Sharing electronically and accessibly in library-led instruction
Keywords:accessibility, universal design, online instruction
The electronic information and technology accessibility project is a strategic overhauling of the digital instructional materials of the Health Sciences Library System (HSLS) to comply with the accessibility standards established in a 2020 University of Pittsburgh policy. Though these technologies have existed for quite some time, library instructors were not skilled in the actual creation and design of documents, web content, and presentations with accessibility in mind. Over the past year and a half, a team within HSLS developed detailed guidance and education on universal design and creating an inclusive online learning environment. These guidelines were developed in accordance with Section 508 and the WCAG2.1, with a focus on an improved experience for the D/deaf community and those with visual impairments. We initially made accessibility improvements to online subject guides, in-person presentations, and digitally shared class materials. The COVID-19 pandemic and complete shift to virtual instruction then necessitated the evaluation of platforms used in remote learning (such as Zoom and Panopto), where accessibility best practices needed to be incorporated. This article highlights going beyond in-program accessibility checkers and describes how library technology experts and content creators worked together to bridge the gap of accessibility in the information we share.
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