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Building a Culture of Educational Inclusion

taught by: Rita Fennelly-Atkinson

Session Summary:

Are you interested in learning more about research regarding accessibility in education? This session will help you gain a sense of the current landscape of accessibility research and trends in education while identifying gaps in the research. While this session is intended to be informative, the hope is that the information presented will engage participants in a reflective and active discussion in whether our practical experiences match the reported state of accessibility in the literature.

Description:

As accessibility becomes a more prominent and pressing issue for institutions of all types, more people are turning to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines for guidance on best practices. While WCAG was specifically written for web content, web authoring tool, and accessibility evaluation tool developers, there are many other users who may not have extensive web expertise or knowledge. This often translates to organizations focusing on the easy-to-implement and easy-to-understand WCAG criteria such as image alt text and ignoring more complex and difficult accessibility criteria such as audio descriptions.

In particular, many higher education institutions are working on ways to address accessibility issues. The responsibility for the accessibility of instructional materials varies widely. Some institutions hold faculty responsible for the accessibility of their courses, while others delegate this responsibility to departments.

While K12 faces many of the same issues as higher education institutions, the landscape is a bit different. As a result, the approach to accessibility in public K12 schools has focused on a trickle-down approach of guidelines.

As a doctoral graduate student at Sam Houston State University focusing on the accessible design of instruction, I am currently researching the existing literature and trends regarding accessibility in education. The goal of this session is to gain a sense of the current landscape of accessibility in education while identifying gaps in the research. While this session is intended to be informative, the hope is that the information presented will engage participants in a reflective and active discussion in whether our practical experiences match the reported state of accessibility in the literature.

Practical Skills:

  • Provide information about current accessibility trends higher education
  • Provide information about the current state of accessibility research in K12 and higher education
  • Reflect and discuss how our current experiences match the research