academic accommodations needed for them to be successful.
*Thinking ahead: Including accessibility information related to policies and services is important, but it’s equally important to make sure the content you’ve placed in your course is accessible as well! Soon, we’ll be going over QM general standard 8, which helps instructors understand the importance of making sure your course is designed with accessibility and usability in mind.
Click here to access Quality Matters eLearning Marketplace. The Quality Matters eLearning Marketplace is a free, searchable database built to serve the broad QM community with an easy-to-use eLearning product/service directory organized within the 8 general standards of the rubric as well as by user and product categories.