Accessible Content Core Skills: Building More Accessible Learning and Working Environments at York Region District School Board (Session 8A)
Main Topic: Online Learning and Technology
Session Type: Skill Share
A key byproduct of COVID-19 has been the proliferation of online learning environments. When online content and learning technology is more accessible, everyone benefits. Content that is more accessible to people with disabilities will also be more clear, concise and user-friendly to people without disabilities. Nevertheless, central to this new and changing online landscape is the extent to people with disabilities are able to access online content and information. For all people regardless self-identified or attributed modes and/or degrees of ableism, four consideration are necessary for creating online content that is accessible:
- Meaningful access (maximum accessibility),
- Clarity of purpose,
- Conciseness of content, and
- Universal design and user-friendlessness.
With digital technology (e.g., computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones) becoming a normalized part of our learning and working environments, we need to ensure that online content is accessible to people with and without disabilities. Whether legally mandated – as in the case of Canada with Bill C-81: The Accessible Canada Act, or by Section 508 and the Americans with Disabilities Act in the United States – or proactively engaged beyond minimum compliance obligations, accessibility is vital toward realization of meaningful access and true inclusion. Accessible online content entails an attitudinal shift as organizations and individuals must move beyond the default unconscious bias of creating online content with only visual users in mind. Indeed, visual and non-visual users (such as people who use screen reader software) must be able to access online content that permit individualization of experience while being universal in application. While challenges are inevitable in the process for making online content “fully accessible”, there are various best practices for making content more accessible based largely on Universal Design. The goal of this Skill Share is to provide participants with core competencies, skills and strategies for creating online content that is universally accessible. The Accessible Content Core Skills is the foundational resource of the Accessibility Resource Hub at York Region District School Board (Ontario, Canada). Internal yet publicly accessible, it was launched with the goal of building capacity across (and beyond) the system for creating more accessible content. In this Skill Share, we will be using virtual breakout rooms to explore the following seven core (7) skills to creating accessible content:
- Alternative Text
- Audio and Video
Participants who are already familiar with some of the core skills will have the opportunity to enhance existing practices, whereas those less familiar will find value in learning new skills about digital accessibility.
The Skill Share will comprise of three (3) parts:
- Part 1 – Engagement in a large group activity to collectively identify and recognize various accessibility issues and common practices to avoid;
- Part 2 – Exploring the (7) seven accessible content core skills; and
- Part 3 – Sharing and unpacking each core skill along with strategies and best practices for creating more accessible online content.
- Acquire a foundational understanding of how to make online content more accessible
- Unlearn ineffective legacy digital accessibility practices
- Learn and apply new accessible content core competencies, skills and best practices
Keywords: Accessibility, accessible, content, core skills
Mr. Brandon Wu Human Rights Commissioner's Office at York Region District School Board - Accessibility OfficerMr. Brandon WuHuman Rights Commissioner's Office at York Region District School Board - Accessibility Officer
Human Rights Commissioner’s Office at York Region District School Board
Brandon is currently the Accessibility Officer of the York Region District School Board, the third largest school board in the province of Ontario, Canada. With the only dedicated accessibility position in any Ontario school board, Brandon has a unique perspective of championing accessibility in public education at a system level. Prior to this role, Brandon worked at the school level where he directly supported students who were Deaf or hard of hearing in the classroom. He has also worked in a therapy centre for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Brandon holds a Master of Arts in Applied Health Sciences (Sport Management). Through his educational journey, Brandon started in the field of professional sport but eventually expanded his research interests to sport and physical activity promotion. This led to the intersecting fields of physical activity and disability studies, and is where his passion for accessibility was born.
Mr. Anthony AnirudYork Region District School Board - Human Rights Commissioner
York Region District School Board
With nearly two decades of leadership work in human rights and equity in education, Anthony Anirud serves as Human Rights Commissioner for York Region District School Board, the third largest school Board in Ontario, Canada. A lawyer, human rights practitioner and educator, he previously led the Human Rights Office at the University of Winnipeg in which he developed a comprehensive complaint resolution process in alignment with Indigenization and respectful learning. He also worked with the Ontario Government’s Centre for Employee Health, Safety and Wellness where he reviewed discrimination and harassment complaints and disability accommodation matters. He was also the first Director of Human Rights, Equity & Accessibility at Trent University and inaugural Head of Equality, Diversity & Community Engagement at Falmouth University in Cornwall, England. While in the UK, he supported the Equality Challenge Unit in reviewing assessments from higher education institutions in England for the Athena Swan Charter toward advancement of gender equality. He also taught human rights law courses in the Legal Studies Program at Ontario Tec University and was a human rights adjudicator at the Ontario Human Rights Commission during the transition to the review structure in 2009. He has an LLM in European Union Employment & Human Rights Law from the University of Leicester in England and professional Certificate in Diversity Management from Cornell University. Passionate about fostering a strong human rights culture, he has been a frequent presenter at various national and international human rights conferences over the past ten years.