Today Graham and I ran an accessibility awareness raising workshop for the Apprenticeship team. There were about 35 participants and we only had one hour. So it was quite a task packing information delivery, hands on activities and multimedia into the presentation. However, from the feedback received I think we got the combination right.
We started with a YouTube video Experiences of Students with Disabilities (published by Jared Smith) of disabled students talking about their experiences. Then we went on to an activity – to open UCEM website and open the accessibility statement at the bottom of the web page within 3 minutes. I am sure this would have been a less than 1 minute task had we allowed them to use mouse/trackpad. But we set a challenge and asked to use only the keyboard to do this task. Some of the participants managed to open the web browser, while some others went on to access UCEM website. However, none of the group managed to open the accessibility statement. What followed was a short discussion to ask participants how they found the activity. Everyone thought it was so hard. This made them all think about others who are accessing information in a different way to us and how difficult they may find their experience. By the way, if you want to navigate only using keyboard TAB key is your friend – in UK keyboards this key is located above the Caps Lock.
The time went so quickly running through Accessibility law changes and accessibility tips we only had few minutes left to do the final activity, which was to find and correct accessibility issues in a Word document. Our in-house Microsoft expert, Graham, led this activity. In this we also included cases that they could pickup as good practice – for example, font style, left justification and not using all capitals.
Participants did really well to identify almost all the issues that we embedded in the document to be picked up. With the positive feedback received both Graham and I are content that it was a successful session.
I am a Learning Technology Researcher and the Chair of the Online Learning Research Centre at the University College of Estate Management. My principle research interests lie in the area of social implications of information and communication technologies, especially eLearning.