HE/Public Sector Update: Accessibility Allies at the University of Southampton

Date of webinar: 
2 Nov 2021 - 13:00

This FREE webinar takes place on Tuesday 2 November 2021

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We welcome a group from the University of Southampton to share their learnings and approach to making accessibility improvements to courses, with the help of students themselves. Joining us on the webinar will be:

  • Dr Sarah Fielding, Digital Learning Team Manager (pictured, left)
  • Matthew Deeprose, Senior Learning Designer (pictured, centre)
  • Luke Searle, Learning Designer (pictured, right)

AbilityNet's Education and Workplace Relationship Manager, Helen Wickes, will also provide a refresher about accessibility in the higher education and public sectors.

Sarah Fielding, Matthew Deeprose, Luke Searle

'Accessibility Allies' project

The University of Southampton introduced Blackboard Ally (a tool that provides insight into an institution's accessibility) in Summer 2021. To support the rollout, five student interns were employed over the summer as “Accessibility Allies”.

In this webinar, learn how the University's Digital Learning Team organised the project, find out more about the work undertaken by the students and discover how they achieved impressive results.

Students were involved with remediating course content to make it more digitally accessible, and advised academic staff about how to improve accessibility, among other things. Their work resulted in an average 87% increase in course file accessibility score, benefiting more than 6,000 students.

In this session the team will share:

  • The interview, training, onboarding, and workflow processes.
  • How courses were prioritised for remediation work.
  • The promotion and outreach activities used to spread the word about Digital Accessibility in general.
  • How academic colleagues were encouraged to adopt more inclusive and accessible practices.

Attendees will also have the opportunity to pose questions to the panel.

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What the Accessibility Allies achieved

Here's a taster of what the student cohort of 'Accessibility Allies' achieved during their summer internship working on improving digital accessibility (alternative text description of infographic included):

Accessibility Allies    A summer internship with the Digital Learning Team in iSolutions, focused on the roll out of Blackboard Ally and improving the digital accessibility of existing files on Blackboard.     Avg 32% improvement in course overall accessibility score after intern work     Avg 87%   improvement in course file accessibility score after intern work  6000+ students benefitting from more accessible content in their modules Selected modules with 150+ students   and <50% file score     24 modules remediated by interns over the summer holidays  11 weeks  4 days to complete a module (avg.)     10 debrief meetings with module leaders      5 student interns     Find out more at   www.southampton.ac.uk/digital-learning

Webinar FAQs

This webinar will be of particular interest to those who work in a higher or further education setting, those working on learning and development teams and creating online content in the public sector.

A recording, transcript, Q&As and slide deck will be made available on this page following the webinar broadcast below. Find out more about AbilityNet webinars in our webinars FAQs.

The webinar will last 60 minutes.

We encourage you to register for the webinar even if you're unable to attend live, as both attendees and absentees will receive automated emails linking to the recording and supporting materials.

Register for the webinar

Useful links 

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