How Delgado Community College is Advancing Accessibility in a Digital Age
YuJa Panorama Helps Proactively Expand Accessibility
Accessibility has always been an important goal in course design at Delgado Community College. That’s one of the reasons the institution signed a five-year contract for site-wide deployment of YuJa Panorama for Digital Accessibility, an innovative tool to help make learning more inclusive for all students.
Instructors at the New Orleans, Louisiana, college were using a free content inspection tool to identify accessibility issues in Canvas course content. The tool, while good, was not comprehensive and still required supplemental supports, according to Amanda Rosenzweig, Ph.D., Canvas Administrator, Biology Professor and Department Chair at the college.
Sites (+ online)
Additionally, Rosenzweig recently taught a student who was deaf, and despite having the accessibility checker in Canvas and UDOIT, “we were very reactive when it came to getting videos with closed captioning and making sure audio files had transcripts,” she said. “We realized that courses were not usable by a number of students, and not just those who are deaf.”
Rosenzweig shared that she has dyslexia and also benefits from accessibility standards. She has become passionate about supporting accessibility. “Accessibility compliance allows access to print, audio, and visual media for users to choose the best medium for their learning needs. Accessibility allows for inclusion of all users by all people being able to perceive, understand, navigate and interact with the electronic information,” Rosenzweig stated. “Panorama has allowed facilitators, faculty and staff, to present content to users with the confidence that it is aligning with the WCAG standards.”
About the Client
About Delgado Community College
Founded in 1921, Delgado Community College is renowned as Louisiana’s oldest and largest community college. Delgado serves students of all ages who reflect the diversity of the New Orleans metropolitan area. The college’s seven locations form a center for professional and advanced technology career education, academic pre-baccalaureate education, and traditional occupational training.
“We were interested in having an embedded tool that helps faculty, and while both products we were using met some of our goals, YuJa Panorama for Accessibility was a bridge between everything”
Finding a Solution
Making Accessibility “Second Nature” and Inspiring a Culture Change
Rosenzweig didn’t just want to implement accessibility tools for the sake of implementing them or simply to meet standards. She wanted to inspire a paradigm shift in which accessibility is ingrained into every course design without instructors having to think about it. “I want accessibility to be second nature,” she noted, adding that she also wants to provide instructors with tools that make accessible course design easy and intuitive.
She and her supervisor began looking for affordable, dynamic, and scalable products that could meet the college’s needs. “We were interested in having an embedded tool that helps faculty, and while both products we were using met some of our goals, YuJa Panorama for Accessibility was a bridge between everything,” Rosenzweig stated.
After a demo of YuJa’s newest product offering, YuJa Panorama, “we were sold,” Rosenzweig remarked. YuJa Panorama integrates into the Canvas Learning Management System, providing a Visual Gauge to check accessibility, as well as automatically generates Accessible Alternatives of course material in the background.
Instructors and Students Appreciate Panorama’s Capabilities
Both instructors and students are getting on board with YuJa Panorama and usage continues to increase. There was a spike in usage in August, which is when courses are set up in Canvas, which Rosenzweig said shows instructor usage. Just that month there were 7,100 downloads. “As an instructor, I like that not only does it tell you issues, but it tells you how to fix it,” she stated. “One of the best and most useful features is that you can drag and drop the improved file to replace, rather than going into Canvas to upload and replace.”
Students have been vocal, Rosenzweig said, noting that converting file types to alternative formats has been popular. “Panorama allows students to determine how they want to interact with content,” she added.
Students have said they like to listen to coursework as they drive, exercise or clean their house, and Panorama puts the learning controls in their hands. “You can make information high contrast or low contrast with a simple click, making tools compatible with any device- a phone, tablet, or computer… It allows us to serve our students in the best medium for them.” She also noted that the product is not dependent on faculty to do anything for students to have access.
The simplicity adds to Panorama’s use. “This tool makes it simpler and draws attention to accessibility being important. The dashboard is easy to understand, with simple use of colors and icons that provides enough information to understand what’s wrong without being overwhelmed,” Rosenzweig remarked. “There are clean and crisp aesthetics.”
“Panorama allows students to determine how they want to interact with contentPanorama allows students to determine how they want to interact with content”
Envisioning the Future of Accessibility
Instructors want to learn more about Panorama. In fact, 42% of instructors who answered a questionnaire indicated that they want to learn more about YuJa Panorama. The college already has hosted seven 20-30 minute training sessions with a member of YuJa’s Customer Success team.
Panorama will help Delgado Community College ensure course accessibility for all students. “In the future, I can see us implementing guidelines, and YuJa Panorama’s accessibility scoring will be a part of that,” Rosenzweig said. “My goal is to help faculty understand how to create accessible courses up front so they’re making minor corrections rather than an entire overhaul.”
“YuJa has a place in the future of accessibility,” Rosenzweig concluded. “People are excited about it.”
“In the future, I can see us implementing guidelines, and YuJa Panorama’s accessibility scoring will be a part of that.”
Delgado Community College officials were seeking a product that would meet current and future accessibility needs.
Instructors were using tools to help gauge accessibility, but none were as comprehensive, affordable, or as easy to use as YuJa Panorama.
YuJa Panorama allows students to control how they learn and enables Delgado’s instructors to serve students in the best way possible.
“Panorama has allowed facilitators, faculty and staff to present content to users with the confidence that it is aligning with WCAG standards. Accessibility compliance allows access to print, audio, and visual media for users to choose the best medium for their learning needs and to be active members of the learning community.”
Amanda Rosenzweig, Ph.D., Canvas Administrator and Professor