CIRCL: A Promising Practice in Modeling and Promoting Accessibility

The Center for Innovative Research in Cyberlearning (CIRCL) is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to work with cyberlearning-themed projects to support, synergize, and amplify their efforts. One of the ways CIRCL engages with the many targeted projects is through their dynamic website. The CIRCL site provides a place where new and existing projects can browse project descriptions, read perspectives from community members, and find resources. As a prominent resource for so many cyberlearning programs CIRCL in a unique position to model accessibility and offer resources for other projects to use to make their offerings more accessible.

CIRCL partnered with AccessCyberlearning—a project hosted by the University of Washington and funded by NSF to help cyberlearning projects make their products accessible to individuals with disabilities and to incorporate accessibility and universal design into all aspects of their programs—for assistance in developing resources on accessibility for the CIRCL website and otherwise spreading the word about accessibility issues to cyberlearning-themed projects. First, CIRCL worked with AccessCyberlearning to ensure their website was accessible. Then, they worked together to create and post the Accessibility Resources section for the CIRCL website. The section includes links to publications, videos, and resources for making cyberlearning technology and pedagogy accessible to students and instructors with disabilities.

Both CIRCL and AccessCyberlearning promote the accessibility resource section of the CIRCL site to cyberlearning-themed projects through their communities of practice. But CIRCL didn’t stop there. They went on to integrate accessibility topics into other featured and host a webinar Accessible Cyberlearning: What You Need to Know to Create an Accessible Cyberlearning Program co-led by the PI and director of AccessCyberlearning and a member of another cyberlearning project.

CIRCL’s integration of accessibility and universal design into multiple components of their community offerings is a promising practice in modeling and promoting accessibility.

Additional information including publications and videos related to the accessibility of cyberlearning projects can be found on the AccessCyberlearning website