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Mohawk College Making Media More Accessible

First-of-its-kind certificate course aimed at journalists and executives News Apr 10, 2017 10:09
by Mark Newman
Hamilton Mountain News

Jennifer Curry-Jahnke, coordinator of the Accessible Media Production course at Mohawk College, says new certificate program is the first of its kind in Canada.

Mohawk College is offering a new postgraduate certificate course aimed at helping media and businesses improve the way they get their message to people with visual, hearing and language barriers.

“It’s probably the first of its kind in Canada that we’re aware of” said Jennifer Curry-Jahnke, co-ordinator of the Accessible Media Production program that begins at the Fennell campus in September.

The 16-week mostly online program will teach journalists, executives and other content creators how to shape their information in a way to make it accessible to people with vision or hearing challenges who may use screen-reading software, including closed captioning, described captioning and accessible word documents to assist them.

The first class of up to 25 students will also get tips on how to write for people whose first language is not English and learn about the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.

“We’re going to be looking at different ways that we create content and how to make it accessible,” said Curry-Jahnke who noted they will be following the World Wide Web Consortium on Accessibility Guidelines. “It’s a standard that all program developers have to abide by.”

The new program is aimed at Mohawk media graduates or anyone who has been working in the broadcast, print journalism, public relations or office administration fields.

“We’re looking at people who have a diploma or a degree or equal work experience,” Curry-Jahnke said.

She noted the program is self-paced online learning that includes 10 hours of online instruction each week plus eight hours of classroom instruction on Saturdays.

The classroom work will include the creation of accessible media and working with people who require accessible content.

“If you don’t make your content accessible for all people including people with disabilities, you’re potentially eliminating up to 15 per cent of your audience,” said Kurt Muller, associate dean of media and entertainment at Mohawk.

Muller noted the new certificate program grew out of course in the college’s journalism program that taught students how to make their content accessible.

“We realized there is a demand and a need to teach these skills to more than just journalists,” said Muller who added the need for those skills will increase as the population ages and there is more demand for information that people with seeing and hearing difficulties can tap into.

See http://www.mohawkcollege.ca for more information about the Accessible Media Production course.

Mark Newman

Mark Newman is a Reporter for Mountain News. He can be reached at mnewman@hamiltonnews.com eMail: mnewman@hamiltonnews.com

Original at https://www.hamiltonnews.com/news-story/7234713-mohawk-college-making-media-more-accessible/