New accessibility guidance

New guidance is available to help colleagues update learning and teaching resources to meet accessibility legislation requirements and the University’s approved best practice approach.

The new accessibility guidance covers written content as well as other formats and media

A laptop computer open on a desk with some paperwork nearby. July 2020

The guidance, which is available on the Digital Practice website, covers a variety of frequently asked questions, including: 

  • How can I check the accessibility of my teaching resources?
  • What do I do if I want to use a teaching resource that I can’t make accessible?; and
  • What general principles are there for written content?

It also applies to various formats and media, including videos, PDFs, handwritten notes and third-party content, such as external websites.

Workload implications are addressed, too – particularly due to covid-19 making some online teaching a necessity – along with advice for module leaders, examinations and online assessments. There are also links to additional resources for further help and support.  

Advice provided on accessibility will be updated as our approach to interpreting the regulations for complex academic disciplines is refined over time.

Professor Paul Taylor, Pro-Dean for Student Education for the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, said: “Ensuring our online teaching materials are accessible is both a legal requirement and a benefit to all our students.

“I don’t underestimate the scale of the task for the University, but with this new guidance, along with the accessibility tools within the systems we use every day and support from expert colleagues, there is much we can do in a straightforward manner.

“I would encourage teaching staff to focus on what they can do with the resource to hand to start with as we continue to revise the guidance over time.”

Legislation introduced in 2018 made it a requirement for public sector bodies to ensure the content of all online platforms and materials meets minimum standards for accessibility.

The guidance has been created by academic staff in response to this legislation, based on principles and standards approved by the Taught Student Education Board, chaired by Professor Tom Ward, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Student Education.

Visit the Digital Practice website for further information.

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