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Accessibility statement for Postgraduate Qualifications and Modules site

This accessibility statement applies to the Postgraduate Qualifications and Modules website accessed via www.open.ac.uk/postgraduate.

Note: some links in this statement are only available to OU students and staff with their OU login details. These are marked as "(Internal only)".

The Open University’s web presence consists of several million individual pages across numerous websites. We want as many people as possible to be able to use our websites, and accessibility is an essential part of our mission. To adapt the content to your needs or preferences in most cases you should be able to:

  • Change colours, contrasts levels and fonts.
  • Resize text up to 200% without impact on the functionality of the website.
  • Zoom in up to 400% without loss of information or functionality, or the need to scroll in more than one direction.
  • Navigate the website using just a keyboard.
    • tab to ‘Skip to content’ links at the top of the page to jump over repetitive information to the main content.
    • tab through the content; the current location will be indicated by a clear visual change.
    • control the embedded media player to play audio and video materials.
  • Use a screen reader (e.g. JAWs, NVDA) to:
    • listen to the content of web pages and use any functionality on the page.
    • list the headings and subheadings in the page and then jump to their location on the page.
    • bring up a list of meaningful links on the page.
  • Use transcripts or closed captions with most audio and video materials.
  • If you have a print disability we provide SensusAccess (Internal only) to students, which is an automated service that converts files from one format to another, for example, PDF to text, audio, Word or Braille.

For additional accessibility for websites associated with teaching and learning, students should read the Learning Accessibility Statement (Internal only). If any module-specific accessibility-related guidance is needed beyond the Learning Systems statement, you will find this in the Accessibility Guide on your module website.

For additional accessibility information about Student Support sites (including StudentHome, the Help Centre, Student Policy and Regulations) and other sites designed to support students but excluding the websites covered within the Learning Systems statement, students should read the Student Support Accessibility Statement.

How accessible this website is

We strive to exceed current accessibility standards. However, we know some elements of Open University websites are not fully accessible:

  • Older legacy and archived material.
  • Some third-party content not created by The Open University.
  • Sites linked from Open University pages but not run by the Open University.
  • Older PDFs and Word documents may not be fully accessible to screen reader software.

We aim to provide accessible alternative content or activities where we can. For more information please visit What Support is Available and for more guidance please visit Studying on a Screen.

Feedback and contact information

If you find that a certain section of our website is not accessible and you can’t get access to the information that you need please use this form to request support and we will ensure that you are provided with the information you require. You will need to provide your contact details and PI if you are a student so we can get back to you. You should expect to hear back from us within 5 working days.

The OU is very experienced in meeting accessibility needs for our students. In many cases we are able to provide module and other study support materials in alternative formats for students who indicate a need for this when completing a Disability Support Form (Internal only).

In addition, some module materials are available in different formats and can be downloaded from module websites. Students can contact their Student Support Team for advice.

Reporting accessibility problems with this website

We’re always looking to improve the accessibility of our websites. If you find a problem that isn’t already listed on this page, or you think we’re not meeting the requirements of the current accessibility regulations (Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018), please use this accessible Feedback Form which is monitored daily.

We will ask you for the web address (URL) of the page and a description of the problem. We will also ask for your name and email address so that we can contact you about your feedback. You should expect to hear back from us within 5 working days.

Enforcement procedure

If you are a student, or someone who has had contact with the University before, and have a complaint about the accessibility of our websites, you should raise a complaint via the complaints and appeals process.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is responsible for enforcing the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No.2) Accessibility Regulations 2018 (the ‘accessibility regulations’). If you are not happy with our response and all our procedures have been exhausted, please contact the Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS). If you are based in Northern Ireland you can contact the Equalities Commission for Northern Ireland Equalities Commission for Northern Ireland (ECNI).

If you are neither a student, nor someone who has had contact with the University before and have a complaint about the accessibility of our website, you should go directly to the EASS.

Contacting us

If you wish to contact us about anything not covered above, please visit our Contact Page where we have a comprehensive list of services to suit your specific enquiry and requirements.

Technical information about this website’s accessibility

The Open University is committed to making its websites accessible, in accordance with the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018.

Compliance Status

This website is partially compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.1 AA standard, due to ‘the non-compliances’ listed below.

