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Accessibility & inclusion

Everyone can benefit from content that is accessible - such as an easy to navigate document or reading captions on a video in a noisy environment. Being accessible will help those who use assistive technologies to access and use your resources successfully. It’s good practice (and the law) to make content accessible.  It shouldn't be too much work to produce well laid out content; and it will increase the quality of your resources for everyone. Take a look at the accessibility expectations and our top tips below.

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1. Check student ILSPs

If you are involved in teaching students, staff must consult students’ Inclusive Learning Support Plans (ILSPs) for additional, bespoke disabled student requirements. (Contact your Dept Officer for guidance and see Student Support pages).

2. Follow accessibility expectations for teaching and learning

The minimum accessibility and inclusivity expectations below are set to ensure there is a consistent and minimum standard of practice which will enable most students to engage effectively with their learning. Further adjustments may be required to enable some students to access information or engage in their learning.

A woman on a Lenovo laptop.

Accessibility expectations Accordion

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3. Add captions to videos

Videos need to be captioned to enable hearing impaired viewers to follow the dialogue. Auto captions can be generated in eStream and Panopto. You will need to make sure you check the captions accuracy and edit where needed to make them meaningful. Consider using a USB headset with a microphone if you need more accurate captions. See Creating Accessible Videos for further information.

4. Make it accessible as you go

Making content accessible is easiest if you do it right from the start. There are a few key things you can do, which apply across various applications, to make a real difference. You’ll also find you produce a higher quality resource that can benefit everyone who uses it, as well as making a resource that can be used by assistive technologies. Take a look at the quick tips below on how you can make it accessible as you go.

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Quick tips Accordion

An old botany book.

5. Make scanned documents readable

If you have scanned documents e.g. page from a book, it can be very pixelated when zoomed in and unreadable for people using text-to-speech software. You could use the Library Digitisation Service for library resources, find an eBook alternative or apply optical character recognition (OCR) to the text to ensure it's readable by screen readers – look at Read and Write for further information.

6. Apply live captions to your online meetings

Live Captions can be useful for those with different levels of language proficiency or those who are working in a noisy environment. Your audience can turn on live captions in online Microsoft Teams meetings to aid understanding.

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7. Be aware of access to technology

Not everyone has a super-fast internet connection or access to devices all the time. Not everyone is based in the same location. Some might be in a different country with a different time zone and digital culture. If you are experiencing problems with a low bandwidth, intermittent or poor internet connection take a look at the advice on Using IT services on low-bandwidth connections. You can learn more about digital cultures the Intercultural Competencies online course.

8. Do you need additional support?

There are various tools you can use to help you access resources in a format that suits your needs. If you have difficultly typing, why not type using speech recognition to write rather than use the keyboard, or have a go with the immersive reader in Microsoft Office, or specialist tools like Read & Write, to help read documents and improve comprehension. Further advice is available from the Digital Accessibility team, including support for staff using assistive technologies, training on creating accessible resources and making accessible content for students with ILSPs.

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