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Institutional benefits of multiple formats

Ben Watson discusses the merits of multiple formats taking an institutional perspective.
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BEN WATSON: I mean we’re still kind of developing. And I think a lot of it is trying to embed awareness at source. So rather than having a student support disability unit that is the ultimate kind of oracle, or the buffer almost for everything that goes on the institution or the ultimate kind of last resort, where everything goes to and they kind of pick up the pieces where things haven’t been made inclusive further upstream. We’re all about trying to upstream and raise awareness so that people in frontline services can be more inclusive in their everyday practice. That stops any kind of work having to be done retrospectively by a student support.
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Of course student support are there to advise and champion and advocate, but I think it’s about making your web developers, your learning technologists, your teaching staff, your library people, more aware of what they can do. Those small things they can do in their everyday practice to embed inclusivity in what they do. Which as we’ve discussed, necessarily makes it better for everyone. So some really simple things about the way, for example, if we gave, where it’s appropriate to do so, preference for electronic materials, we would be making access available to students who require assistive technology, to access those materials. Perhaps because they need to manipulate them, and access them, and tailor them to their own requirements.
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But also students who live remotely, or commuting students, part time students, would also see some of those benefits from much more accessibility. You know 24/7 access. And I think as we said before, So interesting benefits for international students who may also want to access materials in different ways.
In this video, Ben Watson, the Accessible Information Project Adviser at the University of Kent, discusses the idea of ‘up streaming’ and ‘building awareness at source’ rather than retro fitting and depending on student support services to solve issues around inaccessible documentation.
He talks about the benefits of having multiple formats to support the wider community of students.
Read JISC’s Quick Guide Getting started with accessibility and inclusion. You may also be interested in other related resources which can be accessed from the ‘See also’ section at the bottom of this page.
How can building greater awareness about the benefits of ‘born accessible’ and multiple formats be accelerated?

© This work is created by the University of Southampton and licensed under CC-BY 4.0 International Licence. Erasmus + MOOCs for Accessibility Partnership.
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