The W3C Accessible Online Learning Community Group—what have we done and what should we do next?

Handouts Media

Presented at 2:15pm in WB III on Thursday, November 16, 2017.



  • David Sloan, Principal Accessibility Engineer, Research and Strategy Lead, TPGi
  • Mary Ziegler, Program Manager for Online Accessibility, MIT

Session Details

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


The W3C Accessible Online Learning Community Group (AccessLearn) is a group of people interested in the intersection of web accessibility with online learning design. Our aim is to help the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) better support the education sector in its work in providing more inclusive online educational experiences.


The Accessible Online Learning Community Group was established in Spring 2015. Since then we've focused on learning more about where the online learning community feels that there are gaps in understanding about how web accessibility applies to learning experiences.

In parallel, we’ve been inventorying WAI's web resources, including normative guidelines and informative supporting documentation, for coverage of online learning. We'll then identify the best way to address the information gaps we find are present.

This session will bring you up to date with the work we’ve been doing, what we've found, and how it complements other WAI activity. There will also be an interactive section where you can find out more about how to get involved in our current work, and influence what we might do next. In particular, we'll have an open discussion about how we might support WAI's Silver Task Force as it begins the process of developing the next generation of Accessibility Guidelines.


  1. Learning about a W3C Community initiative in online learning accessibility
  2. Understanding information gaps in online learning accessibility
  3. Opportunity to contribute to AccessLearn's future activities in influencing accessibility standards

Disability Areas

Cognitive/Learning, Deaf/Hard of Hearing, Mobility, Vision

Topic Areas

Accessible Course Design, Administrative/Campus Policy, Uncategorized, Web/Media Access

Speaker Bio(s)

David Sloan

David Sloan is Research and Strategy Lead for TPGi. He’s spent over 20 years as an accessibility and inclusive design researcher, educator and consultant, helping people to create and provide great digital products and services that can be used by as many people as possible, regardless of disability. He joined TPGi in 2013, having previously worked at the University of Dundee’s School of Computing, one of the world’s largest academic research groups investigating disability, ageing, and inclusive technology design.

Mary Ziegler

Mary J. Ziegler is the Program Manager for Online Accessibility at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Office of Digital Learning, where her primary focus is on MITx MOOCs and the accessibilty of global, open > education. Previously, Mary led the Accessibility and Usability Group and the Assistive Technology Information Center at MIT. Throughout her career, Mary has been instrumental in creating initiatives, collaborations and technology implementations designed to increase access for students and global learners with disabilities.