Methods and technologies for accessibility and their evaluation

Course 2 entails a selection of 1-credit units focusing on different topics. The student is free to select a desired amount of units; yet, in order to complete the 20-credit module, a total of 10 units (i.e. 10 credits) need to be completed. 

Prior study requirements/recommendations: Course 1 is a prior requirement for those aiming to complete the entire 20-credit study module, and it is recommended for all Course 2 participants.

Modules

  • ACC.030 Defining and discussing accessibility in society
  • ACC.040 Picture communication
  • ACC.050 Spoken interfaces
  • ACC.060 Accessibility and user experience
  • ACC.70 Visuals to text
  • ACC.80 Social haptic communication
  • ACC.090 Easy language
  • ACC.100 Easy spoken interaction
  • ACC.110 Speech to text (subtitling)
  • ACC.120 Games, gamification, serious games and accessibility
  • ACC.130 Haptics and gestures (gesture-based interfaces)
  • ACC.140 Rehabilitation and assistive augmentation
  • ACC.150 Audio description of art
  • ACC.160 Entertainment and accessibility
  • ACC.170 Speech and audio to text
  • ACC.180 Web accessibility I (technical)
  • ACC.190 Web accessibility II (content)
  • ACC.200 Linguistic accessibility and machine translation
  • ACC.210 Accessible AI
  • ACC.220 Trends in accessibility research
  • ACC.230 Accessible Documents
  • ACC.240 Accessible Media
  • ACC.250 Accessible Social Media
  • ACC.260 How to face a disabled person?
  • ACC.270 Accessible Lectures
  • ACC.280 Teaching and Accessibility Legislation
  • ACC.290 Introduction to speech-to-text interpreting

Module descriptions

ACC.030 – Defining and discussing accessibility in society (Tero Avellan)

The thematic module introduces the student to the definition of accessibility and discussion in society, but also to the role of disability legislation. People with disabilities are often excluded from the mainstream of society. Disabilities affect people’s lives in multiple ways, both as individuals and as part of society. Disability can also be either temporary or permanent, but accessibility is not just a temporary feature.

ACC.040 – Picture communication (Tero Avellan)

The thematic module introduces the student to aided augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) techniques such as the use of pictures or symbols. Lectures focus on strategies (such as PECS, first-then boards) and the use of different systems (such as ARASAAC, Mulberry or Sclera) in different situations. Technologies, culture and the environment are also briefly discussed.

ACC.050- Spoken interfaces (Markku Turunen)

The thematic module covers the main principles of speech-based human-technology interaction, focusing on spoken interfaces which facilitate accessibility. This includes both speech output (e.g., spoken prompts for people with visual disabilities) and speech input (e.g., speech control for physically disabled personnel).

ACC.060 – Accessibility and user experience (Tuuli Keskinen, Sumita Sharma)

The module introduces the very basics of user experience evaluation in the context of human-technology interaction. Moreover, it will be described through concrete evaluation cases, how special characteristics of certain user groups may affect, and need to be taken into account in, the evaluation design. The examples will demonstrate field studies conducted with special user groups, such as individuals with developmental disabilities, visually impaired users, physically disabled users, and children.

ACC.070 – Visuals to text (Maija Hirvonen)

The course covers the basic principles and methods of translating visual information into text. Both human-led methods and automatic technologies are introduced, including audio/video description, automatic image/video captioning and alternative texts.

ACC.080 – Social haptic communication (Riitta Lahtinen)

The course gives an overview of social-haptic communication as a communication approach for people with sensory loss (visual impaired, hearing impaired, dual sensory impaired), other client groups (dementia, learning difficulties etc.) with friends, family and professionals.

ACC.090- Easy language (Idastiina Valtasalmi, Camilla Lindholm)

The module covers the area of linguistic and cognitive accessibility, with a specific focus on the area of easy language. This module introduces examples of easy-to-read adaptations of different types of texts.

ACC.100 – Easy spoken interaction (Idastiina Valtasalmi, Camilla Lindholm)

The module provides an introduction to the area of easy spoken interaction, drawing on the principles of easy written language presented in module (7).

ACC.110 -Speech to text (subtitling) (Maija Hirvonen)

The module covers the basic principles and methods of translating speech to text. Both human-led methods and automatic technologies are introduced, including subtitling/captioning, print interpreting, speech recognition, re-speaking.

ACC.120 – Games, gamification, serious games and accessibility (Lobna Hassan, Biju Thankachan, Sumita Sharma)

The thematic module focuses on visual accessibility in games and VR experiences. It briefly introduces basics of visual accessibility, and some of the needs of individuals with different visual needs. Next, the lecture provides two main discussion points; 1. how most games are visually inaccessible, and how some mainstream games are accidentally accessible to large extent, and, 2. how games, and especially VR, experiences can be very valuable and allow access to life experiences that visually impaired individuals can’t easily access such as diving, mountain climbing, or even being a sniper in an army

ACC.130 – Haptics and gestures (gesture-based interfaces) (Sumita Sharma)

Technology overall, provides safe, controlled, predictable environment for individuals with developmental disabilities, and using gestures and haptic interaction allows input mechanisms that do not rely on traditional keyboards and mouse interfaces. In this module, several different applications of gestures-based and haptic interaction will be presented and the limitation and benefits of each will be discussed. Example applications will be a combination of those that are commercially available and those that are developed in various research projects across the world.

