Creating Accessible STEM Content – A Multimodal Approach for All Students

Presented at 9:15am in Denver 4-6 on Friday, November 10, 2023.

#38212

Speaker(s)

  • Jennifer Maxwell, Digital Accessibility Coordinator, Community College of Denver
  • Mat Olkowski, Associate Instructor of Mathematics, Community College of Denver

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 2-hr
  • Format: Lab
  • Expertise Level: Intermediate
  • Type of session: General Conference

Summary

The goal of this presentation is to provide participants with a holistic process for creating accessible STEM content. Rooted in proactive and universal design, participants will learn a combination of processes and free tools they can use to create STEM content that is accessible to the greatest number of students. They will then be able to use these processes on a variety of platforms and learning management systems.

Abstract

Creating accessible STEM content is a constant challenge faced by educators and Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) alike. This task can seem especially daunting when faced with the myriad of options, both in technology and formats needed by students, for creating accessible STEM. Often times processes and conversion tools are geared towards addressing the needs of one disability sub-group or the other. The goal of this presentation is to give participants a process for creating materials that are accessible and inclusive to all learners, regardless of disability and/or learning style. This can be accomplished through a single process that branches according to the desired formats of the student: PDF (printable, hardcopy), LaTex (braille readers) and HTML with MathJax (providing the widest options). Participants will also learn strategies for making STEM visuals accessible, prior to tactile formats for those who need them. In this hands-on lab, participants will work with files in multiple inaccessible formats and learn the techniques for proper conversion.

Keypoints

  1. Creating accessible STEM can be achieved through a process based approach.
  2. Free tools can aide in the creation of accessible STEM content in multiple formats.
  3. Inaccessible STEM can be remediated through systematic tools and processes.

Disability Areas

Cognitive/Learning, Mobility, Vision

Topic Areas

Accessible Course Design, Accessible Educational Materials, Alternate Format, Assistive Technology, Uncategorized, Universal Design for Learning, Web/Media Access

Speaker Bio(s)

Jennifer Maxwell

Jennifer has worked in the Assistive Technology, IT/web, and Digital Accessibility fields for nearly the past twenty years. She is currently working as the Digital Accessibility Coordinator at the Community College of Denver. Jennifer had previously worked for several years in disability services offices providing AT support to students. she enjoys collaborating with others to solve technical challenges that students with disabilities can overcome to reach their goals.

Mat Olkowski

Mat teaches a variety of math classes for the Community College of Denver, including Algebraic Literacy and Statistics. The former coordinator for CCD’s math tutoring program, Mat is a proponent for equitable and accessible instructional design and aims to achieve these goals in his classroom as well as supporting colleagues with the same goals.