Curricula on Web Accessibility:
A Framework to Build Your Own Courses
Using the Curricula
This resource provides material for teaching accessibility. You can use it to develop courses specifically on digital accessibility, or to include accessibility in other courses, such as programming and graphics design.
You can also use this resource to review existing and proposed courses.
Some example uses of this resource include:
- faculty lecturer — selects topics from the foundation, developer, and designer modules to teach accessibility to computer science students
- accessibility professional — selects topics from the foundation, developer, designer, and author modules to create accessibility training courses
- employee training coordinator — compares the course content offered by different providers based on the modules provided in this resource
- procurer — includes requirements in a training Request for Proposals (RFP) based on the modules provided in this resource
- hiring manager — compares the competencies assessed for different certificates based on the modules provided in this resource
This resource is organized in granular modules that you can combine to create light-weight or in-depth training on accessibility. It does not prescribe duration, effort, or accreditation.
This resource includes modules that cover accessibility foundations that apply broadly to everyone in IT, and modules that cover specific skills for developing, designing, and authoring accessible digital content.
The foundation, developer, and designer modules are available now. The author modules will be available later.
|Developer Modules||Designer Modules||Content Author Modules|
Structure and Terminology
Each part of these curricula (foundation, developer, and designer) has:
- Prerequisites — Competencies expected for students to have previously acquired.
- Modules — Designed to be taught and assessed in their entirety.
Each module consists of:
- Learning Outcomes for Module — What students will learn and should be able to demonstrate.
- Competencies — Skills required for students and instructors to teach the curriculum.
- Topics to Teach — Recommended themes, to be taught in any order.
Each topic consists of:
- Learning Outcomes for Topic — Detailed description of what students will learn and should be able to demonstrate.
- Teaching Ideas for Topic — Suggested ideas to help instructors teach the learning outcomes based on topic contents.
- Ideas to Assess Knowledge for Topic — Suggested ideas to assess the acquired skills or knowledge based on topic contents.
- Ideas to Assess Knowledge for Module — Suggested ideas to assess the acquired skills or knowledge based on module contents.
- Teaching Resources — Resources to help teach the learning outcomes. Some resources are integral part of the teaching while others are optional further reading.
Terminology specifically related to people with disabilities, assistive technologies, and adaptive strategies is provided in How People with Disabilities Use the Web.
Essentials for Teaching Accessibility
The following tips help you provide more effective courses, training, and certification programs on accessibility:
- Involve people with disabilities — Involve people with disabilities in your courses so that students get perspectives from real people on the impact of accessibility barriers and accessibility features. Invite people with disabilities to show how they use assistive technologies and adaptive strategies, the accessibility features they rely on, and barriers they encounter. If you cannot invite people with disabilities, consider using videos instead. Yet make sure to guide your students through the process to avoid perpetuating existing misunderstandings. For guidance on working with people with disabilities, ethical considerations, and cautions, see Involving Users in Web Projects for Better, Easier Accessibility.
- Include the reasons for accessibility features — Include the why, not just the how. For example, students should know why to provide text alternatives, not just how to. Students learn and implement accessibility more effectively when they understand the reasons behind accessibility features and how people with disabilities use them.
- Cover all disabilities — Avoid inadvertently prioritizing some types of disabilities over others. Digital accessibility is essential for people with many different types of disabilities, including auditory, cognitive and learning, physical, speech, and visual. For guidance on cross-disability aspects, see How People with Disabilities Use the Web.
- Approach accessibility holistically — Communicate accessibility as part of the broader umbrella of inclusion and diversity. Explain that accessibility is not effectively addressed with a checklist mindset. The goal of accessibility is to improve the user experience for people with disabilities. It provides many benefits, including for users without disabilities. For an explanation of how accessibility is related to usability and inclusive design, see Accessibility, Usability, and Inclusion.
- Make it accessible — Ensure that the course itself is accessible. For example:
- all presentations, teaching materials, exercises, assessments, and other student interactions are accessible
- the online learning platform, the classroom, computer lab, and training venue are accessible
- captions, sign-language, and large-print is provided when needed
- instructors describe visual information, including text on the screen
For specific guidance on making your training accessible, see Making Events Accessible: Checklist for meetings, conferences, training, and presentations that are remote/virtual, in-person, or hybrid.