Developing inclusive practices: Evaluation of a staff development course in accessibility
AbstractAfter three iterations of a mixed mode (online and face to face) staff development course, an evaluation was carried out to determine the participants’ perceptions of its quality as an online environment, its effectiveness in introducing staff to issues of accessibility and its success in enabling staff to develop skills in accessible course design. This course was developed for a series of staff development cohorts each consisting of a mixture of academic staff, IT staff, and library staff. It aimed to develop expertise in the design of inclusive and accessible learning environments, to apply this knowledge in the development of the participants' own projects, and to encourage other staff to consider accessibility issues when designing online courses and resources. Methods used for evaluation included feedback during the course, responses immediately following the course, and a review of any lasting impact upon practice some time after the course. We also employed the services of a student who is blind to evaluate the course for accessibility following changes made to the original course. The evaluation instruments used were an online discussion forum, paper based evaluation, an online survey and an email request to the first two cohorts six to twelve months after the modules. The main lessons learned with respect to course design were concerned with communication of instructions, use of checklists as a learning guide, timing of the course during a larger staff development program, and availability of checking tools for practice purposes.
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