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MOOC Design: Addressing inclusion and accessibility in open online courses

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Addressing inclusion and accessibility in open online courses by Andy Lane & Rachel Slater, Open University, UK, 25 October 2018

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MOOC Design: Addressing inclusion and accessibility in open online courses

  1. 1. Addressing inclusion and accessibility in open online courses Andy Lane - Professor of Environmental Systems Rachel Slater – Senior Lecturer and Accessibility Coordinator OpenupED webinar 25th October 2018
  2. 2. Need for inclusivity Many potential barriers to online courses • Cultural • Language • Previous education • Deprivation index and socioeconomic status • Perception and confidence • Technical • Disability and assistive technology
  3. 3. Need for inclusion and accessibility • Over 11 million in UK with a limiting long term illness, impairment or disability (UK Govt Stats, 2014) • 7% UK undergraduate students in receipt of disabled students allowance (DSA) (HESA, 2018) • Disproportionate affect on health, education, employment and poverty • Around 15% of HE students come from disadvantaged backgrounds suffering multiple deprivations
  4. 4. Treaties and Laws • The UK Equality Act 2010 and the UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006) help to enforce, protect and promote rights of disabled persons. • These rights cover most areas including: – employment – education • In the UK an education provider has a duty to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to make sure disabled students are not discriminated against. This could include providing extra support and aids (like specialist teachers or equipment). • 24th September 2018 saw new UK legislation called ‘The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) Accessibility Regulations arising from the from the EU Web Accessibility Directive (2016/2102). Universities now have to meet an accessibility requirement and publish an accessibility statement on their websites and apps.
  5. 5. The OU and online courses Two questions for you: • What proportion of OU students declare a disability? • How many open and free online courses does the OU offer?
  6. 6. The OU and online courses • Largest university in Europe with ~125,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students studying at a distance in 2016-17 • Largest provider of HE for people with declared disabilities ~24,000 students in 2016-17 • ~14,000 students receiving help with fees in 2016-17 • ~23% live in 25% most deprived areas in 2016-17 • ~50% have low previous qualifications • ~7,000 students studying outside the UK • Provides open education resources (OER) as part of charter to provide education to the public • Range of open resources and online courses: OpenLearn (~900 courses and ~6M visitors in 2016/17) ibooks on iTunes U (0.9M downloads) ebooks (Kindle) on Amazon FutureLearn MOOCs (~100 course presentations and ~400,000 enrolees (2017-18)
  7. 7. The OU, inclusion & accessibility • Mission: Open to people, places, methods and ideas • Student Accessibility Policy – Social model of disability – Promote an inclusive environment – Ensure proactive, anticipatory and responsive processes – Enable effective communication • Long history of supporting disabled students – Inclusivity everyone's responsibility – Dedicated teams: advice, registration, course design, production, delivery and student support • Disability Standard awarded 2016
  8. 8. Technical context • WCAG 2.0 & 2.1 (W3C recommendations) • OU web accessibility guidelines (2014) – Navigation – Titles & structural headers – Text based equivalent for understanding editorial content (video, audio etc) – Keyboard accessible – Alternative formats • Testing – Responsive on mobile devices – Screenreaders – Colours and contrasts
  9. 9. Design challenges for online courses • Working at a screen • Greater use of interactive items • Collaborative activities • Online tuition • Use of links / third party materials • Online practical science / engineering • Use of bespoke software • Peer assessment
  10. 10. Tips for authors • Consider inclusion & accessibility from the outset (mindset is key!) • Good practice in design – Universal design, e.g. multiple means of representation – Language and culture – Study ‘chunks’ – Avoid media hopping – Glossary of key words • Consider all students, use best design for the majority • Then if not accessible provide alternative to achieve equivalent learning • Inform students of potential challenges and adjustments
  11. 11. In an ideal world… • Authors fully understand the needs of diverse learners – And know how to address them – And not feel accessibility stifled their openness or innovation • Institutions would have policies to guide authors and technical developers • Authoring tools would support authors in considering accessibility – E.g. create / prompt accessibility-related metadata • Delivery platforms would be fully accessible
  12. 12. References • HESA (2018) https://www.hesa.ac.uk/news/01-02- 2018/widening-participation-summary • WonkHE (2018) https://wonkhe.com/blogs/creating-a-21st- centurydyslexia-friendly-university/ • UK Govt Stats (2014) https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/disability-facts- and-figures/disability-facts-and-figures#education • OU student accessibility policy https://help.open.ac.uk/documents/policies/accessibility • OU Facts and Figures http://www.open.ac.uk/about/main/strategy-and- policies/facts-and-figures

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