Category Archives: Reading effectively

Tools and technologies for supporting reading

Open access resources (OERs) and accessibility

It seems tautological to write a blog post on open access and accessibility. Surely if something is open access then it is open to anyone and therefore accessible to anyone? Alistair McNaught argues that the link between open access and accessibility is more nuanced than you might expect. Authors and institutions need simple guidelines to … Read more

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Accessible material audit checklist

As the start of the academic year is just around the corner we’ve pulled together some quick reminders and quick wins for you to consider when creating accessible resources, information and/or learning material.  How do you make sure your Word documents are accessible? I use inbuilt heading styles (Heading 1, Heading 2 etc.) to structure … Read more

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Delivering words to eyes

Text to speech is great but not everyone gets on with it. What other ways can we deliver words to eyes more efficiently?  What about people who want to read with their eyes but have visual or other difficulties that make scanning normal pages tiring or inefficient? What about those who need bigger fonts but … Read more

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Access and Inclusion Strategy: are you digitally inclusive?

Funding changes in Scottish FE sector prompt Margaret McKay to reflect on the wider opportunities for colleges to embrace digital inclusion in widenening participation… A review of funding to support disabled students in FE colleges in Scotland was undertaken last academic year (2015-2016).  Engaging with a wide range of stakeholder groups, the Scottish Funding Council … Read more

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Supporting personalisation with roaming profiles

We’ve talked before about the inclusivity benefits that are hidden in the tools and technologies that we use every day and are often overlooked.  This blog by Margaret McKay and Rohan Slaughter describe ways of (i) taking advantage of the Ease of Access features in Windows (ii) how Roaming Profiles set up by the IT … Read more

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Word or PDF? What’s the learner experience likely to be?

A recent question on the Assistive-technology Jisc mail list (https://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/cgi-bin/webadmin?A0=ASSISTIVE-TECHNOLOGY) sparked some interesting debate. Alistair McNaught thought the debate was worthwhile enough to summarise as a blog post. In the process he discovered some weird and wonderful things about redeeming inaccessible PDFs… How are PDFs good for accessibility? If a PDF document has been created … Read more

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Talking technology

We’ve already blogged on supporting reading and using built in browser tools but a question we often get is “What’s the difference between screen reading and text readers (or ‘text to speech’ technology)? Often the terms are used interchangeably but, in reality, they are two different kinds of technologies used in different ways. Margaret McKay helps … Read more

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eBooks: An Accessibility Disconnect?

It’s easy to think that new publishing formats like EPUB3 have made accessibility issues a thing of the past. James Scholes – an expert screen reader user and ebook tester – suggests there’s still a long way to go… It’s no surprise that the eBook revolution has been a boon to many visually impaired people. For … Read more

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Six tips for teaching staff

Top tips for inclusive practice Technology gives a wide range of opportunities to teach more inclusively: digital content can be accessed and personalised in ways that suit learning needs and preferences. It also allows new pedagogical opportunities for working creatively and collaboratively with richer assessment and feedback opportunities. A few key tips can help maximise the … Read more

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