This resource was created by the Digital Education Strategies (DES) team at the G. Raymond Chang School for Continuing Education at Ryerson University to address a need for professional development training for web developers on web accessibility. The topic is of critical importance for technical programs offered by post-secondary institutions, though rarely covered in formal education.
This resource is an adaptation of the massive open online course (MOOC) of the same name, developed by The Chang School, and offered through the Canvas Network in 2016/2017.
The Digital Education Strategies team was responsible for all aspects of this resource’s production, including instructional design, web development, video production, and editing.
Special thanks go to DES team member Greg Gay for authoring the content. Greg has been in the web accessibility field since the mid-1990s as an auditor and as the lead on many research and development projects that push the boundaries of accessibility in information technology. He has been involved in e-learning just as long with more than 20 online courses to his name.
Funding for this project was provided by the Government of Ontario’s Enabling Change Program. An advisory committee made up of experts from the disability and accessibility community in the Toronto area provided feedback and support in conceptualizing the offering.
Although the context for this resource is Ontario, Canada, and it includes some discussion of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), it will be relevant to a global audience. Accessibility as it applies to the AODA applies in other jurisdictions through the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0), which the AODA web accessibility requirements are based upon.
Though aimed at educating web developers about accessibility, the learning materials here will be of interest to anyone who wants to understand how barriers on the Web affect access for people with disabilities. What you’ll learn here goes well beyond accommodating people with disabilities. Like many other so-called adaptations (e.g., curb cuts discussed in Unit 1), efforts that go into making the Web more accessible to people with disabilities make it more usable for everyone.
Likewise, the business arguments for accessibility are about more than complying with the law or accommodating people with disabilities. They are about reaching the broadest audience possible. People with disabilities have family and friends who together will go elsewhere if they are unable to effectively access a website. When you consider that people with disabilities make up nearly 15% of the population (WHO), including family, relatives, and acquaintances, that number can reach 50% of the population. Most businesses can’t afford to serve only 50% of their potential customer base.
Web accessibility, and digital accessibility in general, just makes good sense, no matter how you look at it.
What are people saying?
- Hearing people from Australia, the U.K., Europe speak about accessibility and provide their insights was interesting; it wasn’t just about people from Canada and particularly Ontario because this is where we happen to be.
- This course was much more than I expected. It was very comprehensive, provided a lot of relevant examples, and also helped build some tools to continue to reinforce what I learned.
- The course is extremely thorough and covers a lot of information. It’s well organized and it shows dedication and professionalism from the team that put it together. It’s a real jewel. I could not have found a better place to get up to date on these topics. Moreover I’ve been collecting throughout the lessons a lot of documentation and tools that will be very useful in the future. It’s an eye-opener.