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Portland Community College Debuts Web Accessibility MOOC for Educators

Portland Community College (PCC) has teamed with a private partner to launch a massive open online course (MOOC) for teachers designed to address Web accessibility concerns associated with online learning.

Dubbed "Web Accessibility MOOC for Online Educators," the course is cosponsored by D2L and is designed to provide "an activity-based professional development opportunity" for teachers concerned about accessibility in their online classes.

Topics covered by the MOOC will include:

  • Creating accessible images, diagrams and charts;
  • Creating accessible audio and video resources;
  • Creating accessible HTML pages;
  • Creating accessible conetent in other formats; and
  • Building a Web-accessibility knowledge base.

"At PCC, we are committed to improving Web accessibility in our online program and advocate for the needs of students. We make it a priority to provide faculty, course designers and instructional technology professionals with the knowledge and skills to create offerings with accessibility in mind," said Loraine Schmitt, director of distance education at PCC, in a prepared statement. "We realize many institutions are faced with resource challenges and we are excited that this free MOOC on accessibility teaches educators some of the best practices we use at PCC to make educational content accessible to students."

The course will be offered via D2L Open Courses, a "MOOC-enabled" extension of the company's Brightspace learning system. "Brightspace is the only learning system to achieve four years of Nonvisual Accessibility Gold Certification from the National Federation of the Blind," according to information provided by the company.

"Accessibility has always been a priority for D2L. We're committed to creating technology that breaks down all barriers to education for all learners," said John Baker, president and CEO of D2L, in a prepared statement. "We're excited to partner with PCC, a great school leading by example with its focus on Web accessibility. This MOOC will provide a resource for educators around the world on how they can incorporate greater accessibility in all of their online learning environments."

Registration for the course, which will run October 20 to November 22, opens today. Visit opencourses.desire2learn.com to sign up.

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at jbolkan@gmail.com.

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