Accessibility for Online Teaching and Learning
As educators, it is our legal and professional responsibility to meet accessibility standards.
With our fast-growing online programs at the University of Illinois, we have a variety of learners in the courses that require various accommodations to ensure success in their learning pursuits. Addressing the needs of all learners in online or face-to-face courses is challenging and can be overwhelming.
To build awareness and promote accessibility in the Gies College of Business, the Office of eLearning provides useful resources and training for faculty and staff who create content for all of their courses. In the Office of eLearning we strive to proactively make courses more inclusive and flexible, regardless of the delivery format. Proper planning and design can make building and supporting accessible courses much easier, rather than being reactive and retrofit the course later.
The Office of eLearning Approach
Accessibility begins with the first document, the first slide, and the first video. Engage with eLearning to find the optimized path to an accessible course. There’s not a single right answer or method, but we will find that process to suit your content and teaching style. Accessibility will be a part of all course development and can become instinctive every time to sit down to do course prep.
Expanded Focus on Accessible Courses:
eLearning office has been working to improve all students’ inclusive learning experience on campus and also in globally offered Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) courses. Specifically, our work in MOOC accessibility has been the focus of articles, podcasts, and conference presentations. (see links below)
Regardless of the setting, accessibility practice incorporates commonly known layers of closed captioning in videos, but the Office of eLearning’s commitment goes much further. Our work is producing access to learning with advanced textual and audio descriptions of images and complex graphics, machine-readable math equations, and full transcripts of videos. All of these features are merged into a single document format that makes our learning accessible but also stresses usability. Online learning materials from Gies work well in desktop, laptop, tablet, and mobile phone environments.
Lastly, to make sure Gies is doing the best job possible we engage with the outside design and auditing services. This lets us know we are on the right path.
The eLearning accessibility support team have gone through training including HTML, video captioning, visual description, accessibility practices in MS office product (Word, Excel, and PPT) and PDF creation. As a responsible partner in the Gies’ commitment to accessibility, you can be the starting point for your courses and we welcome you to our training appropriate for instructors.
Contact Jinhee Choo, Senior eLearning & ADA Compliance Specialist in the Office of eLearning (eLearning@business.illinois.edu).
Find out more about our work
The office of eLearning team members has over 40 years of combined experience in accessibility and assistive technologies. We have been invited speakers, conference presenters and guests in a variety of media outlets. Recent highlights can be found at the Accessibility Support Team Achievement page.
If you have any questions or suggestions on this topic, please contact Jinhee Choo (eLearning@business.illinois.edu).