Quality Matters Monday: Standard 8.2
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 8.2
General Standard 8 addresses Accessibility & Usability
Standard 8.2 addresses the importance of providing students with accessibility information for all the required technologies utilized in your course.
· Designing a course with universal accessibility in mind can be a complex process that requires proactive forethought as instructors carefully select which technologies will be best for achieving their course learning outcomes. Once these selections are made, it’s equally important to provide students with specific accessibility information pertaining to each of these technologies so that disabled students can determine in advance if the technology in the course will be accessible, and if these technologies integrate with other assistive technologies they might already use.
· Put simply, if you don’t provide students with all the necessary information regarding technology and accessibility in advance, then you may be hampering their ability to be successful in your course. Below are three best practices that can help ensure that you’re put forth your best effort in designing and maintaining an online classroom that meets the needs of all your students:
o Make a list– Start by making a list of all the technology (e.g. media tools, LTI’s, social media, etc.) that you’ll be requiring students to use throughout the course, and include links to any accessibility information or accommodation features that are provided through their websites. Because many of the most commonly used Learning Management Systems (e.g. Blackboard, Canvas, Moodle, D2L) are already generally accessible, it may be tempting to simply leave them off your list. However, you’ll want to make sure you include this information as well to remain as thorough as possible. If you’re unable to find accessibility information for a course technology you’ve selected, or you discover that the technology is simply inaccessible for disabled students, try to find something comparable that will be accommodating, or start from scratch and rethink your selection.
o Give advanced notice– Now that you’ve made a comprehensive list, add the information -with links- to a ‘high traffic’ area of the course, and make it available as early as possible. Your course syllabus, or a ‘Start Here’ page are pragmatic choices as both are primary, centralized communication tools for informing students about general course information and instructor expectations. If you’re able, make this information to students as far in advance as possible. Many institutions will allow instructors to email this information before the start of the semester, or make their course available early.
o Follow up– Giving students early access to accessibility information for required technologies will allow them to plan ahead, but they might have additional, technical questions not addressed in your initial accessibility list. Make sure that you follow up with students in a timely manner so that you can address their questions prior to the start of the semester. If you’re not entirely sure how to answer their question, try researching to find an answer, or direct them to your institution’s office of disabilities so they can get the help they need.
AP Guidance: Are you giving students the information and lead time needed to implement accommodations? In order to meet QM standard 8.2, remember the following things:
1) Make a list– Outline all the technologies you’ll be using, and find all the information you can about each will accommodate disabled students.
2) Give advanced notice– Gather your information, with links, and place it in a ‘high traffic’ area in the course as soon as you’re able.
3) Follow up– Answer student inquiries about accessibility in a timely manner, or if you’re unsure, direct them to someone at your institution that can get them assistance.
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.