'Blended Learning to Splendid Learning' Technology Innovation in Higher Education Conference:
Accessibility 2.0: Blended Learning For Blended Accessibility

Brian Kelly was invited to give a plenary talk on Accessibility 2.0: Blended Learning For Blended Accessibility at the "Blended Learning to Splendid Learning" Technology Innovation in Higher Education conference. The conference was held at the Manchester Metropolitan Business School on 9th June 2006.

The talk took place from 1.15-2.00 pm.


The importance of Web accessibility for ensuring that people with disabilities can access and use digital resources and services is widely acknowledged. The W3C's Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) has been tremendously successful in promoting the importance of Web accessibility at an international level and in developing guidelines to help ensure that Web resources are accessible.

However the poor level of conformance with the WAI guidelines, in particular the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), is leading to concerns that implementation of WAI guidelines will actually lead to universal accessibility. In addition concerns are being raised as to the validity of the underlying model on which the WAI approach is based and whether the notion of universal accessibility is an achievable goal.

This talk describes some of the limitations of the WAI approach and outlines an alternative user-centred approach for addressing e-learning accessibility, which focusses on the accessibility of the learning outcomes and not necessarily the accessibility of the digital e-learning resources (see [1], [2] and [3]). This approach recognises that accessibility is just one aspect of developing and using quality e-learning services, and that issues such as the usability and interoperability of the service are also important and that the resource implications in developing accessible, usable and interoperable e-learning services need to be addressed. The talk concludes be describing a 'tangram model' which seeks to broaden this approach [4].

The term "Accessibility 2.0" has been coined to describe this alternative approach to Web accessibility. As with Web 2.0, this reflects an attitude, rather than related directly with technologies, and places the focus on the needs of the user.

Some of the issues which will be addressed in the talk include:


  1. Developing A Holistic Approach For E-Learning Accessibility, Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology, 2004, Vol. 30, Issue 3, Kelly, B., Phipps, L. and Swift, E.
  2. Forcing Standardization or Accommodating Diversity? A Framework for Applying the WCAG in the Real World, Proceedings of the 2005 International Cross-Disciplinary Workshop on Web Accessibility (W4A). ISBN: 1-59593-036-1. Kelly, B., Sloan, D., Phipps, L., Petrie, H. and Hamilton, F.
  3. Implementing A Holistic Approach To E-Learning Accessibility, ALT-C 2005 Conference Proceedings, Kelly, B., Phipps, L. and Howell, C.
  4. Contextual Web Accessibility - Maximizing the Benefit of Accessibility Guidelines, Proceedings of the 2006 International Cross-Disciplinary Workshop on Web Accessibility (W4A). Sloan, D, Kelly, B, Heath, A, Petrie, H, Hamilton, F. and Phipps, L.



Blended Accessibility For Blended Learning
[HTML format] - [MS PowerPoint 97/2000 format]

Further Reading

Further information is available from the del.icio.us social bookmaring service using the tag 'blended-learning-mmu-2006':

Biographical Details

Brian Kelly's job title is "UK Web Focus". His remit is to support the higher and further education and cultural heritage communities in making effective use of Web technologies. His post is funded by the JISC and the MLA.

Brian is an experienced Web developer having set up his first Web site in January 1993 whilst working in the Computing Service at the University of Leeds. Convinced of the potential of the Web Brian was an early pioneer and evangelist, giving many presentations across the UK higher education community. Since then Brian has written many articles and given many presentations about the Web and has attended several of the International World Wide Web Conferences, acting as a member of the programme committee on a number of occasions. Brian was authr an author of a paper on "Implementing A Holistic Approach To E-Learning Accessibility" at the ALT-C 2005 conference which was awarded a prize as the Best Research Paper.

Brian's current interest include approaches to deploying open standards to maximise the interperability of networked services and the potential of "Web 2.0" within an educational context.

Since November 1996 Brian has been employed at UKOLN - a national centre of expertise in digital information management which is located at the University of Bath.