Making media more accessible
New program aims to help media professionals meet new legislative requirements
If you work in media in Ontario then chances are you’ve heard about the province’s Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, more commonly known as AODA. The act aims to make Ontario fully accessible by 2025 and covers everything from parking lots to PDFs.
A new Accessible Media Production program launching at Mohawk this September aims to teach media and communications professionals how to put into practice the standards outlined in the AODA. The program will be especially useful to anyone who works in office administration, public relations, journalism, front-end web content editing, graphic design or social media.
“This is hands-on learning,” says Program Coordinator and Liberal Studies Professor Jennifer Curry-Jahnke. “Students will learn how to present content in a way that is more accessible to people with visual, hearing, physical or communication challenges.”
“The program has not started yet but already we have had employers asking when we will have graduates.”
Jennifer says students will explore the different ways that content is created and get intensive hands-on training in how to produce content that is accessible across all platforms including television, print and online. They’ll also get tips on how to write for people whose first language isn’t English, and they’ll meet with and learn from people with disabilities so they can develop a greater understanding of the challenges they face every day. As part of their final project in their second semester students will also have the opportunity to work with industry professionals in either a living lab or work placement.
“The program has not started yet but already we have had employers asking when we will have graduates,” she adds.
Believed to be the first of its kind in all of Canada, the 32-week intensive program is a mix of online and in-class. Jennifer says that students can expect to spend about 8-10 hours per week online followed by eight hours of classroom instruction at Mohawk’s Fennell campus on Saturdays, from September to April.
“At least 15 per cent of Ontarians live with a disability and as the population ages that number could rise. If you don’t make your content accessible to those people, you’re excluding a potentially large portion of your audience.”
The first class of 25 students will begin studies this September. Graduates of the program will receive an Ontario College Graduate Certificate.
Ontario was the first province to pass accessibility legislation focused on addressing every day challenges for people with disabilities. The Government of Canada is expected to follow suit with Canada-wide legislation reportedly in the works.
“Students in this program will gain a competitive advantage in producing content for people of all abilities,” says Kurt Muller, Mohawk’s Associate Dean for Media and Entertainment. “At least 15 per cent of Ontarians live with a disability and as the population ages that number could rise. If you don’t make your content accessible to those people, you’re excluding a potentially large portion of your audience.”
For more information on the program visit: mohawkcollege.ca/390. Apply now for September 2017 and receive $1,000 towards your tuition.
Mohawk College educates and serves 30,000 full-time, part-time, apprenticeship and international students at three campuses and two City School locations at the Eva Rothwell Resource Centre and the Central Public Library in Hamilton, Ontario. Mohawk has ranked first among all Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area colleges in student satisfaction for seven consecutive years and first in graduate satisfaction for the past five years. Mohawk ranks 15th among all colleges in Canada for applied research activity and has been named among Canada’s greenest employers and the region’s top employers for the past three years.