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McMaster Infusing Campus with Accessibility Awareness

McMaster University's online accessibility hub

McMaster U's online accessibility hub

An Ontario, Canada institution is drawing attention to its accessibility initiatives and resources. On Dec. 3, in celebration of the International Day of People with Disabilities, McMaster University will award its first accessibility award to honor accessibility efforts on campus. Shortly, it will also publish an accessibility and disability inclusion update to profile the work being done on campus.

Among the latest efforts:

  • An online accessibility hub that includes training revamped last summer, which all McMaster staff, faculty and student leaders are required to take. That includes five short videos and a 30-minute completion quiz;
  • Publication last year of an e-book, Forward with FLEXibility, intended to help educators understand how to apply accessibility principles in their instructional practices;
  • A new Accessibility and Equity Teaching Network for anybody who works with students and wants to understand more about accessibility and equity. The network has already begun hosting drop-in sessions on campus; and
  • A seminar series focused on accessibility in teaching and learning. These are being delivered by the institution's MacPherson Institute, which provides faculty development, including seminars on teaching online and using active learning classrooms.

"You can't learn, teach or research effectively if you're facing artificial or constructed barriers that prevent you from doing so," said McMaster President Patrick Deane, in a prepared statement. "Accessibility is a process and perspective, not a destination, and can be integrated into any teaching, research, or service activity that we participate in. It needs to be infused into our thinking from the outset rather than an afterthought."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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