This page provides links to resources on accessible e-learning, with particular emphasis on its accessibility to people with disabilities.
Articles in date order, most recent first.
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"Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG 2.0) covers a wide range of recommendations for making Web content more accessible. Following these guidelines will make content accessible to a wider range of people with disabilities, including blindness and low vision, deafness and hearing loss, learning disabilities, cognitive limitations, limited movement, speech difficulties, photosensitivity and combinations of these. Following these guidelines will also make your Web content more accessible to the vast majority of users, including some older users. These guidelines however are not able to address the needs of all people with disabilities."
Added: 11 July 2007
"The aim of the project "E-Learning for visually impaired persons" is to improve the access for people with visual handicaps to e-learning services. The following tasks are being carried out: 1. Evaluating existing e-learning products in all countries of the partner-organisations by a unique rating system, considering the special needs of people with visual handicaps 2. Publishing these results with detailed description of the available accessible products and services via online database. 3. Developing a guideline for developers of e-learning systems. These guidelines consider the essential systems of e-learning (LMS, VCS, WBT)."
Added: 18 March 2006
Project being undertaken by a group of European partner organisations
"Publicly Available Specification (PAS) 78 has been developed by the Disability Rights Commission (DRC) in collaboration with BSI. This PAS outlines good practice in commissioning websites that are accessible to and usable by disabled people."
Added: 8 March 2006
PAS 78 is available in large print, easy read, disk, audio, braille, daisy and Welsh format.
"The paper was produced and published in association with Pinsent Masons for the JISC Legal - Legal Aspects of Online Learning Environments Workshop/Conference - held at the University of Warwick on 1-2 June 2005."
Added: 7 July 2005
Paper available in PDF or Word format
"Becta has produced a comprehensive guide to website accessibility, covering basic concepts through to detailed, practical guidance about how to assess and ensure that a website is accessible. This guide should be of interest to anyone involved designing, developing, managing or maintaining websites. It is also important that those involved in designing and creating resources which are delivered through websites also take account of this guidance" Becta
Added: 12 April 2005
The full guide is available to download in Word or PDF format. You can also access each part of the guide online.
"Accessible Education Matters is an interactive learning course and reference guide for everyone working for learning providers in Further Education and Higher Education. This multi-media resource shows users how to adopt best practice and meet their obligations under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1995: Part IV." Produced by BDP Media in ssociation with Bond Pearce, one of the UK's fastest-growing law firms with expert input from the National Association of Disability Officers and the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Added: 12 March 2005
"Accessible Education Matters is a practical self study tool for positive change."
"The site contains resources and links for distance learning administrators, educators, web designers and students about how to ensure that distance learning is accessible to students and instructors with disabilities. Categories of resources include discussion lists as well as publications and streaming video for distance learning designers, instructors, trainers, webmasters and editors."
Added: 27 December 2004
The National Center on Accessible Distance Learning (AccessDL) is funded by the U.S. Department of Education to share guidance and resources on making distance learning courses accessible to students and instructors with disabilities
"As corporate instructional designers, we are tasked with educating a diverse workforce. According to a September 2003 report in Florida TechNet, the National Institute of Literacy reports that 30 percent to 50 percent of the general adult population has an undiagnosed learning disability. Various disability support groups report that between eight percent and 10 percent of the adult population lives with color blindness, hearing loss, and low vision. Because Privacy acts leave disclosure about special learning needs to the discretion of the employee, trainers and developers are often in the dark about what accessibility issues they need to address. Here are some best practices for incorporating basic accessibility into your e-learning. " Christina Houck, Learning Circuits, August 2004
Added: 26 August 2004
Accessibility in workforce education tends to be reactive rather than proactive.
"UsableNet provides the industry-leading software that empowers web developers and organizations to automate website accessibility and usability testing, repair and delivery."
Added: 12 February 2004
Lots of information on how to create a usable and accessible site
"The Accessibility in Distance Education (ADE) Web site focuses on helping faculty develop accessible online learning materials for people with disabilities. It is divided into five major sections, targeting common accessibility questions."
Added: 30 January 2004
A number of useful resources about accessibiliy from the University of Maryland University College
"A new book on web accessibility by Joe Clark"
Added: 7 July 2003
"These files contain the full text of the printed book, plus hyperlinks."