ACC.140- Rehabilitation and assistive augmentation (Sumita Sharma)

In this module, we will look at different technologies for physical and motor rehabilitation, including exergames, virtual reality, gestures, robots, etc. Examples from research and current medical practices will be described, along with their benefits and limitations. Further, trends in assistive augmentation, e.g. technologies that enable us to enhance physical, sensorial, and cognitive capabilities, will be discussed

ACC.150 – Audiodescription of art (Anne Ketola)

The thematic module familiarizes the student with the audiodesciption (AD) of artistic products and venues of different kinds: art galleries, museums and theatre plays. The module introduces the production processes and the basic principles and guidelines for this type of AD and familiarizes the student with authentic examples of AD in museums around the world.

ACC.160 – Entertainment and accessibility (Sumita Sharma)

The module will introduce the requirements and considerations for accessible entertainment, including going to a theater or museum, and watching a movie. As a part of this module, students will watch an accessible movie on YouTube and share their experiences in a learning diary reflecting on the many considerations and elements required to make a movie accessible to a large audience, including subtitling, audio descriptions, lighting etc.

ACC.170 – Speech and audio to text (Maija Hirvonen)

The module covers the basic principles and methods of translating speech and audio to text. Both human-led methods and automatic technologies are introduced, including audio captioning, print interpreting, speech recognition, re-speaking.

ACC.180 – Web accessibility I (technical) (Biju Thankachan, Tero Avellan)

The thematic modules Web accessibility I and II introduces guidelines and other standards related to web accessibility, such as Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). The first module explains the web accessibility principles (POUR), but focuses on technical specifications, primarily explaining the WAI-ARIA, the Accessible Rich Internet Applications suite of web standards.

ACC.190 – Web accessibility II (content) (Biju Thankachan, Tero Avellan)

The thematic modules Web accessibility I and II introduces guidelines and other standards related to web accessibility, such as Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). The second module explains the web accessibility principles (POUR), but focuses on the content to make it readable and understandable, including requirements that address cognitive accessibility.

ACC.200 – Linguistic accessibility and machine translation (Mary Nurminen)

The module introduces the ways MT is being used today, specifically when it is used for ‘gisting’, or achieving an understanding of a text that is in a language a person does not speak themselves. The module will then focus on the various proposals and projects focused on using MT to promote linguistic accessibility.

ACC.210 – Accessible AI (Tero Avellan)

The thematic module briefly introduces the student to artificial intelligence (AI) and some of the ways in which AI is used to empower people with disabilities. Lectures focus on three cases; 1) communication and connection, 2) employment and 3) daily life. AI can empower people with disabilities, but there are also concerns about the diversity, inclusiveness, and accessibility of AI, which are also briefly addressed.

ACC.220 – Trends in accessibility research (Sumita Sharma)

From designing for disability, to designing for abilities and for augmenting human capabilities, this thematic module takes a broader look at the trends in research on accessibility with a focus on ideas, designs, prototypes, and products for the 21st century. The module will introduce ongoing research on Cyborgs, artificial limbs and augmentations, brain-computer interactions, AI, etc., through published research in HCI and accessibility, and other avenues. The module discusses how our understanding of human abilities is changing, and the different research trajectories from where we are today.

ACC.230 – Accessible Documents (Pauliina Baltzar)

During this module, the student will modify their own document (thesis, publication, course work…) to make it more accessible. The module teaches how to make documents accessible and what kind of methods are available. The module introduces for example how to make accessible tables, images, footnotes, and charts

ACC.240 – Accessible Media (Idastiina Valtasalmi)

This module introduces you to accessible media. Media accessibility is concerned with how media content and services can be accessed by people who are not able to access them in their original form. The module includes basic information about media accessibility and a movie clip that follows the principles of accessible filmmaking.

ACC.250 – Accessible Social Media (Pauliina Baltzar)

This module introduces you to accessible social media. The module focuses on basic information about social media accessibility, accessibility of emojis and tips how to make your own social media account more accessible.

ACC.260 – How to face disabled person (Sami Virtanen)

“During course students have possibilities to reflect on and learn current phenomenon on disability participations. Course offers different interpretations how society can be seen disabilities in different models. One current topic is like how covid19 has been effected disability person’s everyday lives in the context of physical and digital environments. The course offers tips and hints about what to consider for example meetings in physical environments or online meetings related to accessibility.

During course students have chances to reflect and learn on disability persons everyday life experiences by himself/herself disability persons speeches.

ACC.270 – Accessible Lectures (Aiden Luosujärvi)

This module introduces the student to different ways of making accessible lectures. The student learns ways of evaluating the accessibility of the classroom from the point of view of lighting, sound design, visual information and mobility. The student also learns to think about the possible disabilities and special needs of people on the classroom and how to accommodate for them. The student will also learn about how to work with different types of interpreters and personal assistants for disabled people in the classroom setting.

ACC.280 – Teaching and Accessibility Legislation (Aiden Luosujärvi)

This module introduces the student to the Finnish legislation regarding accessibility, teaching, and people with disabilities’s right for assistance in the classroom. The student will learn about the education-specific accessibility legislations as well as more general legislation regarding the rights of the people with disabilities. The student will also reflect on these topics and think about how they relate to their own experiences and possible future plans in the field of education.

ACC.290 – Introduction to speech-to-text interpreting (Aiden Luosujärvi)

This module introduces the student to speech-to-text interpreting, also known as print interpreting. The student will learn about what STT interpreting is, what are the requirements for working as an STT interpreter and what the work can be like in practice. The student will independently practice the 10 finger typing method and try interpreting a couple of short videos.