When we think of “Accessibility” we could highlight its concept as the breaking of barriers, comprehensive inclusion, elimination of obstacles and equal opportunities for everyone, without any distinctions such as physical, cognitive, socio-cultural, economic, religious, gender, etc., a condition in which anyone can use or enjoy any service or product.
However, focusing on Accessibility in the area of education means thinking about the creation of new formats and contents that contribute to developing an inclusive education, which puts an end to the barriers of learning, while encouraging participation of students with hearing, visual, cognitive, speech and/or motor skills impairments.
Favoring this concept, Blackboard has developed an accessibility MOOC, with the aim of teaching any instructor in the world to create online courses and contents that are much more accessible for students who have a special need.
That is why the need to build inclusive classrooms is increasing, because as the World Health Organization (WHO) points out, 15% of the world’s population suffers from some form of disability, this suggests reaching a sizable number of people for whom access to online education should be equitable just as it is for the rest of the population.
Unfortunately, students may be affected when stopping their learning process because of inaccessible course content; for this reason it is of the essence to help institutions understand how their courses and their online content should be measured in terms of accessibility standards, regardless of what Learning Management System (LMS) they are using, in order to eliminate barriers in their online learning environments.
In this regard, and working alongside with the institutions, teacher training is an important part of this process, because through understanding and awareness they can identify opportunities to improve the accessibility of their own content.
This is how Blackboard, through this accessibility MOOC, seeks to contribute to teacher training in order to raise awareness about the best practices and develop more inclusive thinking in their own areas and content, thus, continuing to train students for success now and in the future.
*The course will have two sessions:
1. October 16th – November 10th, 2017
2. January 8th – February 2nd, 2018
*More information and enrollment: http://go.blackboard.com/AXMOOC