accessibility with Rachel Comerford

Thank you for joining us!

Guest Speaker

Rachel Comerford

Senior Director of Accessibility Outreach and Communication at Macmillan Learning

Thank you for taking the time to participate in the STEM Accessibility Webinar with Rachel Comerford, Senior Director of Accessibility Outreach and Communication at Macmillan Learning. This session paved the way for discussing challenges and misconceptions related to STEM content accessibility and exploring approaches that can improve STEM access for all learners, including those with disabilities.

Some key takeaways from the STEM accessibility webinar were:

  • “Born accessible” is something that needs to be embraced. It’s not just about specific content or courses and it’s not just about ebooks – it is about ANY educational content that we’re creating.

  • The worst part for students with learning disabilities who have a genuine interest in STEM is that the discouragement is often cloaked with concern. Students are asked if they are ready for the challenges, but are told that the materials are inflexible and the programs are rigorous, etc. A gentle push away from STEM is still a push away.

  • Too often, these disciplines (STEM) are approached as, “We know that the current material isn’t accessible, we don’t think the current material can be made accessible, so we need to accept this as an exception.” There’s an alternative approach though, “We know the current material isn’t accessible, so rather than to try to remediate it, let us try to approach it from a different perspective.” One of the things that STEM accessibility needs right now is creative problem solvers.

  • One of the biggest barriers to creating accessible education materials in STEM is trying to do too much in one tool.

  • At some point in our lives, we are all likely to experience disability, whether it’s something associated with a temporary illness, a broken bone, age-related eyesight issues or hearing loss. So, the unintended consequence of STEM accessibility is that we have started to make a better world for ourselves as well, whether we identify as disabled or not.

  • Macmillan Learning is a family-owned leading global education publisher. It has pioneered a workflow for creating accessible books that conform to the EPUB creation guidelines based on WCAG 2.0 AA+ standards.

  • By harnessing the power of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, automation, and other technologies in an unprecedented manner along with incorporating human experts, Continual Engine’s solutions make content accessible for all learners, making content consumption equitable, affordable, scalable, and accessible.

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  • At some point in our lives, we are all likely to experience disability, whether it’s something associated with a temporary illness, a broken bone, age-related eyesight issues or hearing loss. So, the unintended consequence of STEM accessibility is that we have started to make a better world for ourselves as well, whether we identify as disabled or not.

  • Macmillan Learning is a family-owned leading global education publisher. It has pioneered a workflow for creating accessible books that conform to the EPUB creation guidelines based on WCAG 2.0 AA+ standards.

  • By harnessing the power of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, automation, and other technologies in an unprecedented manner along with incorporating human experts, Continual Engine’s solutions make content accessible for all learners, making content consumption equitable, affordable, scalable, and accessible.

Webinars are an excellent medium to exchange ideas, best practices, and insights, and we look forward to speaking with more thought leaders across industries.

Speakers

Rachel Comerford

Senior Director of Accessibility Outreach and Communication,
Macmillan Learning

Vijayshree Vethantham

Vice President - Growth & Strategy, Continual Engine

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