HOW ACCESSIBLE IS YOUR CONTENT?
New program fulfills a growing need in Ontario and beyond
Mohawk College is the only college in Ontario, possibly North America, to offer a graduate certificate program in Accessible Media, as the province and much of Canada and the world moves towards a barrier-free world for people with disabilities.
The program, which teaches Canadian and global accessibility standards, will begin for a second group of students in January.
“We need to start graduating people who understand accessible content,“ said instructor Karen McCall, who taught accessible document design. A growing number of employers are requiring that new hires be equipped to build accessible content, she said.
Much of the digital content on the web is not accessible for those with low or no vision or with hearing loss. By 2021, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act requires that everything on the web be accessible. That requires captioning for video and making content compatible with assistive devices, for instance.
“It was a rigorous program and I got a lot out of it,“ said graduate Andrea Jelic. “It‘s an up-and-coming career and these skills will be needed.“
The eight-month program mixes once a week oncampus classes with online learning. Courses are delivered in three-week modules, culminating in a capstone project, and all students did one or two field placements.
“We had more employers asking for placements than we had students. There is a lot of demand out there,“ said Program Coordinator Jennifer Curry Jahnke.
Adam Luyk‘s e-learning support role in Mohawk‘s McKeil School of Business has expanded to include accessibility components now that he has finished the Accessible Media program. He now trains Mohawk staff and faculty to create accessible documents and audits courses for accessibility.
“I never thought about accessibility before taking this program. I didn‘t understand the issue and it was an eye-opening experience for me. It has changed my perspective.“