UNESCO IITE and W3C launch an Introduction to Web Accessibility free online course

On the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, 3 December 2019, the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education (UNESCO IITE) and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) announced the launch of the online course built on the W3C’s Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) open curricula with international expert trainers from W3C Member organizations. The “Introduction to Web Accessibility” Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) introduces digital accessibility, and provides a strong foundation for making websites and apps work well for people with disabilities, meet international standards, and enhance the user experience for all web users.

The W3Cx Introduction to Web Accessibility is open for enrollment today. The course will start on 28 January 2020.

“Advanced technologies provide unprecedented opportunities to reduce the historically contingent learning divide and increase access to knowledge and quality education, especially for vulnerable groups, including persons with disabilities. UNESCO IITE recognizes inclusive education as the capstone of equality and mainstreaming. Cutting-edge technologies and innovative tools substantially contribute to the implementation and actualization of these principles, particularly to ensuring equal access to information, education and self-fulfilment for all. At UNESCO IITE, we keep up our joint efforts to promote the high-potential use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) for the creation of safe, healthy, non-violent, disability-sensitive, gender-responsive, equitable and inclusive educational environments.”

Tao Zhan, Director of UNESCO IITE.

UNESCO IITE and W3C cooperate to raise awareness of Web Accessibility

UNESCO IITE and W3C’s Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) are cooperating to provide a free online course built on the open curricula of the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI). By combining the technical expertise of W3C and its Member organizations with the educational networks of the UNESCO IITE, the initiative aims to reach audiences on an international scale.

“One of W3C’s enduring values is a Web for All, and that can only be achieved by including standards and guidelines that encourage an accessible web – which we work on every day. But an accessible web is not something W3C can assure by ourselves, we need the entire web community focused on ensuring that every web site is accessible. This course is a critical component of assuring that everyone is knowledgeable about how to meet the needs of users with disabilities.”

Jeff Jaffe, W3C CEO.

Web Accessibility fundamentals for a wide range of professions

Designed to teach the fundamentals of Web accessibility and their benefits for people with and without disabilities, the Introduction to Web Accessibility course is intended for a wide range of Web professionals. As the Web has become indispensable for our daily lives, accessibility for people with disabilities has become increasingly essential for many organizations and governments around the world.

The course follows a logical progression exploring Web accessibility through real stories of people with disabilities; the many tangible and intangible benefits of Web accessibility, including its business case; the related international standards and checks; and how to integrate Web accessibility into organizational design and development processes. The course includes optional activities related to the particular skills students may want to develop; for example, coding activities and business development activities.

This course is based on the open curricula of the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), a framework for developing courses using role-based modules that build on and extend the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) accessibility training resources. These curricula will be available to anyone to use as an authoritative foundation for creating courses, and are being developed through the consensus process of the W3C Education and Outreach Working Group (EOWG) with support from the European Commission (EC) funded WAI-Guide Project (Grant 822245).

Taught by international expert trainers from W3C Member organizations

On edX, a non-profit platform for education and learning, W3Cx’s Introduction to Web Accessibility course features expert trainers from W3C Member organizations from around the world including: Deque, Infoaxia, Intopia, Knowbility, The Paciello Group, and Web Key IT, all using the WAI Open Curriculum.

These expert trainers will cover the definition and scope of Web accessibility. This will include how people with disabilities use different assistive technologies and adaptive strategies to interact on the Web for all disabilities impacted by Web accessibility, including hearing, learning and cognitive, neurological, physical, speech, and visual disabilities. Students will learn the business and social benefits of Web accessibility, and learn how to find and use technical standards and training resources from W3C so that they can start working on Web accessibility.

Free course on W3Cx, optional certificate

Introduction to Web Accessibility is the sixth online course available on W3Cx, W3C’s online learning platform on edX, the world’s leading nonprofit online learning platform. Since the initial HTML5 online course launched on W3Cx, over 950,000 students from around the world have enrolled in a W3Cx course. Whether starting their professional life, or embarking on a new chapter, many students have seen their career prospects expand as a result of taking courses in the W3Cx Front-End Web Developer Professional Certificate Program: HTML5 & CSS Fundamentals, CSS Basics, HTML5 Coding Essentials and Best Practices, JavaScript Introduction, and HTML5 Apps and Games.

Students can audit the Introduction to Web Accessibility for free, or choose to receive a Verified Certificate for $99 USD. A verified certificate from edX can provide proof for an employer, school, or other institution that a student has successfully completed an online course. Verified Certificates enable students to gain access to graded materials, unlimited course materials at any time, and to showcase their accomplishments on their resume.

  • About the World Wide Web Consortium

    The mission of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is to lead the Web to its full potential by creating technical standards and guidelines to ensure that the Web remains open, accessible, and interoperable for everyone around the globe. W3C well-known standards HTML and CSS are the foundational technologies upon which websites are built. W3C works on Web accessibility, internationalization, security and privacy across hundreds of Web technologies. That work is created in the open, provided for free and under the unique W3C Patent Policy. For our work to make online videos more accessible with captions and subtitles, W3C received a 2016 Emmy Award. And for its work to standardize a Full TV Experience on the Web, W3C received a 2019 Emmy Award.

    W3C’s vision for “One Web” brings together thousands of dedicated technologists representing more than 400 Member organizations and dozens of industry sectors. W3C is jointly hosted by the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (MIT CSAIL) in the United States, the European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics (ERCIM) headquartered in France, Keio University in Japan and Beihang University in China. For more information see https://www.w3.org/.

  • About the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)

    W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) is an integral part of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). In partnership with organizations around the world, WAI pursues accessibility of the Web for people with disabilities through the following primary activities: ensuring that core technologies of the Web support accessibility features; developing guidelines for web content, user agents, and authoring tools; facilitating development of evaluation and repair tools for accessibility; conducting education and outreach; coordinating with research and development that can improve future accessibility of the Web; and promoting coordination and harmonization of web accessibility standards.

    WAI benefits from multi-stakeholder involvement throughout its work, including representation from industry, disability communities, accessibility research, and government. Since its inception in 1997, WAI has produced and is widely known for the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines (ATAG), User Agent Accessibility Guidelines (UAAG), and Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA), as well as technical and educational guidance to support the implementation of these accessibility standards. For more information see https://www.w3.org/WAI/.