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Digital accessibility latest micro-credential offering

Sarah Putt, Contributor. 06 February 2020, 6:00 am

Victoria University of Wellington has teamed up with the Department of Internal Affairs to provide a micro-credential course in digital accessibility. The focus will be on barriers to digital accessibility, cultural perspectives on accessibility, and how to create digital content that meets the New Zealand Government Web Accessibility Standard.

Dr Gillian McCarthy from the University's School of Design Innovation says the six week course, which begins later this month, is an opportunity to create a standard of accessibility for New Zealand.

"Developing this course with DIA and key disability organisations means we are offering a uniquely relevant course,"  she says. "Web accessibility is about inclusiveness and a way to ensure no one is excluded. Having an accessible website actually provides a better user experience for everyone, not just people with disabilities."

Deputy Government Chief Digital Officer Ann-Marie Cavanagh says the course will give students the tools to understand and improve digital accessibility, regardless of the sector they're in.

Micro-credentials are certified courses, usually short, that recognise the achievement of a defined set of skills and knowledge in a specific area. The digital accessibility course is the third micro-credential to be offered by Victoria University, which announced it would began offering micro-credentials in November last year. At the time it said that participants don't have to be current students of Victoria University, and while micro-credentials don't count towards a degree, they are included in students' transcripts.

Micro-credentials were introduced by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority in August 2018, which defines micro-credentials as follows:

"A micro-credential certifies achievement of a coherent set of skills and knowledge; and is specified by a statement of purpose, learning outcomes, and strong evidence of need by industry, employers, iwi and/or the community. They are smaller than a qualification and focus on skill development opportunities not currently catered for in the regulated tertiary education system.

"At a minimum, micro-credentials will be subject to the same requirements as training schemes or assessment standards and will also be required to be 5-40 credits in size, have strong evidence of need from employers, industry and/or community, not duplicate current quality assured learning approved by NZQA and be reviewed annually to confirm they continue to meet their intended purpose.

Victoria University of Wellington's digital accessibility micro-credential begins on 17 February, and the University has said it is planning to add more professional development courses of this nature. 


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