Learning Technology@LJMU


Blog Post: Changes to Accessibility Regulations

Blog Post: Changes to Accessibility Regulations

There have been some recent changes to Digital Accessibility Regulations. The new Digital Accessibility Regulations became law in September 2018: Accessibility Regulations 2018. These regulations are designed to improve access to Further and Higher Education, and contribute to the Government’s ambition to close disability attainment and progression gaps. Public Sector websites and mobile applications are required to comply with the international accessibility standard across a time-frame, with an end date of 23 September 2020. 

Here is the institutional guidance for digital accessibility.

TEL Accessibility Statement

The team have developed an accessibility statement outlining our commitment to improving and enhancing the user experience for all staff and students using learning systems such as Canvas. It outlines what we do to make our systems accessible, tools that can be used to enhance accessibility. More importantly it also specifies where to get help should there be any discrepancies.

Identifying Accessibility Issues

A number of issues have been identified which the team are now addressing:

Course navigation inconsistencies

Canvas contains a number of menus. Tutors may change the order or the number of items in your course menu. We have implemented a change to improve consistency between your courses, however, tutors may change this order for a particular reason. We will work with staff to help them improve consistency and the way they use the course menu and navigation in Canvas. 

Uploaded Images

Your Canvas courses may contain images which have not been properly tagged for screen readers. We are currently working on a solution to improve the consistency of this content to make it fully compliant. 

Uploaded Documents

Your Canvas courses will contain uploaded documents. These documents may not conform to accessibility standards. We are working with staff to improve the quality of these documents through training and support. Please notify us if you need to have a document in a different format. Please raise a ticket here.

Video Content

Your Canvas courses may contain video or audio content. Wherever possible this recorded content wiil have automatically generated subtitles. Not all content may have supportive captions, live captioning or audio description. Some of these recordings are made of normal teaching delivery or exist in other forms such as embedded YouTube clips or the BoB service.

What have we done so far?

The Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) team ensures that all of the learning platforms are W3C (AA) compliant. However, we recognise that LJMU (Liverpool John Moores University) staff may add content to these platforms that may not adhere to these guidelines. The team are working in collaboration with Marketing, Libraries, IT services, and Staff Development to co-ordinate an institutional action plan. The following list contains the highlights of the improvements made.

AiDED Project

The Teaching and Learning Academy’s Accessibility In Digital Educational Design (AiDED) vision is to use the digital learning environment to help all our students improve their life chances. This means: 

  • eliminating the need for any student to require, request anything to be adapted in order for them to easily access and understand any digital content or complete any online activity.  
  • supporting our staff so that they can design effective online activities and materials to support the wide diversity of their students with a widening range of approaches.  
  • all academic and support staff who design and develop materials for our students will be able to confidently apply and make informed decisions about digital accessibility in this work.  
  • Academics are supported to share this knowledge with their students to allow them to enter the workplace and spread this understanding even wider.

The AIDeD project goes beyond compliance to explore how technology can support all of our students therefore it will run in phases until 2024.  

Zoom Live Transcript (Feb 2021)

A live transcript feature is now available to use in your online teaching sessions, which shows captions in real-time. The captions can be shown in a dedicated side bar and/or in subtitle form.

Immersive reader on all Canvas pages (Feb 2021)

The immersive reader makes Canvas pages’ content available for learners of all abilities and can help with access content and reading. Student guide to Canvas immersive reader

Access to Canvas for all student support workers (Oct 2020)

Digital accessibility is even more critical at this particular time. The Teaching and Learning Academy, IT Services and Student Advice and Wellbeing have collaborated to ensure all support workers, working alongside a student to support them academically, are enrolled in Canvas.

Zoom automatically generate closed captions or subtitles (Sept 2020)

We have enabled automatically generated closed captions for all Zoom recordings videos created after 21/09/2020. LJMU have purchased 500 headset and 500 webcams for staff to improve automatically generated captioning.

Panopto automatically generate closed captions or subtitles (Aug 2020)

We have enabled automatically generated closed captions for all Panopto videos created after 24/08/2020.

Key Information course menu item (Aug 2020)

The key information course menu item replaces a PDF document displaying all of the key information for every taught module on Canvas.

Vevox classroom voting system (Dec 2019)

Improvements made to the Vevox platforms working towards conforming to WCAG 2.1 AA standards

Canvas has released improvements to navigation and interface (Nov 2019)

Canvas has released a number of updates to its interface to make it more accessible, including the course side navigation.

Canvas Content Audit (Aug 2019)

The LJMU TEL team have audited Canvas content to identify any issues using the accessibility guidelines developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). This has highlighted a number of areas for improvement but also shown that Canvas has many great inbuilt features to improve the consistency and accessibility for all students. 

Increasing the number of microphones in lecture rooms (Aug 2019)

The university is working over the summer to install more microphones for voice reinforcement.

Key links project (July 2019)

We have worked with other teams to make sure there is consistency in the display of the important key information regarding each module in Canvas. This project will start by making sure there is a greater level of consistency, but there are plans to further improve this over the next 12 months. 

Reordering the Canvas Course Menu (June 2019)

The main canvas course menu contains all the important links to help you navigate the content and assessment in each course. The order of this menu can be changed by the module leader, so that the menu might be different for each one of a student’s Canvas courses. A recent review of consistency within Canvas courses highlighted this as a problem. It is also one of the key elements with guidelines on accessibility by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The identification of this issue has led to the team developing a solution for greater consistency

Training for all academic staff (May 2019)

The team has developed a training programme for staff to develop their use of Canvas and other Learning Technologies. These sessions are designed to equip staff with skills to deal with some of the key areas of Technology Enhanced Learning including accessibility. The sessions highlight the most common issues surrounding content accessibility including filenames, images, document headings, font size and use of colour.

Where to get help

In the first instance, students should contact the Module Leader to determine whether resources can be provided in an alternative format if needed. If you need any further support for accessing any particular elements of our learning platforms please raise a ticket so we can address is as quickly as possible.