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Hi - Does anyone have any resources or stats on how accessibility improves success/completion rates?
Thanks in advance for sharing!
best,
Karen

Karen M. Sorensen
Accessibility Advocate for Online Courses
www.pcc.edu/access
Portland Community College
971-722-4720
"The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.”  Tim Berners-Lee

********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.

Comments

Karen asked about how accessibility improves success/completion rates. I don't have any information, but I wondering how that would be measured? It would be difficult to separate those effects from other effects such as other improvements in course design (say from Quality Matters review).  Usability studies have been used to ferret out interface and design issues. But these are not typically statistical studies. I suppose methods to review usability would be useful, especially considering accessibility as a subset of universal design.

So my question really is, do people have ideas about how success and completion rates can be measured?  We are probably most interested in justifying the added expense for accessibility work.
Steve


Steve,

Accessibility is considered a equal rights issue.  So I think the question you really want to ask is what is the liability of a complaint being filed against your institution, and what would it cost as compared to addressing Accessibity issues in a proactive way.  The student only has to document the inaccessibility of the technology, they will not need to provide information on success rates or how it helps academic achievement, just that it is not accessible

Jon  Gunderson
Sent from my iPhone

On Jul 29, 2013, at 5:13 PM, "Steve Gance" <sgance@PDX.EDU> wrote:

Karen asked about how accessibility improves success/completion rates. I don't have any information, but I wondering how that would be measured? It would be difficult to separate those effects from other effects such as other improvements in course design (say from Quality Matters review).  Usability studies have been used to ferret out interface and design issues. But these are not typically statistical studies. I suppose methods to review usability would be useful, especially considering accessibility as a subset of universal design.

So my question really is, do people have ideas about how success and completion rates can be measured?  We are probably most interested in justifying the added expense for accessibility work.
Steve


Hi - Just to be clear, I'm not asking for statistics on how accessibility might improve success and completion rates in order to justify the cost of accessibility. I'm only trying to align it with our other college initiatives.
But Steve is probably correct, in that accessibility might be too difficult to isolate and quantify as a factor of success. But I can imagine some qualitative research may have been done. Any ideas? Good accessibility is good usability, so it has to  help a student be more successful, doesn't it?
Thanks!
Karen M. Sorensen
Accessibility Advocate for Online Courses
www.pcc.edu/access
Portland Community College
971-722-4720
"The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.”  Tim Berners-Lee

********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.

Hi Karen,

I think in order to answer this question you would need to narrow the scope. "Accessibility" means too many things, as does "success". For example:

- How much more likely are wheelchair users to graduate from college after their institution has installed ramps and elevators? (There might be data on this pre- and post- ADA).

- How much more likely are blind students to complete online courses if those courses have been designed with accessibility in mind? (again you would need some specific measure of "accessibility" - a few possible measures might be: alt text on images, good semantic structure, accessible tagged PDF, reviewed by an accessibility expert, conformant to WCAG 2.0 at Level A or at Level AA).

Here's one that I actually have contemplated recently in order to make the case for accessible video:
- Given a course with two divisions, both with Lecture Capture, if Division A has all videos captioned and searchable with interactive transcripts available, and Division B has none of this, and both have a broad cross-representation of students including ESL students, deaf/hard of hearing students, and students with learning disabilities; do students in one division have higher final exam scores than students in the other? Are particular groups of students especially likely to perform better in Division B?

A problem you would face with most research of this sort is that you would need a control group of students with disabilities who are denied accessibility, which obviously crosses ethical boundaries. 

Regards,
Terrill 

 



I agree that there are legal and moral obligations that should trump most cost considerations (within the bounds of "reasonable accommodation").  I also want to make clear that I'm not really trying to critique Karen's question. Rather, I'm trying to think through, in general, how we measure our efforts in a way that tells us whether to continue what we are doing or to do something else. One reason I suggested usability tests is that it might give us some indication of success, even if somewhat anecdotal and unable to be statistically verified. In a way, it is justifying work based on other kinds of arguments. There are a number of things that most agree would be helpful on the face of it (e.g., many of the "best practices" suggested by Quality Matters). But many of these are difficult to test. For example, arguing that is it better to provide clear course navigation can be justified based on most people's experience of often being disoriented in online courses. We accept this justification as reasonable.

Again, I am trying to find whatever justifications that can be justified with reasonable, if not statistically strong, arguments.
Steve


Message from daritz@ucdavis.edu

Dear Karen:

There is another way to look at the issue.

When the civil rights acts were passed in 1964, 1965 and 1968, it was obvious that a huge sector of US citizens did not have the opportunity to fully participate in all aspects of society.

In 1991 when the original ADA was enacted, it was obvious that the disabled population did not have the opportunity to fully participate in society, including working.

The revisions to the ADA reaffirmed that the intent of the act was to allow persons with disabilities to fully participate in society, including working.

Given this history, I would think there is a prima facie alignment with Portland Community College’s Vision, Mission, Who We Are, We Value and Institutional Goals, if disabled students at Portland Community College are already aligned with other constituent groups such as LGBT already in the definition of diversity.

The issue is not so much about how accessibility may increase a student’s success. The issue is what initiatives does your institution have to attract disabled students, just like the initiatives your institution has to attract low income students, attract women into the sciences and student into your athletic programs.

Just like fee reduction, tutoring, mentoring and excellent athletic facilities support other school populations, electronic accessibility (including alternative input devices, monitor size and adjustable height work station as well as applications like JAWS or ClaroRead) support the disabled population.

On paper, Portland Community College already values “an environment that is committed to diversity as well as the dignity and worth of the individual,” and be “a responsible member of the communities we serve by actively participating in their development.” One of your goals is “Diversity.”

You might just ask the administration to support the values and goals that already exist.

If that does not work there is always the law.

Good luck, and

Best regards,

DAVE

 

 

 

From: The EDUCAUSE IT Accessibility Constituent Group Listserv [mailto:ITACCESS@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU] On Behalf Of Terrill Thompson
Sent: Tuesday, July 30, 2013 5:30 AM
To: ITACCESS@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU
Subject: Re: [ITACCESS] Accessibility and Success/Completion Rates

 

Hi Karen,

I think in order to answer this question you would need to narrow the scope. "Accessibility" means too many things, as does "success". For example:

- How much more likely are wheelchair users to graduate from college after their institution has installed ramps and elevators? (There might be data on this pre- and post- ADA).

- How much more likely are blind students to complete online courses if those courses have been designed with accessibility in mind? (again you would need some specific measure of "accessibility" - a few possible measures might be: alt text on images, good semantic structure, accessible tagged PDF, reviewed by an accessibility expert, conformant to WCAG 2.0 at Level A or at Level AA).

Here's one that I actually have contemplated recently in order to make the case for accessible video:

- Given a course with two divisions, both with Lecture Capture, if Division A has all videos captioned and searchable with interactive transcripts available, and Division B has none of this, and both have a broad cross-representation of students including ESL students, deaf/hard of hearing students, and students with learning disabilities; do students in one division have higher final exam scores than students in the other? Are particular groups of students especially likely to perform better in Division B?

A problem you would face with most research of this sort is that you would need a control group of students with disabilities who are denied accessibility, which obviously crosses ethical boundaries. 

 

Regards,
Terrill 


 

 

 

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