All students have a right to take part in their education at an equal level. It is important to ensure that the learning environment is designed so that all students can participate fully.
How are we doing overall at City?
We have had a whole term with our new friendly Ally accessibility tool in Moodle. A first look at the institutional data Ally provides gives us encouraging insights. Our overall accessibility score went from a medium 57% in 2018-19 to a high 75% in 2020-21. The score has been high for the last two years despite the total checked content increasing by almost 30%. However, we still have a way to go.
How to remediate your severe issues, one by one?
Ally groups accessibility issues into minor, major and severe. Overall, we see that issues classified as severe have decreased since 2018 but we would like to bring these down to zero. Here’s how you can help us with this challenge:
- Run the “Accessibility Report” from the “Settings” – “Reports” menu in your module.
- Severe issues are listed at the top of the “Remaining issues” in the “Overview tab” with a red circle and exclamation mark.
- Select the item to open Instructor Feedback Panel, which will allow you to remove the content.
- If you wish to keep it, you should consider a more accessible version.
There are four types of severe issues:
- ImageSeizure: images that can cause seizures.
- Parsable: files that are malformed or corrupted and students may not be able to open.
- Scanned: PDFs that are scanned images without machine-readable text – Optical Character Recognition (OCR).
- Security: files that require a password.
Images that can cause seizures
Please remove gifs, banners or other moving images with this error as soon as possible.
Animated images can make content more engaging, but they must be used in an accessible way. Flashing or patterned effects can make people with or without epilepsy feel disorientated, uncomfortable or unwell. For about 3% of people with epilepsy, exposure to flashing lights at certain intensities or to certain visual patterns can trigger seizures. Many are not aware of this sensitivity until they have a seizure (Photosensitivity and Seizures | Epilepsy Foundation). If the image is needed, there needs to be a way to pause, stop or hide any moving, blinking or scrolling information that:
- Starts automatically.
- Lasts for more than five seconds.
- Is presented in parallel with other content.
Scanned PDFs are completely inaccessible
PDFs are the biggest offenders as they are not designed to be accessible and will be difficult to remediate. Try to avoid creating PDFs if you can. Instead, when possible, we recommend:
- Use HTML content where possible such as a Moodle Book or Lesson. The Course: Accessible alternative formats to documents (city.ac.uk) provides a few examples shared by staff at City.
- Upload source files in editable formats, like Word or PowerPoint, which students can convert to PDF or other formats like audio or HTML using the Ally Alternative Formats tool.
- Use the City’s Library Services digital course readings service to find scanned extracts of books and journals.
- Improve the accessibility of PDFs if needed. Use the Action Wizard in Adobe Acrobat Pro to identify text and add structure to your text, and fix other accessibility issues outlined in our creating accessible PDFs guidance.
Password-protected documents may be difficult to access
We recommend you remove these files as the likelihood is that students will struggle to access these documents. Otherwise, consider using accessible methods for authentication such as sharing a link.
Malformed or corrupted files cannot be opened
There is nothing else to do but to remove these before your learners find out the hard way, trying to access the document for study or revision.
Unfortunately, even if these files are hidden from students they will still impact your score. You can request a Moodle Playspace to keep archive resources or to test your content before adding it to your module.
Benefits to learners
“Hi, I’m Adi and I’m studying for a Business Degree and I’m Blind, so I use a screen reader to navigate online content. When it comes to online content, the easiest format for me to navigate is HTML and the most problematic is pdf.”
“Hello, I’m Dafydd and I’m studying for an English degree. With my dyslexia, I can struggle with written content. Where possible, I prefer getting access to written materials in digital format so the text can be spoken aloud by assistive technology. That makes it much easier for me to quote unquote “read” the content [rather] than reading it on a piece of paper. ”
Find out what the barriers are and how you can make a difference, in Moodle, take the online module, Introduction to Accessibility and meet Adi, Dafydd, Alex, Emma and Ghizzi, to hear how.
Do you need a hand?
For additional support and training, please reach out to the Digital Accessibility team via the Service Desk.