Each year, the global accessibility community unites on the third Thursday of May for Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) to highlight the need for more inclusive digital content. This year, NIU is participating by hosting our second annual Fix Your Content Day, a 24-hour global event sponsored by Anthology.
The objective: improve the accessibility of as many digital course files as possible through Anthology Ally.
On May 18, 2023, the NIU community has 24 hours to make as many content fixes as possible via the Anthology Ally instructor feedback tool. By the end of the day, we hope to have made a significant impact on the accessibility of our course materials, reducing barriers for students with disabilities and creating a more inclusive environment for all of our students!
While the goal is to do the right thing and support our students, there is also a competition among institutions to keep us motivated. Using data from Anthology Ally, the global leaderboard ranks each participating institution by the ratio of files improved to the total number of students.
On May 18, you can participate by fixing accessibility issues in your course content. It's as easy as 1-2-3!
You can work on content that you plan to re-use for this fall, or upload new content and receive immediate feedback from Ally to improve it.
Fix Your Content Day will include two workshops and hands-on office hours to help you get started with Ally and improve your content accessibility.
Learn how to use Ally to view the accessibility of your course content and use the feedback it provides to make improvements. We will also discuss strategies for improving content accessibility, like adding alt-text to images, using headings, and formatting tables.
Learn how to improve the accessibility of PDF course content. One of the most common accessibility issues that Ally flags is PDF files that are not tagged or OCRed. In this targeted session, we will focus specifically on making PDF files more accessible so you can upload revised copies through the Ally instructor feedback tool and improve access to these course materials for your students.
The afternoon session is an opportunity to check-in with others at NIU who are participating in Fix Your Content Day. Plus, if you are having difficulty resolving accessibility issues identified by Ally, you can ask questions and work through your challenges either virtually or by dropping into our Center.
Any NIU faculty member, instructor, staff member, or teaching assistant who participates in Fix Your Content Day will receive a digital badge to recognize your commitment to reducing barriers for students with disabilities. You can share this badge on your social media profiles.
To earn the badge, you must:
Fix Your Content Day is open to all NIU faculty (including tenured, tenure-track, instructional, clinical, and research faculty), all staff, and all teaching assistants. Register by Wednesday, May 17.
Note: If you have content you would like to improve that is not part of a Blackboard course or organization (e.g., documents used by your office), we can set up a Blackboard shell for you instead. You can use the feedback provided to improve the accessibility of the file(s).
While Fix Your Content Day is over, you can still earn recognition for the great work that you are doing to improve the accessibility of your course materials and being a champion for accessibility.
You can earn a digital badge for your work to be student centered, increase your overall accessibility score, find and fix accessibility issues, and add captions to multimedia materials. When you earn them all, you will truly be an Ally Hero!
Because improving accessibility is an ongoing process and not an all-or-nothing endeavor, most of the badges offer multiple levels. Start small and work your way up to the top!
The easiest way to get started with Ally is to ensure that your syllabus is accessible and that your students are aware of the alternative formats. Check out the communication toolkit for resources to help you tell students about Ally. This badge has one level.
Your overall accessibility score is a great indicator of how accessible your course materials are. As you improve the accessibility of your content, you will lift your overall score, as well. This badge has three levels so that you can start small as you build your super strength.
Finding and fixing accessibility issues in your course materials requires a keen eye for detail. This badge has three levels so that you can hone your investigation skills as you become a super sleuth.
Captions are a critical element of accessibility for those who are deaf or hard of hearing, but they can benefit all students. This badge has three levels so that you can focus your X-ray vision to see through the sound to the text captions.
When you have mastered all of the superhero skills for accessibility, then you will truly be an Ally Hero. To earn this badge, you must have achieved the highest levels of all of the individual skill badges. Truly, Ally Heroes are elite champions of accessibility!