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Online accessibility and education

Online accessibility and education

Amy
Community Manager
You might have seen us talking about online learning lately, and we are still interested in learning from all of the educators right here in the Dropbox Community. Today we are looking at how online tools can help to make education more accessible.
 
A lot of new processes were put in place over the last year to ensure that students could take part in classes remotely, with a mix of online and hybrid courses ensuring continuity in learning. The move to remote learning also allowed for other online tools to become part of the daily routine—like Dropbox and Paper, which help students to stay on track. (Check out some tips on how to use Paper to improve productivity, you can check those out here.) This shift to online courses meant that anyone with online access can get more involved in learning. In many ways, online learning can level the playing field for those with different accessibility needs
 
According to the World Health Organization, about 466 million people around the world are deaf or hard of hearing, so institutions need to work hard to ensure students and faculty are equipped with the support they need. You might have seen us talking about the Rev extension here which allows you to get the captions and transcripts you need to make your courses accessible—now the Rev team has gone even further by conducting a survey to see exactly how universities and colleges in the United States are prioritizing accessibility since the shift to online learning over a year ago. They got nearly 300 responses from higher education professionals and compiled the results in their 2021 Higher Education Accessibility Report. You can check out the whole report here, but we went ahead and pulled out some of the points we found most interesting. 
 
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More than 90% of classes are still operating with at least some sort of online component, with both synchronous and asynchronous learning. 
 
Adding captions to asynchronous content ensures that all of your students can participate in the course and achieve the desired learning outcomes. While some universities have prioritized captioning more than others (38% are captioning at least 90%), the survey still shows that 42% of universities are captioning less than 50% of their content. This means that a large number of courses still are not accessible to all students who require captions to learn. 
 
If you’re looking for an easy way to get a text version of your educational content, whether that’s captions or transcripts, you can use the Rev and Dropbox extension. This extension allows you to get 99% accurate transcripts, captions, and subtitles generated by Rev directly from files within your Dropbox account, so all of your video content can be ADA compliant and accessible to all of your students.
 
It’s interesting to see how different accessibility tools can bridge the gap for everyone, and we would love to know what the educators and students in our Community think about this as well, so join the conversation below.  
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