Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Accessible Technology

After several weeks of exploring new technologies we can use in the classroom, this week we thought about how to make sure our course’s electronic environment is accessible to all of our students. In order to make our course materials accessible, they need to be available in multiple forms. Everything that is read must also be able to be heard. And everything that is listened to must also be able to be read. To achieve this we need to remember to make our documents accessible so they can be read by screen reading software like ClaroRead and Jaws, and we need to know how to add captions to instructional videos. The Center for Accessible Technologies in Shields Library has many resources to help you learn about electronic accessibility issues and test out your electronic course materials. Here is a link to a YouTube video introducing you to the C.A.T. http://youtu.be/LY99FUASKHE
The important thing to remember when making your documents is to use the “styles” feature in word in order to make titles, headings, and body of the text be easily read in a logical order when using reading software. This takes some practice, but with time will make it easier for your documents to become accessible. Next “save as” a PDF, this will make it easier for reading software to read your document. It generally is made “accessible” when saved as a PDF, but you can check the accessibility by looking under the “advanced” tab for “accessibility.”
You should notice this video has captions! If you don’t see them, please click on the “cc” at the bottom of the video. To add captions to your own YouTube videos, upload a transcript file saved as a Plain Text document to the Captions page after you click on Enhancements. You can only do this to your own videos. You can download YouTube videos by replacing the “www.” in the link to the video with “save”. This will allow you to download the video, and then you could privately upload it back to YouTube to caption it. You can also use Amara at www.universalsubtitles.com to add captions to videos if you have a link to the video.
Here are some recommended links regarding electronic accessibility:

Remember, you can’t do everything for everyone, but you can at least get started by making your documents accessible and adding captions to your videos!

Brought to you by Kim Pasene & Melody Schmid

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