How to Make Content Accessible for Students
Content is one of the most important aspects of remote learning and creating the content your students need will probably take up a lot of your time. But once the content is created, you still need to find a way to make the content available to your students. When making content accessible to them, there are a number of factors that you need to keep in mind, such as the fact that not all students learn in the same way. Some students are not on the same level as everyone else and some may have a disability that can hinder their access to learning materials.
Whatever challenges you and your students face, this guide will offer you simple strategies on how to make content accessible to your students.
Using Accessible Videos
When your content is accessible to all students, they all have the opportunity to engage with the topic, thereby having an equal chance of understanding the course material. Since up to 20 percent of all people live with disabilities, it is likely that some of your students may not be able to know that there is an issue or even how to speak about it.
Therefore, it is a good idea to have accessible options available to make it easier for your student to grasp the course material whether you think they need it or not. Videos are an interactive and highly accessible medium of learning, but only when done correctly.
To make videos even more accessible to all students, the following are some things you can do;
Include Captions: Captions make it easier for students who are hearing impaired or deaf to take the courses material more easily. They are most effective when they follow the visual aspects of the video more accurately.
Include Audio Transcriptions: Audio transcriptions are descriptions of the visual elements of the video. They can make it easier for blind or visually impaired students to get access to the course material.
Use a 508- Compliant Video Player: It is also a good idea to give your students the ability to use keyboard navigation or an assistive device to navigate the video player.
In this case, the video creation and editing tool that you use can play a critical role. Wondershare DemoCreator has a video editor that meets all requirements and can be accessible on all devices including Chromebooks. You can use DemoCreator to add various types of captions to your videos easily and quickly.
The Benefits of Using Accessible Videos
Other than the obvious fact that videos can be useful in making your course content more accessible to all students. There are several more benefits to the use of videos as learning tools. Research has shown that videos can be very effective in the way a person processes information.
The following are some benefits of using accessible videos as a learning tool;
- The human brain can process images up to 60,000 times faster than text. This means that videos can make it easier for your students to understand the course material than if you shared thousands of pages of documents.
- Videos are also the most beneficial way for 20% of people with disabilities to learn, primarily because they make learning more accessible them.
- Using videos in the classroom setting can also save a lot of time, sometime up to 25% of more class time that can be used for deeper discussion.
- A well-produced video can also do more to boost the student’s interest, understanding and retention than more than 1.8 million written words.
- Video is also one of the few modes of communication that make one-on-one engagement easily
- Accessible videos can also help you level the playing field for all students
How to Create an Accessible Learning Environment
The benefits of creating an accessible learning environment are numerous. You may therefore wonder how you can easily create this accessible learning environment for your students. You can use 508-compliant video players, captions and video transcription as described above, but there are more things you can do. They include the following;
Use Asynchronous Video: To say that coordinating all your students into an extended live class meeting is challenging at this time is an understatement. Using asynchronous teaching methods such as a combination of pre-recorded screencasts and talking-head style video lectures can be more convenient for everyone.
Offer Course Materials in more than One Format: You will find that giving your students the course material in a variety of formats is one of the best ways to help the process the information. This is because no two students learn in exactly the same way. For example, you will find that there are some students who will have trouble reading, but find video very beneficial.
Therefore, replacing written instructions with audio-visual content can go a long way in helping your students to remain engaged with the course material. It is can also help a student who has trouble with written content improve their reading skills.
Make the Content Accessible from Multiple Devices both Online and Offline: It is very important to make sure that the content you create is accessible to your students on the devices that they do have at home. This is especially important if your school doesn’t have a one-on-one laptop program. Make sure that the text in the video will be clear enough for your student to see even on a mobile device. Use large, easy-to-read font.
It is also equally important to keep in mind that some students may not be able to access the internet all the time. Therefore, make the course material accessible both online and offline. For example, you can give your students the option to download the course material and videos if they don’t have a consistent internet connection.
Tips for Creating Accessible Course Content for Your Students
Whether you are using video or not, creating accessible course content for your students can be a little overwhelming, especially when you don’t know where to start. Before we share with you some tips that can help ease the process, the following three framing questions can help you decide the kind of content you need and how to get started;
- How does the course format and content support or limit accessibility?
- What prior knowledge if any do the students need to have to be successful?
- What limitations can prevent the students from reaching their learning goals?
With these framing questions in mind, the following tips should help you improve accessibility for your learners;
1. Plan the Online Teaching- Learning Strategy
Without a plan, it can be very difficult to make sure that your students can easily access the course material. The first aspect of planning the online teaching- learning strategy is to make sure there is consistency in the entirety of the course.
In the planning stage, you will also need to take into account the learning styles of your students and any previous experiences they may have. This will make it easy for you to create content that the students will find useful and therefore easy engage with.
Finally, the planning stage must account for the time it will take your students to learn. Give them adequate time to go through the course material and complete the assignments.
2. Use Constructive Course Alignment
Constructive alignment is making sure that the students can easily link what they are learning with the previous knowledge and experiences that they have gained. For progressive purposes, it is important to make sure that any new content seamlessly integrates with old knowledge on the same topic.
3. Proper Development of Assessments and Evaluation
Then, you need to make sure that any assessments and evaluations not only correspond to the level of learning that the student has achieved, but they are also designed to determine how much the student has learned.
4. Use Consistent Page Titles and Headings
This is particularly important if your students rely on in screen readers to interact with content. Consistent and clear page titles and headings can make it easy for your students to find their way around the course material. It is also one of the best ways to help visually impaired students who may not be able to see the full layout of the site.
At this time when blended learning has become a necessity, creating reliable and accessible course content has become very important. It is our hope that the tips above will help you plan, create and distribute a learning experience that will not just be available to your students, but one that will make the learning process easier and more fulfilling.