Posted by: MandyS | September 7, 2011

Activity 2.3 – Other resources

I could have spent forever on the Jisc TechDis site…

What stands out the most to me is Resource 5; the fact that in some countries the issue for students with disabilities is not about accessibility to elearning, it is simply just about being able to access any sort of higher education. In some respects, it puts the issue of accessibility into perspective but at the same time emphasises that it can mean many different things depending on the context.

I liked Joe Clarke’s view (Resource 3) that accessibility is about ‘adding value’ which builds upon Resource 2 i.e. ‘people with disabilities have to be able to use the web (percieve, understand, navigate, interact and contribute)’. I also agree with Clarke that any adapted design feature should be ‘barely noticeable’ so as to achieve ‘equivalency’ rather than ‘equality’; I would imagine that the last thing a student with disabilities wants is to ‘stand out from the crowd’ and be made to feel ‘different’. In this way, Shawn’s ‘level playing field’ is achievable.

Ultimately, though, there is no ‘quick fix’. In some respects, it is a case of ‘trial and error’ to see what works and what doesn’t (is this the metaphor I have been looking for?). As Resource 1 suggests ‘one size does not fit all’ and it is very much a question of developing a wide knowledge of disabilities and identifying the context so that current practices can be adjusted accordingly. The actaul adjustment need not be either expensive or time consuming but essentially the training required to raise awareness may well be prohibitive to most institutions.

Referneces:

Clark, J. (2001) Building Accessible Websites [online], http://isbndb.com/d/book/building_accessible_websites (accessed 01 September 2011)

FAME (undated) Video: Introduction to Web Accessibility & Assistive Technology Module [online],
http://streamer.ohiolink.edu:8181/Fame/Quicktime/shawncc.mov (accessed 27 August 2011)

IRIN (2007) SENEGAL: Disabled Students Conquer Daily Challenges [online], UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=75929 (accessed 01 September 2011)

JISC Techdis (undated) Presentation – What is Accessibility? [online],http://staffpacks.jisctechdis.ac.uk/Staff%20Packs/Intro%20to%20web%20accessibility/What%20is%20Accessibility.xml (accessed 01 September 2011)

Web Accessibility Initiative (2005) Introduction to Web Accessibility [online], http://www.w3.org/WAI/intro/accessibility.php (accessed 01 September 2011)

Xiaodan, X. (2004) ‘Accessibility opens a new world’ [online], China Daily, Home focus, p. 5, http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/english/doc/2004-10/20/content_383854.htmdoc/ 2004-10/ 20/
content_383854.htm
(accessed 01 September, 2011).

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