Accessibility at Scale: Meeting the Diverse Needs of MOOC Learners

Handouts Media

Presented at 10:30am in Windsor on Friday, November 16, 2018.



  • Art Morgan, VP Partner Development, Automatic Sync Technologies
  • John Tubbs, Director of Digital Media for eLearning, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Gies College of Business

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 1-hr
  • Format: Lecture
  • Expertise Level: All Levels
  • Type of session: General Conference


Accommodation strategies used with on-campus degree programs often don't translate to appropriate solutions for MOOCs. This session explores how the University of Illinois' hybrid graduate degree and MOOC program used captioned video, audio description, and HTML content modules to create accessible courses for more than 300,000 students.


Increasingly, universities are blending MOOC courses with degree-granting residential or online programs. As you scale courses to MOOC size, the number of learners that will require alternative formats or assistive technologies to be successful can be in the thousands. The traditional individual accommodation-based approach quickly becomes unsustainable for these large courses.

The fully online iMBA degree program at the Gies College of Business at the University of Illinois faced the challenge of creating equivalent facilitation of all learning materials and activities in its courses. The strategy has been to create course materials that are highly usable and which leverage concepts of universal design for learning. To accomplish this, Gies strives to eliminate locked-in formats such as Word, PDF, and PowerPoint, instead focusing on meeting WCAG 2.0 Level AA standards or higher by using HTML-based content with links to captioned and described video.


  1. The spectrum of disability accommodation practices required for MOOCs is extremely large.
  2. Choose creation tools and plan production workflows to maximize efficiency and timeliness of content creation.
  3. Consider new options for repurposing accessible content.

Disability Areas

Cognitive/Learning, Deaf/Hard of Hearing, Vision

Topic Areas

Accessible Course Design, Administrative/Campus Policy, Alternate Format, Assistive Technology, Uncategorized, Web/Media/App Access

Speaker Bio(s)

Art Morgan

Art Morgan has over 25 years of experience working with enterprise, education, nonprofit, and government customers and partners on software development and integration projects. His primary areas of expertise are voice, mobile, and video platforms and tools, particularly tools that help organizations improve learning efficacy and engage with more diverse audiences.

John Tubbs

John Tubbs is a digital media veteran; working 10 years in K-12 and the last 20 years at Illinois. His work spans MOOC scale video production, large live streaming events, foreign language radio production, audio for award-winning children's websites, online curriculum development, digital textbook production, and currently as the Director of Digital Media in the Gies College of Business.


Accessibility at Scale Powerpoint