Before you upload that doc!

Find out what you need to know about digital accessibility.

In light of our unexpected school closings, many districts are looking at ways to move more instruction online. If you have been tasked with moving content online, it’s important to make sure that what you upload meets accessibility in technology standards.

Standards?

Don’t panic if you have never heard of these standards. It doesn’t mean you need to rewrite everything you plan to use online. However, keep these guidelines in mind as you create new documents and briefly review any previously used documents before uploading them. There are some training videos and links below to get you started.

What does the law say right now?

Until recently, K-12 schools in most states have not been required to meet these standards, but that is likely to change with the unexpected increase of online courses. You can stay informed about the laws in your state by clicking on the map at Accessibility Laws for K-12 Schools.

You can learn more about the specific standards at Section508.gov.

Where to start

The bulk of information is very difficult to decipher at this time, but I created a video while updating an old document that had several digital accessibility issues. You can follow along and get ideas of how to update your own documents as you work.

Screenshot of the Quick Tips Sheet linked in the same section

I have also created a quick tip sheet to print for personal use and/or distribute in your district. Quick Tips Sheet

Screenshot of the Digital Accessibility Checklist linked here

And here’s a Checklist for use with Google Docs that also provides a ton of helpful links.

People have asked about making sure their Bitmoji classroom is compliant. I’m looking into that myself so please comment if you have info to share.

When you’re ready to dig deeper

Take a moment to learn how screen readers work. This reveals a lot about why we need to pay more attention to our document design.

View the training video below created by Melissa Green and The University of Alabama’s Center for Instructional Technology technology accessibility team.

Updated Accessibility Statement by U.S.D.O.E: Stay informed of the most recent statements made by the U.S. Department of Education. This is also where students and families can report schools and other government-funded institutions for non-compliance.

Reviewing a Course for Specific Review Standard 8.3: This is an instructional page published by Quality Matters, an organization focused on improving the quality of online learning across the U.S.

Universal Design for Learning: A thorough site published by the University of Kentucky with ample information about designing for accessibility.

Digital Accessibility Checklist published by Oakland University for faculty use.

Have others? Share them in the comments.

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