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Distance Education Accessibility Guidelines

Glossary

A

Audio Description
Narration that is added to a soundtrack to describe important visual details that cannot be understood from the main soundtrack alone. Audio description of video provides information about actions, characters, scene changes, on-screen text, and other visual content. In standard audio description, narration is added during existing pauses in dialogue. Where all of the video information is already provided in existing audio, no additional audio description is necessary. Also called 'video description' and 'descriptive narration.'

Alt Tag
A HTML tag that provides alternative text when non-textual elements, typically images, cannot be displayed.

Assistive Technology
As defined by the Assistive Technology Act of 1998, the term refers to "any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities." Assistive technologies include: screen readers and magnifiers, closed captioning, alternative keyboards, and other special software and equipment that makes information devices more accessible. Also referred to as 'Adaptive Technology.'

B

Built-in Accessibility Tools
Hardware and software on the computer, such as: a screen reader, magnifier, or on-screen keyboard. These tools are designed primarily for people who have difficulty interacting with their computer using a typical display, keyboard, and/or mouse.

C

Caption
A text transcript of the audio portion of a video file that synchronizes the text to the action contained in the video.

Captions
Words shown on a movie, television or computer monitor showing what is being said in the program. Captions may be 'open' (visible whenever the program is shown) or 'closed.' Closed captions (when shown) may be visible to all people viewing the show, or with some technology, they may be visible only to people who wish to see them. Even though the terms caption and subtitle have similar definitions, captions commonly refer to on-screen text specifically designed for deaf or hard of hearing viewers, while subtitles are straight transcriptions or translations of the dialogue. Captions are usually positioned below the person who is speaking, and they include descriptions of sounds (i.e., gunshots or closing doors) and music. Closed captions are not visible until the viewer activates them. Open captions are always visible, such as subtitles on foreign videotapes.

Closed Captioning
Words shown on a movie, television or computer monitor showing what is being said in the program. Closed captions (when shown) may be visible to all people viewing the show, or with some technology, they may be visible only to people who wish to see them.

Complex Media
Digital media formats that contain multiple media types and may include applications, files, content management systems, interactive content, text, images, audio and video.

Course Management System (CMS)
A tool that allows instructors and other college personnel to develop and support online learning. Accessed on the Web, this software allows instructors to manage materials distribution, assignments, communications and other aspects of instruction. Examples are Blackboard, WebCT, ETUDES, Moodle and Sakai.

D

Descriptive Narration
Aids blind and visually impaired viewers with audio descriptions of key visual elements of video programming, including descriptive information on scenery, action, expressions/movements and costumes/props – everything that will give the viewer a better "picture" of what is happening.

Digital Images
Electronic snapshots taken of a scene or scanned from documents, such as photographs, manuscripts, printed texts, and artwork.

Digital Images of Textual Information
Electronic snapshots of text, such as a scanned document.

Distance Education
Instruction in which the instructor and student are separated by distance and interact through a variety of communication methods.

Distance Education Course
For purposes of curriculum approval, this is any course where, by design, the student(s) and faculty are separated by a distance for any portion or element of the student contact hours.

E

Electronic Book (E-book)
The digital media equivalent of a printed book. Such documents are either read on personal computers or on dedicated hardware devices known as e-book readers.

Electronic Text (E-text)
Any text-based information that is available in a digitally encoded human-readable format and that is read by electronic means.

End User
The person who actually utilizes the technologies.

E-pack
An e-pack is a publisher created digital content package which can be used by faculty with technology such as Blackboard and customized to meet their unique needs. It can contain text, graphics, images, interactive Flash files, PDFs, etc.

F

Fundamental Alteration
The ADA states a "fundamental alteration" is a change to such a degree that the original program, service, or activity is no longer the same.

I

Interface Design/Content Layout
The intent of Web design to create a website which is a collection of electronic documents and applications that reside on a Web server(s) and present content and interactive features/interfaces to the end user in the form of Web pages.

L

Learning Management System (LMS)
Software application for the administration, documentation, tracking, and reporting of training programs, classroom and online events, e-learning programs, and training content.

N

Native Accessibility
The natural capability of electronic information to be accessed directly and without modifications (out of the box).

Navigation Structure
A navigation structure identifies how the information will flow through a website and how a user will locate the information presented. A good navigation structure will allow the user viewing the site to maneuver through the pages with ease.

P

Playback Context
The unique set of variables comprised of the end-user capabilities, skills, and knowledge, combined with the functionality of the electronic information in question.

S

Screen Magnifier
Software program that magnifies all, or part, of a computer screen to make the content visible to users with visual impairments.

Screen Reader
Software for the people with visual impairments that converts the text to speech and reads the content of a computer screen aloud. Screen readers can only interpret text content, so all graphic and multimedia must have alternative text descriptions using alt tags, captions, transcripts, or other methods.

Semantic Markup Capabilities
The capability to create structured documents by denoting structural semantics for text such as headings, paragraphs, lists, links, quotes and other items.

Social Media
Web-based technologies that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content for networking or connecting to other individuals. Popular networking sites, Myspace, Facebook and Twitter, are the social media most commonly used for socialization and connecting friends, relatives, and employees.

Style Sheet
Style sheets are the way that standards-compliant Web designers define the layout, look-and-feel, and design of their pages. They are called Cascading Style Sheets or CSS. With style sheets, a designer can define many aspects of a Web page, such as: fonts, colors, layout, positioning, imagery, and accessibility.

Subtitles
Textual versions of the dialog in films and television programs, usually displayed at the bottom of the screen. They can either be a form of written translation of a dialog in a foreign language or a written rendering of the dialog in the same language.

Synchronous
Communication in which interaction between participants is simultaneous.

T

Technology Based Instruction
Education or training delivered via web-based media, computer, or other technologies.

Textual Description
Written descriptions of images that can be rendered into an accessible format via assistive technology for non-sighted viewers.

U

Universal Design
Universal Design is the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.

User Interface Components
Hardware and/or software that allow individuals to interact with technology. User interfaces exist for various systems and provide a means of input, allowing the users to manipulate a system, and/or output, allowing the system to indicate the effects of the users' manipulation.

W

WAI
Web Accessibility Initiative is affiliated with the World Wide Web Consortium. It coordinates with organizations around the world to increase the accessibility of the Web through five primary areas of work: technology, guidelines, tools, education and outreach, and research and development. They are the developer of web content accessibility guidelines.