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Making Online Teaching Accessible: Inclusive Course Design for Students with Disabilities

ISBN: 978-0-470-89244-2
192 pages
August 2010, Jossey-Bass
Making Online Teaching Accessible: Inclusive Course Design for Students with Disabilities (0470892447) cover image


Making Online Teaching Accessible offers online teachers, instructional designers, and content developers a comprehensive resource for designing online courses and delivering course content that is accessible for all students including those with visual and audio disabilities.

Grounded in the theories of learner-centered teaching and successful course design, Making Online Teaching Accessible outlines the key legislation, decisions, and guidelines that govern online learning. The book also demystifies assistive technologies and includes step-by-step guidance for creating accessible online content using popular programs like Microsoft Office and Adobe Acrobat, as well as multimedia tools.

Including a wealth of helpful tips and suggestions for effectively communicating with disabled students, the book contains practical advice on purchasing accessible course management systems, developing solutions for inaccessibility issues, and creating training materials for faculty and staff to make online learning truly accessible.

"This valuable how-to book is a critical tool for all instructional designers and faculty who teach online. Coombs' many years as a pioneer of online teaching show in his deep knowledge of the principles that can allow the reader to apply these lessons to any learning management system (LMS)."
Sally M. Johnstone, provost and vice president academic affairs, Winona State University, Minnesota; former executive director of WCET at WICHE

"As more and more of our social and professional lives come to be mediated by technology, online accessibility is a fundamental right, not a luxury. This book is a must-read for anyone concerned with maximizing access to learning."
Richard N. Katz, former vice president and founding director, EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research

"This valuable book reflects Coombs' unique experience and commitment to the best teaching, learning, and accessibility options for all kinds of students and teachers."
Steven W. Gilbert, founder and president, The TLT Group-Teaching, Learning, and Technology Group

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Table of Contents

List of Figures, Tables, and Exhibits.


ONE Creating a Level Learning Space.

How People with Disabilities Use Computers.

Universal Design and Online Learning.

Legislation, Decisions, and Guidelines Governing Online Learning.

Decisions tThe Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights.

Review of OCR Decisions and Online Learning.

Take-Aways from This Chapter.

TWO Online Learning and Students with Disabilities.

Accessibility of the Online Learning Infrastructure.

Creating Accessible Online Course Content.

The Students' Part of the Equation.

Take-Aways from This Chapter.

THREE Creating Accessible Content in Word and Excel.

An Introduction to Structuring Documents in Word.

Creating Well-Structured Documents.

Selecting Style Attributes to Enhance Accessibility.

Creating a Table of Contents.

Making Images in Word Accessible.

Take-Aways from This Chapter.

FOUR Creating Accessible Presentations with PowerPoint.

Powerpoint and Universal Design.

Designing Accessible Powerpoint Presentations.

Creating Narrated Slide Shows.

Take-Aways from This Chapter.

FIVE Delivering Accessible Content.

A Word about File Types.

Distributing Accessible Word Documents.

PDF Documents.

Distributing Excel Spreadsheets.

Distributing Accessible Powerpoint Content.

Online Accessibility Checkers.

Take-Aways from This Chapter.

SIX Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.

Historical Issues with Math Accessibility.

Authoring Accessible Electronic Math Documents.

Issues with Technical Graphics.

Providing Accessible Graphics.

Take-Aways from This Chapter.

SEVEN Making Multimedia Accessible.

The Role of Multimedia in Online Learning.

Creating a Transcript.

Adding Synchronized Captions to a Video.

Accessibility for Real-Time Audio or Video.

Take-Aways from This Chapter.

EIGHT Supporting Accessible Online Learning.

Appendix A: Section 508 Web Standards.

Appendix B: WebAIM Summary of W3C WAI WCAG2.

Appendix C: American Foundation for the Blind's Distance Learning. Survey.



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Author Information

Norman Coombs is CEO of EASI (Equal Access to Software and Information) and professor emeritus at the Rochester Institute of Technology where he pioneered RIT's distance learning program in the early 1980s. Coombs is coauthor of Information Access and Adaptive Technology.
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