Accessibility Awareness Raising Workshop #1

Yesterday Graham and I ran the first accessibility awareness raising workshop at Horizons where any staff member of UCEM was able to come along to. I previously ran a workshop for the Marketing team and then Graham and I ran another workshop for the apprenticeship team.

In the workshop we had many different departments represented. It is pleasing to know that our accessibility message has reached all parts of the institution.

Workshop participants experiencing the use of screen reader software
Participants taking up a challenge to use screen reader software to browse the internet

Both workshops that I ran previously were one hour sessions, which meant that it was quite tight with the amount of content I wanted to cover. This workshop on the other hand was a two hour session. It gave us enough time to do three activities: two challenges and one group activity. According to the feedback post-it notes and verbal feedback from the participants, these activities are the ones that participants had enjoyed most.

As feedback, I asked for:

  • One thing you learned (if any)
  • One thing you liked (if any)
  • One thing to improve (if any)

One participant said s/he liked “The exercises, I couldn’t do them, very enlightening” while another said they liked “exercises – trying to access website using narrator and changing a word document to make it more accessible”.

Workshop feedback written on post it notes
Workshop feedback on post-it notes

From this feedback I can see the participants prefer to see job specific examples being used. However, given that this was an institution wide session at first I was struggling to see how we could change the next event, scheduled for 2nd December to address this suggestion. As a way around this, after speaking with my colleagues Peter and Graham, we are going to ask registered participants whether they have any specific accessibility concerns that they would like us to address. This way we may be able to make some of the examples more “job specific”.

However, I am delighted with this very positive feedback and the enthusiasm our participants showed. One participant said that the session should be mandatory for all similar to the GDPR training due to the importance of accessibility. We asked our participants to take the message of accessibility back to their teams and ask their colleagues to join the workshops too.

We are hoping more of our colleagues will join our next accessibility workshop on 2nd December. We have a series of six (another five) scheduled to give everyone at UCEM a chance to attend an accessibility workshop. If you are a UCEM staff member you can book your place at an accessibility workshop via SharePoint (Login required)

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.

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