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In this special:
Inclusive education and digital access: Is your institution on top of it? Highlights from Blackboard’s Global Accessibility Awareness Day.
Including the Print Disabled
Less than 10% of all published works in developed countries are made into accessible formats. In developing countries, it’s less than 1%. In his most recent book, Dr. Paul Harpur analyses how anti-discrimination and copyright laws affect people with disabilities in their capacity to access print content.
“The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has started a new disability politics which is essentially a new era in how society views us and includes people with disabilities. Moving forward, I think we are in this shift where we will have far-reaching consequences for inclusion, and technology providers have the opportunity to be at the forefront of enabling society for all uses.”
Dr. Paul Harpur, Senior Lecturer, University of Queensland
To the United States…
Bringing People Together
The Accessibility Network at the University of Cincinnati connects faculty and staff across the campus in a mission to improve the student experience around accessible course content materials.
“This is a wonderful generation of students that are coming to college right now. They are activists, they speak out, they know what their rights are. Campuses need to be aware that students will make their expectations clear and we need to be ready to meet those expectations. This is at the core of our values, especially as a public institution.”
Heidi Pettyjohn, EIT Accessibility Coordinator, University of Cincinnati
To the United Kingdom…
An Ally for Accessibility
The University of Derby, in the United Kingdom, increased its course content overall accessibility score by 4% in four months, and this is just the beginning.
“The biggest challenge we face is to bring about a cultural shift where inclusive practice becomes embedded in everyday activities, and that people across the university see the value and purpose in understanding the importance of inclusivity and putting it into action.”
Claire Gardener, senior learning technologist at University of Derby
…And Latin America
Access to Education
In Latin America, access to higher education for students between the ages of 18 and 24 is less than 40%. IPLACEX is a Chilean institution committed to improving this statistic.
“Our general strategy is to provide flexibility and accessibility. Access, when referring to a geographical component, is where we offer virtual environments for learning. When we talk about flexibility, we refer to aspects such as asynchronous learning or supporting people who have previous experience or knowledge, whether it be informal, gained through experience in the workplace, or formal. There is also the possibility of organizing the programs according to the previous knowledge gained, allowing students to accelerate their study process.”
Roberto Barriga Tapia, academic vice-rector at IPLACEX
Technology is not only a strategic ally for people with disabilities, but for all learners to feel acknowledged despite diverse learning styles or personal struggles. Chile’s Universidad Andres Bello (UNAB) is an institution that is fostering inclusion by providing education and development options for all learners.
“Through the conscious use of technology, we can provide greater and better opportunities for personal and professional development. Certainly, having a robust online offering of diverse study and professional development programs will expand opportunities for individuals who cannot access higher education in person, either due to geographic, employment, social, or health-related factors.”
Paola Olivares Díaz, director of Education Design, Development and Teaching at UNAB Online