Online and Digital Instruction continued

These days instructional content is becoming more available in a variety of digital formats. Instructional input, activities, and assignments can be handed in locally to the teacher presented on websites complete with electronic files and multimedia. Online courses are also becoming the norm in high school as well as colleges and universities. Lessons in digital courses are usually self-paced and many times in prerequisite order. Learning management systems are complex software products that build application containers that hold not only lessons, but student records, an email client, group forums, chat rooms, file sharing components, wiki's, blogs and many more tools.

The issue of accessibility with learning management systems is directly related to the complexity of the web portal layout. For instance, if a lesson is contained in a frame within a frame (in html, this is called an iframe), navigation using only key commands just to get to the lesson section could require some creative and advanced knowledge. It becomes a "usability" problem. The greater the usability problem, the more inaccessible it becomes.

Because of the growing demand for more content, regular classroom teachers are starting to develop online lessons that also include authoring their own resource materials and assignments. There are now third-party software applications such as Softchalk that make it easier to create digital courses because advanced knowledge of HTML is not a prerequisite. With this increase of authorship, accessibility of digital content can vary according to the knowledge-base of the author and the layout structure of the software application. Teachers who develop online resources and materials will usually create them as .pdf's, word-processing documents, spreadsheets, and multimedia files. Each of these types of documents have their own accessibility guidelines. For articles on this topic follow this link to Web AIM.