More than 90 participants from Costa Rica, Cuba and the Dominican Republic took part in the 2nd Training of the ACCESS Project, organized on February 17 and 18, 2021. The workshop was taught virtually by the Digital Accessibility Unit of the University of Alicante. The training focused on familiarizing, in an eminently practical way, attendees with tools and methodologies for creating digital and inclusive teaching materials. These contents are especially useful in this context of a pandemic that has forced most of the Universities to deliver their educational actions via online or hybrid methodologies.
The session began on the first day by working on the Microsoft Word text editing program, providing practical guidelines, tips and procedures to create accessible Word templates for people with visual impairments of all kinds: blindness, visual impairment or color blindness. Many of these tools are applicable to other types of students with dyslexia, attention deficits, or other learning disabilities. The training was given by José María Fernández, leading the execution of the practice, while Cristina Palomares was in charge of solving all the doubts that could appear in the chat.
On the second day, the ACCESS consortium partners met exclusively with the University of Macedonia (Greece) to learn about qualitative data collection methodologies, which will be applied within the framework of the project to continue identifying the needs and problems in terms of inclusion and accessibility at the higher education level in Costa Rica, Cuba and the Dominican Republic. Then, José María and Cristina turned the tables, to guide the participants in the design of accessible PowerPoint templates, focusing again on concepts of universal design, types of calligraphy, image formats and color combinations.
Finally, the entire audience conveyed their satisfaction with the performance of the trainers. Likewise, the ACCESS consortium reaffirmed its willingness and commitment to continue progressing within their institutions and at the structural level to create more inclusive, accessible and fair university communities for all, and especially for students with disabilities throughout the Caribbean and Latin America.
The ACCESS / “Promotion of accessibility of students with disabilities to higher education in Cuba, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic” project is a Key Action 2 of Erasmus +: Cooperation for innovation and exchange of good practices: Strengthening of capacities in education superior, co-financed by the European Commission. The general objective of the ACCESS project is to improve accessibility, guarantee learning conditions and promote the change of policies towards the inclusion of students with disabilities in the context of the Higher Education system in Costa Rica, Cuba and the Dominican Republic through modern practices of inclusion, training and networking. ACCESS will be implemented over the next 3 years and it is expected to return to face-to-face actions as soon as the COVID-19 pandemic allows it.