We would like to take this opportunity to remind all George Brown College employees of their obligations under the Ontario Human Rights Code (OHRC), the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) Integrated Standards, and college policy, specifically as it relates to principles of accommodation and accessible resources, including classroom materials, textbook selection and course packs.
To avoid the use of inaccessible materials that disadvantage our students and present significant obstacles to learning, George Brown College would like to ensure that: (1) everyone is aware of their obligations under current legislation; (2) there are supports in place to facilitate accessible solutions to the current barriers being experienced; and (3) we will work together to ensure there is a coordinated effort to establish and maintain sustainable solutions to these issues going forward.
Under the AODA and the OHRC, as well as in accordance with several GBC policies, the college is required to adhere to accessibility standards and principles when designing, adopting and procuring educational materials and resources for the delivery of course curricula. This includes but is not limited to: textbooks, e-books, course packs, e-learning platforms, online networking and conferencing platforms, interactive and instructive online management systems, audio-visual and multimedia.
The College's AODA Accessibility Policy (revised 2017) and the Captioned Media and e-Text Policy (2006) stipulate that all materials produced or purchased for instructional purposes must be accessible, that all textbooks and course materials used for instructional purposes must be available in an accessible format, and that the Bookstore will only acquire textbooks and course packs that are available in an accessible format.
In response to our obligations under the OHRC and the AODA, Xerox was appointed the single source course pack producer and manager for George Brown College as of March 2018.
Under these policies, each academic division is responsible for:
Allocating a budget for making resources accessible, including classroom materials, textbooks and captioned media.
Academic divisions and their faculty members are also responsible for:
Selecting materials (textbooks, coursepacks, etc) that are available in an accessible format. Wherever possible, faculty should create electronic reading lists over print coursepacks using GBC Library resources.
Ongoing commitment to using Xerox, the college's single source course pack producer and manager, who is working to ensure that all future created, produced, sold and used course packs at George Brown College meet both the OHRC and AODA requirements.
Submitting clean, accessible, electronic files to Xerox when creating course packs. Please note: photocopies are not an accessible nor a conversion ready format.
Ensuring that all printed materials (course outlines, reading lists, assignments, articles, test, examinations, notes and any other handouts) that are distributed or assigned to students are available in an accessible electronic format, such as MS Word.
- Ensuring that all media is captioned according to GBC standards and policy.
There are several ways the college can support you throughout these processes:
When selecting materials:
- Contact your Liaison Librarian. The GBC Library's collection of electronic materials are an excellent, free, and accessible alternative to print course packs. Using the Library Reading List Builder in Blackboard, faculty can quickly and easily create lists of links to digital resources (including library journal articles, newspapers, magazines, eBooks and streamed videos, or any web content), which students can access from their Blackboard course. Please review the instructions for creating an online reading list, and contact your Liaison Librarian if you require assistance.
- Consult with the George Brown Bookstore, the publisher and Xerox, our copyright clearance partner, to confirm that the material you would like to request is available in an accessible format and is compliant with copyright regulations.
- Submit your selections to the GBC Bookstore on or before the established deadline.
- Ensure that Xerox orders are communicated well in advance of your course start date to ensure that sufficient time is allocated for output approvals and printing.
- Consult with Accessible Learning Services to ensure materials meet accessibility standards and can be provided in multiple formats, as needed.
- Ensure that all media is captioned according to college policy and in consultation with the college's Accessible Media Coordinator.
When onboarding staff:
- AODA training is required by law and is a condition of employment at George Brown College. All employees, volunteers, contractors or others who provide goods, services or facilities on behalf of the college are obligated to complete the following training modules available on Cornerstone (My Learning):
- Working Together: The Code and the AODA (O. Reg. 165/16 s. 7)
- General Accessibility Requirements Module (O. Reg. 165/16 s.80.49)
- Accessible Customer Service Standards Module (O. Reg. 165/16 s.80.49)
- Accessible Information and Communication Standards Module (O. Reg. 165/16 s. 7)
- Accessibility Awareness Training for Educators (O. Reg. 165/16 s. 16).
*Completion of the Accessibility Awareness Training for Educators module is a requirement for any "employee who is involved in course design, delivery and instruction." (O. Reg. 165/16 s. 16).
- Encourage all staff to attend accessible document training via Cornerstone (My Learning), or contact Gary Roberts, PMT Administrator & Sr. Digital Specialist for specific sessions for your department or program area.
- Additional support on creating accessible documents available via the GBC website.
When preparing course materials:
- Faculty are encouraged to use Blackboard to host their course content and to check their documents using Blackboard Ally, the component of our Learning Management System that focuses on making digital course content more accessible. In Blackboard, Ally will run your course files through an accessibility checklist to identify common barriers and issues; it assesses and notifies the instructor about the accessibility of their documents and provides guidance on how to fix accessibility issues that arise.
We recognize that all employees have a role in creating an accessible and inclusive college. Please find contact information for key point persons supporting the requirements and workflow for the accessibility of classroom resources below: