Complex Images and Accessibility – Portland Community College Website

When adding images to your documents or web pages/WordPress pages, to meet best practices around accessibility you need to add appropriate descriptive text to your images so that learners who can not see the images have an alternate way to access the images.  But adding text to images can be tricky when you are dealing with more complex images like graphs, maps, diagrams, charts, etc.

This Complex image Accessibility site (which opens in a new tab or window) from Portland Community College has some excellent guidelines for how to make complex images accessible to all.

4 Great People to Follow on Twitter

When integrating educational technology into our teaching, we often find ourselves faced with a myriad of challenges and ethical issues to consider beyond the simple question of how the tool supports our learning outcomes. If you are wondering where to turn, here are four experts I follow on Twitter whose work has helped me work through some of the struggles I have faced when assessing a new tool. And yes, these are only four – if you have a go-to expert on your list, let me know in the comments!

Jesse Stommel:

According to his website, “Jesse Stommel is Executive Director of the Division of Teaching and Learning Technologies at University of Mary Washington. He is also Co-founder of Digital Pedagogy Lab and Hybrid Pedagogy: an open-access journal of learning, teaching, and technology. He has a PhD from University of Colorado Boulder.”

Exploring digital pedagogy from a critical lens, with the student forefront in his mind, he says about his own practice, “My scholarly work is about the sometimes wondrous, sometimes horrifying relationship between bodies and technology. My particular expertise is in digital pedagogy, digital humanities, and open education. I believe all learning is necessarily hybrid. In on-ground pedagogy, it is important to engage students’ digital selves. And, with digital and online pedagogy, our challenge is not merely to replace (or offer substitutes for) face-to-face education, but to find new and innovative ways to engage students in the practice of learning.”

Rajiv Jhangiani:

A champion of and innovator in the Open Pedagogy movement, Jhangiani says on his website: “I am the Special Advisor to the Provost on Open Education and a faculty member in the Department of Psychology at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. I currently serve as an Associate Editor of Psychology Learning and Teaching and an Ambassador for the Center for Open Science. Together with Robin DeRosa, I am co-founder of the Open Pedagogy Notebook. I also serve as an Advisory Buddy with Virtually Connecting and on the board of KDocs, KPU’s Official Documentary Film Festival.”

I highly recommend exploring the Open Pedagogy Notebook site which contains concrete examples of open pedagogy in action, and encourages you to collaborate and engage with open pedagogy practitioners from around the world.

Julia Hengstler:

An advocate for and specialist in privacy as it applies to our world of educational technology, The White Hatter tells us that “Julia Hengstler is a Professor, Educational Technologist, and Chair of the Centre for Education & CyberHumanity (Faculty of Education, Vancouver Island University, Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada) … Her doctoral research specializes in privacy and the use of educational technology in BC public schools… With over more than 25 years as an educator in BC’s public-school system, Julia has taught a wide variety of subject areas and grade levels ranging from K-12 to post-graduate. Julia blogs about education and technology at “ED Tech Thoughts”.”

Much of Hengstler’s work revolves around understanding and managing your digital footprint, and the impact of using social media in education.

Jess Mitchell:

Jess Mitchell is the Senior Manager of the Inclusive Design Research Centre  at OCAD University in Toronto, Ontario which “was created as Canada’s first research hub focused on digital inclusion. It is adding new approaches to learning that are championing cross-disciplinary practice, collaboration, and the integration of emerging technologies.” (

An advocate for inclusive design, as you may have guessed, Mitchell “manages large-scale international projects and initiatives focusing on fostering innovation within diverse communities while achieving outcomes that benefit everyone”, which is inclusive design in a nutshell: inclusive design benefits all, and practicing inclusive design makes something more accessible overall. When I started reading more about inclusive design, I realized that there is a difference between inclusive design and universal design, as well as between inclusive design and accessibility. The essay “The Number 1 Thing You’re Getting Wrong about inclusive Design” is a good place to start when beginning to puzzle through the distinctions. Following Jess Mitchell will help clarify them.

BCcampus Inclusive Design Webinar Series

In case you haven’t heard, this month BCcampus has been running series of webinars related to Inclusive Design.

According to the Inclusive Design Research Center, “[i]nclusive design is design that considers the full range of human diversity with respect to ability, language, culture, gender, age and other forms of human difference. Designing inclusively results in better experiences for everyone.” With the addition of Diversity, Equity and Inclusiveness policies at our institutions, and as we move more into the world of University Design for Learning (UDL) these webinars are a must for everyone to check out.

You can watch the recordings of the webinars, as well as peruse some great resource links on inclusive design and how to get started, by clicking on the links related to each of the webinars as listed for each of the Webinar headings.

Webinar 1: Part 1, Inclusive Design

Want to know more about what inclusive design is, and how it relates to accommodation and accessibility? Jess Mitchell from the Inclusive Design Research Centre discusses this and more in her presentation on Inclusive Design in which “[s]he touches on ideas like inclusion, design, transformation, innovation, access, diversity, equity, atypical, perspective-shift, data (quantitative and qualitative), anecdote, change, social justice, precarious value, intersectional, mismatch, multi-modal, and revolutionary.”

Webinar 2: Part 2, Presentations

Wanting to make your PowerPoint presentations more accessible, Josie Gray has some best practices for you in her presentation on Inclusive Design and Presentations. While the webinar addresses PowerPoint specifically, “the basic principles can be applied if you use a different presentation software. We talk about the technical aspects of setting up accessible slides, strategies to ensure all of the content on your slide is perceivable by people in the audience, and how making your slides available in multiple formats before your presentation can increase the impact of your presentation.”

Webinar 3: Part 3, PressBooks

Thinking about writing an Open Textbook? Josie Gray is back to give you some information on how to make your open textbook accessible in her presentation on Inclusive Design in PressBooks (soon to be available on the main BCcampus video site.

While “[t]his webinar [highlights] accessibility features of Pressbooks … [and] the importance of offering multiple formats, and other design choices that will improve the accessibility of your open textbook.”, the best practices presented are also applicable for other instances where you might be placing images, video, or audio in an online environment.

Webinar 4: Part 4: What Makes Something Inaccessible or Not?

As of the time of this post, there is still time to put the fourth webinar, “What Makes Something Inaccessible or Not?”, in your calendar. “This webinar aims to highlight overlooked or unrealized accessibility barriers by giving concrete examples of what might make something inaccessible and how that barrier might present for different people. By connecting the ideas of the previous webinars, we offer a way to think more critically about digital and print accessibility, especially as it relates to open textbooks and open educational resources. “

Go to the BCcampus Inclusive Design Webinar Series site for more information on how to access the webinar. If you miss it, no worries – the recording will be posted on the main BCcampus video site, where you will also find links to the many amazing webinars offered by BCcampus!