The Center on Accessible Distance Learning (AccessDL) is funded by the U.S. Department of Education (grant # OPE P333A020044 and P333A50064) to share guidance and resources on making distance learning courses accessible to students and instructors with disabilities. It is directed by DO-IT. Listed below are directions for joining a discussion list as well as publications, videos, websites, resource centers, promising practices, and research.
Guidelines for designing Internet-based distance learning courses to fully include all students. View more videos.
- AccessDL Discussion List - is to discuss issues related to creating accessible distance learning courses. This list fosters ongoing discussion about accessible design, policy, practice, training, and support. It is supported by DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking and Technology) at the University of Washington. For more information about this list consult:
Distance Learning Program Accessibility Indicators
- Ten Indicators of Distance Learning Program Accessibility - an opportunity to apply and to provide ongoing feedback on indicators of an accessible distance learning program.
Resources on Accessible Distance Learning
Overview Publications and Video Presentations
- Real Connections: Making Distance Learning Accessible to Everyone - DO-IT video and publication with strategies for designing distance learning courses that are accessible to students with disabilities.
- Equal Access: Universal Design of Distance Learning - a checklist to ensure access and promote the learning of all students.
- World Wide Access: Accessible Web Design - DO-IT video and publication on how to make web pages accessible to people with disabilities.
- A Survey of Online Instruction Issues and Strategies for Postsecondary Students with Learning Disabilities - a 2002 article by Robin Cook and Marsha Gladhart in Information Technology and Disabilities Journal that explores strategies for overcoming accessibility obstacles such as websites with poor navigation, crowded hyperlinks, and flashing graphics.
- The Design of Accessible Distance Education Environments that use Collaborative Learning - a 2002 article by Katarina Schenker and Lawrence Scadden in Information Technology and Disabilities Journal that discusses accessibility issues that arise when collaboration and dialogue are central to success in an online course.
- Information Technology and Disabilities Vol. VIII Number 1 (2002) - special issue that explores issues and strategies for overcoming accessibility obstacles.
- IMS Guidelines for Developing Accessible Learning Applications - overview and technical guidelines for the design of accessible online learning.
- Accessibility of Learning Management Systems - accessibility issues for students with disabilities. Check out the summary of some of these issues presented by project CANnect.
- How-To Guide for Creating accessible Online Learning Content - guidelines for online learning design from CANnect.
- Access E-Learning - an online tutorial comprised of 10 modules that share techniques for making distance learning accessible to participants with disabilities.
- Accessibility of eLearning - The Open University's introduction to challenges and solutions regarding e-learning access for individuals with disabilities.
Q&A's from DO-IT's Online Knowledge Base
- How can I select a web accessibility software tool? - overview of tools designed to check web accessibility.
- Are chat rooms accessible to people with disabilities? - overview of accessibility issues using chat.
- Are electronic whiteboards accessible to people with disabilities? - overview of accessibility issues with white boards.
- What are some of the barriers students with disabilities face in distance learning courses? - summary of accessibility challenges.
- What do distance learning professionals need to know about accessibility? - important issues regarding accessibility.
- How can I get started in making my distance learning course accessible to all students? - first steps to consider.
- EASI - interactive web conferences and instructor-led courses through EASI (Equal Access to Software and Information).
- GRADE - free, online tutorial that explains how to create accessible distance learning materials from the Georgia Tech Research on Accessible Distance Education.
- WebAIM - an online course planning tool for creating your own web accessibility course from Web Accessibility in Mind.
- Web Accessibility 101 - free, self-paced, online course focusing on web accessibility policy, standards, and design from the University of Wisconsin.
- The Center for Universal Design in Education - resources to help educators apply universal design to all aspects of the educational experience, including technology, services, and instruction.
- The National Center on Disability and Access to Education (NCDAE) - a center that addresses issues of technology and disability in education policies and practices to enhance the lives of people with disabilities
- National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) - a research and development facility dedicated to making media and information technology accessible to people with disabilities.
- WebAIM - resources from the Web Accessibility in Mind project, including a streaming video introduction, links to online courses and articles, and a tutorial.
- Technology and Universal Design - DO-IT's collection of videos, publications and web resources on the procurement, development and design of accessible technology.
- Accessible Technology at the UW - resource website on accessible technology hosted by the University of Washington.
- Center on Online Learning and Students with Disabilities - a collaborative center engaged in researching the accessibility of online learning offerings, particularly at the precollege level.
- Michigan Virtual University: A Promising Practice in Developing Standards for Online Courses - integrating accessibility into online course standards.
- PIVoT: A Promising Practice in Making an Online Physics Course Accessible - an example of a fully accessible course.
- The University of Washington: A Promising Practice in Making Distance Learning Courses Accessible to Students with Disabilities - developing policies and practices at the distance learning program level.
- Distance Learning: A Case Study on the Accessibility of an Online Course - experiences of one instructor.
- Steps Toward Making Distance Learning Accessible to Students and Instructors with Disabilities - step-by-step process of the University of Washington.
Accessibility Documentation from Learning Management System (LMS) Vendors
Accessibility of LMS products is constantly evolving, but several vendors provide documentation regarding their products' accessibility features and how to deliver accessible courses using their products. Some examples are provided below. Also, Access Technology Higher Education Network (ATHEN) has coordinated several active collaborations between higher education institutions and LMS vendors to help the latter improve their accessibility. These are listed on the ATHEN Collaboration Groups website.
- Research on Web Accessibility in Higher Education - a 2003 article by Terrill Thompson, Sheryl Burgstahler, and Dan Comden in Information Technology and Disabilities Journal, that explores the correlation between manual methods of evaluating website accessibility and evaluation by Bobby and evaluates the accessibility of key websites in selected post-secondary institutions.
- Online Distance Education - "Anytime, Anywhere" but not for Everyone - a 2001 article in Information Technology and Disabilities Journal by Axel Schmetzke, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.