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Week 11: Activity 24.2

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My main check so far has been to ensure I comply to the guidelines. In my role I can access screen readers (JAWS, Supernova and Zoom text) and I am also able to consult with students with dyslexia, Asperger syndrome and those who are D/deaf, blind or visually impaired. However these are all busy people and I do not want to impose on their time, so I tend to restrict this form of testing to essentials. I have also had a good response from my PLN on Twitter as three people tested and commented on my resource. This enabled me to check accessibility on other Windows' browsers such as Internet Explorer, Firefox and Opera; and also on Mac OSX 10.6, Firefox and Safari version5.

I am reluctant to totally rely on accessibility tools although I intend to try out one or two to see if they concur with manual methods of assessment.

For a large VLE system I would consider that the most efficient way to test it would be to supply guidelines to everyone adding material to the VLE and then appointing one person per department to assess conformance to these guidelines, either manually or by automated checker. I would also like to see a quick, easy and accessible (!) method to report any problems to a manager so that the student does not have to contact each lecturer individually in order to ensure they can access the material. In this way the student does not have to personally complain to the person who was marking their work and it is shown that senior management take the issue seriously.



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H810: Week 10: Activity 22.1: Resource

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Lynn Hunt, Monday, 8 Nov 2010, 18:59



Wow! This one exercise has taken me about 20 hours to do and it still needs work but I am running out of time this week. I will try to get back to it later and adjust the length of the subtitles on the animated video. They could be on the screen for a little longer but this involves an awful lot of work. I am sure I could get faster with practice but I am still feeling my way around at the moment.

I have published it on Google Sites which they report to be screen reader accessible but I will find out on Thursday when I have access to Supernova. I may also be able to test it with Jaws but cannot get access to WindowEyes at the moment. If anyone else is going to try Google sites they should be aware that you need some coding knowledge. I had to edit the HTML just to add alt tags!

Survey Monkey reports it is easily accessible by screen readers but I don't trust these things so I have included a transcription of the information as well! The reason for including the Survey Monkey format was because some of the students I work with, including those with dyslexia and Asperger syndrome, prefer to see a few lines of text at a time and this is an easy way to assist them to do this with the most important part of the learning exercise.

I also included a transcript of the YouTube Xtranormal animation as the subtitles are in beta and generally come up but I have heard reports that they don't always! The subtitles were done using CaptionTube which was fairly easy to use but fiddly.

I really wanted an accessibility bar at the top of the screen to change font and background colour but I could not find any code that I could use to design a Google gadget and I think it may be a bit beyond my minimal programming skills anyway. I just added a link to the new RSC Scotland "My Study Bar".

This resource is designed to encourage those people supporting students on Open University summer schools to start considering the ethical decisions that they may have to make. These people come from a variety of academic and non-academic backgrounds and so I have kept the language to a sensible level!

Currently the Open University insist that student support workers attend one training weekend every two years and also complete an online training program. In the eight years I have worked in student support, I have come across many situations that were difficult to deal with and the ethics course I was offered as part of my other job has helped me a great deal. I have not been offered this sort of training by The Open University and I think that it would be best offered at the weekend training where there is the possibility of students considering scenarios in small groups but an online resource would also be useful.

I hope that this screed helps anyone who wants to analyse this work for their TMA02. I will add information about its accessibility to the various screenreaders once I test it. Currently I have only tested it by removing the images to see the alt tags.


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H810: Week 9: Activity 18.1: What needs to be accessible?

Visible to anyone in the world

Seale (2006): Chapter 4; pp. 28-41

Seale, J. (2006) E-Learning and Disability in Higher Education: Accessibility Research and Practice, Abingdon, Routledge; also available online at http://libezproxy.open.ac.uk/ login?url=http://lib.myilibrary.com?id=52212 (accessed 30 October 2010)

As you read, make a list of the elements Seale mentions as needing to be made accessible. You will build on this list in other activities this week and in preparation for next week's activity. If you think that new elements have emerged since the book was written, add those to your list.

  • Web collaboration technologies
  • PDA / Mobile technologies
  • Websites

Avoid times responses or lengthen time

Alerts remain on screen until dismissed

  • Courseware
    • Virtual Learning Environments

Clear and consistent functions

Navigating links

Clear help messages

o   Learning Management Systems

o   E-portfolios

Editing by various people

  • Library resources
    • Databases

Lack of direction

Use of frames




  • Text documents
    • Printable Document Format (PDF)

Need tagging to give logical reading order

Need correct construction

Some in image format for copyright reasons

  • Presentation Applications

Difficult to access when exported to web

Alternative text outline needed

Need robust exporting tool

  • Multimedia

Captions required

o   Flash

Problem in past; captions good now

o   Java applets

Needs Java access bridge for screen readers

Accessibility API built in



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