Creating an Action Plan: Part I

How to Get Started

Don’t try to do Everything

I have so many materials, I can't possibly...

Start with Headings

People ask what is most important when making content accessible. If you do one thing, give your documents and pages structure with headings. Every time you revise a document, give it headings. This should only take an extra 30 seconds/minute to highlight text and click the correct heading. When you create new documents, use headings. Better yet, create a few templates so you can just copy and paste proper formatting in and then add your text. Here are a couple:

Action Plan

You know your content better than anyone. If your materials are image heavy - tackle adding alt text to your images. If you use a lot of videos, begin by captioning those videos. If all of your materials come from a publisher or 3rd party - contact them and ask about the measures they take to ensure their materials are accessible.

Implement Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

Faculty often ask how to implement UDL without creating a second set of course materials and assignments. Chances are you won't "UDL-ize" your class overnight. Here are some simple steps to incorporating UDL principles in your class:

  • Add graphics or images to supplement text.
  • If multiple choice quizzes/exams dominate your assignments, replace some quizzes with discussion boards and short writing assignments. OR add in some matching and short answer quiz questions. 
  • Give people choices for how to complete an activity/meet an objective. Give 2 - 3 different options for topics to research/write about.
  • Sick of grading papers? Let them choose the format (just be sure to give them a clear grading rubric from the start). You might be amazed at what they submit! 
  • No time to find extra videos, images, websites, etc? Let students/participants track down and share resources they've found for extra credit.

Ignore Old Stuff

  • Faculty often have hundreds of materials that were used once and never again. Those materials should remain in folders - in their inaccessible formats. Don't spend time making content you won't use again accessible. Focus on what you are using now, and what you create in the future. 
  • If will be adopting a new textbook next term, use your time and energy to make your new/updated/revised course materials accessible (unless you currently have a student with a disability). Be strategic. Focus on one piece at a time. Don't let yourself get overwhelmed.

I don’t have time. No one is paying me to do this

  • A common reaction. Guess what? You probably never asked to be given release time to find un-captioned videos - you were probably excited to add videos to your course/presentation and spent time during the evenings and weekends finding videos because you are committed to producing high quality material.
  • You probably never asked to be paid extra to add pictures to your Canvas pages and use colored fonts, but you did it because you thought it looked nice and would make for a more enjoyable experience for your audience.
  • Making your content accessible will save you time, myou a better teacher and presenter - meaning viewers/users/students will learn more effectively and efficiently, which usually means you receive fewer questions and requests for clarification.

Put Pressure on Publishers

  • If you really don't have the time to do this work, then don't use and require students to buy inaccessible content.
  • You often have a choice in what materials to use - put pressure on publishers and refuse to use their materials unless they are accessible.
  • There are laws in place that ensure students with disabilities have access to materials. There are no laws in place protecting you from an OCR complaint should you choose to require inaccessible materials (the liability is on you/the college, not the publisher).
  • Academic freedom is not an excuse and will not hold up when dealing with the Department of Justice or the Office of Civil Rights.

Contact Accessibility Coordinators

  Brandon Ray/Director of IT Services/Technology Accessibility Coordinator

   (360) 442-2251
Fax: (360) 442-2259

  Mary Kate Morgan/Director of Disability Support Services & Special Populations

   (360) 442-2341

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