How our users approach inclusivity and accessibility in reading lists
Talis is committed to supporting our universities with the UK Government regulations which came into force in September 2018. We’ve written about that here. In this post, we are looking at ways that our users have improved accessibility at their universities in order to meet the regulations.
Last year, Talis shared this information on a webinar (watch the recording here) to explain how our software is designed to meet accessibility guidelines using the themes of Vision, Physical & Motor skills and Learning & Literacy.
We recently ran a webinar on Inclusivity and Accessibility, hearing from the universities mentioned in this article on how they approached the requirements and implemented this with their reading list tool. Watch the webinar here.
You can find out more about these case studies below:
Roz Hall, Learning Technologies & Skills Development Manager at Chichester University told us about the project he was involved with to ensure academics are supported at the university to develop accessible teaching resources.
In response to the regulations, Roz first set about finding out what had to be done in Moodle to make it compliant. Roz investigated the requirements and highlighted the changes needed to made by various teams, such as the senior team and student experience team. A working group -Digital Accessibility Working Group (DAWG)) was set up to discuss issues that had been highlighted. This included meeting with student focus groups to get a user perspective of the issues raised.
The next phase was an investigation into how the required changes would be impacting systems across the university. This involved listing all affected systems, finding out who the owners of these systems were, and establishing and indicating deadlines. It was also important to create a web compliance checklist that complied with the WCAG 2.1 AA requirement so that existing pages could be checked, as well as templates for web accessibility statement for each of these pages.
It was important that content creators had all the information they needed to create pages that successfully met the accessibility requirements. Roz created a website to help people understand these requirements, which provided links to multiple resources for multiple content types. You can see it here: help.chi.ac.uk/accessibility.
“For me the important thing to take from these new accessibility regulations is that it shouldn’t be a major change in how we work as content creators. When producing learning materials for your students, you’d always check for accuracy, spelling and grammar. Accessibility is just another thing to add to that list and will soon become unthinkable that we would ever, as professionals, ignore it.” Roz Hall, Learning Technologies & Skills Development Manager, Chichester University
Natalia Gordon, Infomation Services Librarian, and Rachel Thornton, Copyright Clearance Officer at Leeds Beckett University told us about their approach to supporting students with accessibility needs to ensure they are supported in their studies, including utilising reading lists for alternative formats.
The library has already been running an alternative formats service for 10 years. This involves providing reading list resources in accessible formats for print-impaired students, which are digitised versions of resources that can be consumed with a screen reader. This was recently reviewed as it became clear that demand was growing and there were elements that could be improved. They reached out to the Continuous Improvement unit at the university who supported them by enabling them to review the current process and by helping them understand how it could be streamlined.
After this review process, they decided that using Talis Aspire was the best way to provide a consistent experience as it could be used by students who required additional support and by those who didn’t. They used reading lists in Talis Aspire to provide the print accessible resources to students who required additional support. This also streamlined the acquisitions workflow, allowing them to bring in various other tasks into the process to create an overall more efficient approach.
During this process, they were able to spot and fix issues that affected reading lists in general, such as identifying where new editions were available in the ‘Reviews’ section of Talis Aspire, which in turn improved the experience for all students.
During the feedback sessions, one student said “I feel like this will be life-changing for me. Because you can just click and it is there. The amount of times I literally have had to go into different tabs to get things, but it is all in one place which is really nice.”
Thank you to Roz, Natalia and Rachel for their contribution on the webinar and to this blog post. Have you implemented any new strategies to improve accessibility at your institution? We’d love to hear about them!
Do you need support from us in meeting accessibility requirements? Please raise a support ticket and the Services Team will be able to assist you.