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Accessibility

Effective Teaching and Learning

One of the biggest challenges facing organizations today is accessibility. If educational material is not accessible to students with unique needs, they are at a disadvantage.

As an internationally developed tool, the open-source core of Moodlerooms’ solutions (Moodle) is designed to meet a variety of world accessibility requirements, including Section 508, Section 504 and W3C. Moodlerooms also works with California State University's compliance office to ensure Moodle remains accessible.

 

Assistive Technologies

Moodle supports the use of assistive technologies such as screen readers, text magnifiers and speech-to-text solutions. Additionally, all functionality in joule is designed to be keyboard accessible.

Accessibility Testing Tools

Compliance with ADA, XHTML and JavaScript standards is also important for accessibility and Web browser compatibility. Moodle has standard accessibility tests available on every page. These checks run the W3C's Validator application to check for strict XHTML compliance, as well as the common ""Cynthia Says"" validation from Hi Software for both Section 508 and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) compliance.

Third-Party Accessibility Testing

As an open-source project, more than 60 million users worldwide are continuously using and testing Moodle, and all issues identified are openly reported, discussed, and fixed. Likewise, a worldwide project, which has had major investments from the UK, Italy, New Zealand, etc., works to make Moodle the most accessible LMS in the world.

 

Accessibility Best Practices

Technology alone doesn’t make online learning accessible, because even though Moodle itself is accessible, courses and imported content might not be. Familiarizing yourself with best practices for designing accessible content is vital to ensuring full compliance.

Allow for User Customization


User customization is a key tool in addressing the diversity of needs represented across a full set of users. Many different disabled people, including those with a visual impairment and dyslexia, find online content and interface elements can be made more readable if they are able to choose their own particular font style and size settings and use different background and foreground colors. This is usually most readily done by enabling the Web pages or software to inherit user-set parameters from the browser or computer operating system.

Provide Compatibility with Assistive Technologies


This simple statement hides a multitude of technical issues but, by following set Web or software standards, the opportunities for this being adequately addressed are maximized because the assistive technologies are usually developed with these same standards in mind. This includes adhering to standards for Web mark-up, for example, mark up headings as headings (and nest correctly), lists as lists and use tables for tabular information.

Use Different Ways of Presenting Information In An Interface


Different people are able to access information from an interface in different ways. Presenting such information in one way alone will thus probably exclude some people from the effective use of that interface. Therefore, it’s important to present important information in multiple ways. For example, if the status of a control is indicated by color, also indicate it by an appropriate text label that can be seen and is accessible to a screen-reader. This will ensure that it is accessible to those with color-blindness as well as those who use assistive technologies.

Provide Equivalents for Visual and Auditory Content and Interface Elements


Text is the most readily accessible form of online content. It can be rendered into synthetic speech by screen readers and configured for different presentation. Text descriptions should be provided for all images, graphics and video content, and text labeling of interface elements should be included. Text transcriptions of auditory content should also be provided.

Provide Context and Orientation Information


It is important to consider the accessibility issues of navigating around content as well as the content itself. This is an area often neglected. Support should be provided for efficient navigation by informing the user of where they are, taking into account that some users may be using screen-readers or other assistive technologies. This is another case where thinking about the needs of disabled users often yields benefits for all users by promoting general usability.

Allow Access to All Functionality From Keyboard Alone


Many disabled people are unable or prefer not to use a mouse. This includes those who are blind or have some physical disabilities. By ensuring that software can be fully used without a mouse, the needs of these users are met and more efficient interaction with the software is offered to all users.

 

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