"These learning modules will provide valuable instructional materials for training efforts in Web accessibility. These modules not only describe web accessibility but how to achieve it with specific design and coding techniques." (California State University) CSU Center for Distributed Learning,
Added: 14 May 2003
6 modules from "What is Web Accessibility" to "Checkers and Validators"
"It is aimed at all staff in Further and Higher Education and contains advice and case studies relating to many aspects of the learning process in relation to disabled people and students with learning difficulties. It contains useful information on web accessibility issues." Edited by Lawrie Phipps, Allan Sutherland and Jane Seale, TechDis in conjunction with ALT (the Association for Learning Technology)
Added: 21 March 2003
A number of articles in this collection about accessibility
"How would your manager (or your accountant) react if you told them that, because of the way you'd designed your e-learning system or your e-learning content, as many as 20% of your potential learners (aka customers) were unable to gain access or make any sense of what you provided? And how do you think the learners felt? In this article, Clive Shepherd examines just what's required to make e-learning accessible for all and explores the implications (legal and otherwise) of sticking your head in the sand and ignoring the issue." Clive Shepherd, Tactix, February 2003
Added: 10 February 2003
A review of web accessibility issues aimed at UK developers
"The Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitative Services' need to develop a fully accessible e-Learning course that conformed to Section 508 requirements was the motivation behind an exhaustive search for tools and design strategies to support the challenge. Finding little to support their efforts, they adapted tools and developed their own guidelines and templates. If you're not currently designing fully accessible e-Learning, you soon will be. This article is packed with strategies, checklists, and references you can use today!" Martie Buzzard, eLearning Developeers Journal, 8 October 2002
Added: 9 October 2002
A developer's guide to developing accessible e-learning solutions
"TechDis is a Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) funded service supporting the further and higher education community in all aspects of technology and disabilities and/or learning difficulties. The service is part of the JISC Technologies Centre and is co-located with TechLearn, which looks at new and emerging technology in the field of learning and teaching."
Added: 8 September 2002
An academic research centre
Added: 12 May 2002
A series of links to accessibility links at the MCU (Making Connections Unit)
"The intention here is to compare the Priority 1 Web Content Accessibility checkpoints with the Section 508 Web Accessibility standards. However, some of the 508 standards relate to lower priority checkpoints from the Web Accessibility Initiative. The view of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines lists only the priority one checkpoints The Section 508 view includes priority 2 and 3 checkpoints in the comparison." JimThatcher.com
Added: 26 February 2002
Includes some tables that compare the checkpoints and the standards
"Accessibility is a buzzword that's been on the lips of people involved with e-learning for many months now. But what is it exactly? Optavia Corporation, a consulting firm that assists with issues of accessibility and usability, defines it as "the ability to use the Internet even when functioning under constraints". Jennifer L Salopek, Learning Circuits, October 2001
Added: 17 October 2001
A good summary of accessibility and the reasons to achieve it
"Despite the increase in educational opportunities through distance education and legislative measures, particularly Section 504 and ADA, people with disabilities-some 54 million in the U.S. (McNeil, 1997)-remain underrepresented in postsecondary education. Longitudinal data indicate that students with high-school diplomas are less likely to enroll in public four-year colleges, and that those who do enroll are less likely to graduate (Horn and Berktold, 1999). As Gadbow and Du Bois (1998) point out, a large majority of people with disabilities under the age of 65 are intellectually capable of succeeding in postsecondary education, yet most have not attended institutions of higher learning" Dr Axel Schmetzke, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, In "Information Technology and Disabilities", Vol III No 2 April 2001
Added: 12 October 2001
For more articles, see the Information technology and Disabilities page at EASI (Equal Access to Software and information)
"Online "distance learning" courses seem to be the coming thing in higher education. Are online courses a boon or a bane for the disability community? Disability often means difficulty getting places, so online courses seem attractive. They seem a solution, too, for people with multiple chemical sensitivity and anxiety issues. And people with repetitive-stress injuries need a way to access the Internet by means other than the typical keyboard and mouse." Art Blaser, Ragged Edge Magazine, Issue 5, September 2001
Added: 12 October 2001
Looks at the accessibility issues of online distance learning courses
"Section 508 requires that Federal agencies' electronic and information technology is accessible to people with disabilities. The Federal Information Technology Accessibility Initiative is a Federal government interagency effort to offer information and technical assistance to assist in the successful implementation of Section 508."
Added: 20 July 2001
The US government's initiative to ensure IT is accessible by people with disabilities
"Web-based training's promise of learning anytime, anyplace may not hold true for people with disabilities."
Added: 19 July 2001
This article looks at how far web-based courses really are accessible for all
"Do you know how to evaluate your e-learning for accessibility to people with disabilities? Are your e-learning products accessible by the 57 million people in the United States with disabilities? Are your e-learning products compliant with the new federal standards mandated by the Section 508 regulations?" $489 to download from Brandon-Hall website
Added: 19 July 2001
Thirty percent of the proceeds from the sale of this report will be donated to non-profit organizations involved in providing assistive technology and rehabilitation training to people with disabilities.
"Since the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) launched the Web Accessibility Initiative in October 1997, designing the Web to be more accessible for people with disabilities has evolved from theory into practice. It seems like a small thing, but over time we may look favorably upon simple tools such as the WAI's authoring checklist as a rare facilitator in the discourse between politics and design." (1999) Matt Margolin, WebMonkey.
These guidelines from W3C "explain how to make web content accessible to people with disabilities. The guidelines are intended for all web content developers (page authors and site designers) and for developers of authoring tools. The primary goal of these guidelines is to promote accessibility." (1999)