The Accessibility and Usability Resource Site (AURS)

This is a short post to tell others about a free resource I came across recently. Quality Matters (QM) is a non-profit organization that provides rubrics and certifications for online and blended courses. While taking an online class from QM, I learned QM maintains the Accessibility and Usability Resource Site (AURS).

Volunteer moderators run the AURS. Most moderators are instructional designers; all are accessibility experts. Covered topics include:

  • Universal Design for Learning (UDL)
  • Alternative text
  • Video captions and audio descriptions
  • Hyperlinks
  • Accessible Microsoft Office products
  • Readability (color choice and contrast)
  • Accessible PDFs
  • Accessible design in learning management systems
  • Cognitive accessibility, and
  • Inclusive teaching practices.

The AURS is on Canvas, which is the platform for QM’s professional development courses. Information is presented using SoftChalk, a content authoring system. The site contains documents, videos, and links to other resources organized by topic. Moderators also answer users’ questions on topic-based discussion boards.

Although the AURS is free, to access it, you must first sign up for a QM account and then enroll in the AURS as a workshop. It is a bit of a pain to sign up, and it takes a while to be added to the “workshop.” Also note that once you are enrolled, you need to click on the Classroom icon at the top of the screen in MyQM to get to the Canvas site.

The AURS seems like a helpful resource for librarians and others at our institutions who need authoritative information on accessibility issues. I hope others will find it useful.

 

Julie Tedjeske Crane is the Faculty Scholarship and Educational Technology Librarian at Chicago-Kent School of Law. She manages three faculty support specialists, runs the institutional repository, provides Blackboard assistance, and teaches advanced Word skills and other technology-related topics. At her previous job, Julie taught several credit-bearing classes in the J.D., paralegal, and pre-law programs. She recently completed Georgetown’s Instructional Design Certificate Program and she is finishing up Cornell’s Psychology of Leadership Certificate Program. As a newcomer to Chicago, she spends much of her free time exploring America’s Second City.

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