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The Digital Accessibility Office (DAO) has added to its roster of self-paced training. The on-demand version of Digital Accessibility in Course Design complements the Digital Accessibility Awareness introductory course, introduced as a self-paced course in March.

Chelsea Porter
Chelsea Porter

Aimed at instructors who use digital content in their courses, Digital Accessibility in Course Design introduces instructors to concepts to make course content more accessible for all students.

The training covers the laws and policy requiring accessibility and shares tips for creating accessible course content. It also discusses how accessibility is a core component of Universal Design for Learning, which is a teaching framework created to “optimize teaching and learning for all people.”

Chelsea Porter, interim head of the DAO, designed and created the self-paced version of Digital Accessibility in Course Design. Porter’s goal in creating the on-demand option was to lower barriers and make it easier for instructors to take the course. The self-paced version is “a perfect fit for busy schedules,” she said.

An inspiration

“Seeing the DAO’s self-paced course inspired me to think about possible training opportunities,” said Thao Nghi Tu, Learning Technologies Administrator with ITS Educational Technologies (EdTech).

Thao Nghi Tu
Thao Nghi Tu

Taking the course, Tu had two perspectives — one as a learner and another as a technology professional who directly supports instructors. In her role at EdTech, Tu creates training content for UNC’s learning management systems (LMS), including self-paced training on how to build courses.

Wearing those two hats, Tu could easily see how far the benefits of accessible course design extend. “While the focus of this training is on accessibility in courses, the DAO offers so many good general course design practices.”

“With a good course structure that’s built with accessibility in mind, instructors set the right expectations for their students, which in turn makes things easier on the instructor,” she said.

Equitable student access

Making courses accessible not only adheres to requirements set by law and policy, it improves outcomes for all students. Porter added that “proactively making accessibility integral to course delivery will contribute to more equitable student access.”

The Digital Accessibility in Course Design training is an opportunity for instructors to begin to connect with the DAO and learn about ongoing support and learning opportunities.

“What I appreciate about the DAO is that they emphasize that digital accessibility is a process, not a one-time project,” said Tu. “This takes the pressure off having to make this huge overhaul.”

The DAO offers a variety of courses on digital accessibility. Options range from an overview of digital accessibility to deep dives into specific topics like social media, document remediation and Zoom. The DAO also offers individualized consulting, procurement support and access to a growing set of tools to improve accessibility of all digital content.

To continue to make it easier for instructors to build accessible courses, the DAO and EdTech have partnered to create accessible UNC-themed course templates for the new Canvas LMS. For more Canvas information, resources and training, visit EdTech’s Canvas support page.

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