Non accessible content

The majority of content elements in our websites are accessible and do not contain the problems below. This has been confirmed by internal testing and auditing.

The content listed below is non-accessible for the following reasons.

Non-compliance with the accessibility regulations

Images

A small number of banner images which convey meaning need to provide alternative text to describe the image which can be interpreted by screen reader software. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criteria 1.1.1 (Non-text content).

Some purely decorative images (e.g. stock images) need to be marked as decorative within the code so that screen reader technology can simply ignore these images. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criteria 1.1.1 (Non-text content).

Enlarging content

When content is viewed at 400% using the zoom setting in the browser, some content becomes unreadable, and it is sometimes necessary to use both horizontal and vertical scrolling to read content. This makes it difficult for people who need to enlarge text and read it in a single column. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criteria 1.4.10 (Reflow).

Visible focus indicator

When keyboard-only users tab around the page they need to be able to see clearly which interactive element is in focus. There are a small number of elements on the site where the visible focus could be improved by providing a clear border around the element when in focus. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criteria 2.4.7 (Focus Visible).

Invalid HTML

Some pages include invalid HTML code which may present issues for assistive technology. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criteria 4.1.1 (Parsing).

Meaningful links

Some link text does not provide clear information about the destination of the link. This makes it difficult for people using a screen reader to know where the link will take them, particularly if they are reading links out of context (e.g. in a list of links). This fails WCAG 2.1 success criteria 2.4.4 (Link purpose).

Incorrect use of headings

Some normal text is incorrectly labelled as a heading within the code (e.g. H1, H2). Screen reader users regularly use headings to navigate and to get an overview of the content on the page, and so this incorrect markup is misleading. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criteria 1.3.1 (Info and Relationships).

Within the HTML code, headings are assigned a heading level (H1, H2, H3, etc.). In some cases, the order of these headings on the page is not logical (e.g. when heading levels are skipped). This makes it difficult for screen reader users to interpret the content of the page, as they often use a list of headings to navigate or get an overview of the page content. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criteria 1.3.1 (Info and Relationships).

Meaningful labels for buttons

Some buttons, for example the ‘Show credit help’ button, do not have a meaningful label within the code that can be interpreted by screen reader software. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criteria 1.3.1 (Info and Relationships).

iFrames

Some pages include videos presented within elements called iFrames, and these elements are missing a meaningful title which would help screen reader users identify the content. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criteria 4.1.2 (Name, Role, Value).

Meaningful sequence

Some pages use an element to present content which has a series of tabs along the top. When these tabs are selected new content is presented below. These do not currently work well with screen readers because when you select a tab you cannot use standard reading commands in the software to read the text below without first tabbing through the remaining tabs. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criteria 1.3.2 (Meaningful sequence).

Some pages use an accordion-style element to reveal content when a button is activated. These do not currently work well with screen readers because the content that is hidden until the button is activated is read out even though it hasn’t been selected. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criteria 1.3.2 (Meaningful sequence).

Following on from the accessibility audit of the Postgraduate Courses site, we are working through the issues to identify solutions and develop a roadmap for resolving them. Our initial investigations will be completed by December 2021, by which point we will update this statement with further details and timings. We will prioritise issues that have the most significant impact on website users.

Disproportionate burden

We are not claiming Disproportionate Burden for the Postgraduate Courses website.

Content that’s not within the scope of the accessibility regulation

We do not have anything considered to be out of scope on the Postgraduate Courses website.

What we’re doing to improve accessibility

As we build new websites and digital services, we strive to ensure that they are accessible and comply with the current legislation. We also review and audit older sites to identify what changes we need to make to improve accessibility.

The Open University website development process has stages that test the usability and accessibility of new and updated platforms, activities and services against WCAG 2.1. As well as working with external consultants, an internal Accessibility and Usability Evaluation team helps to offer guidance in this area and to ensure that accessibility and usability are embedded in the design and development process for developers and content creators.

These activities ensure that we are meeting and responding to the changing digital requirements of our students and users as well as developing and delivering systems and websites which are as accessible and usable as possible.

The Open University is committed to accessibility and demonstrates this in a number of different ways:

The Securing Greater Accessibility team (SeGA) was set up in 2010 as a university-wide initiative to promote accessibility and inclusive practice and support students and staff. SeGA offers training and guidance in accessibility in teaching and learning and oversees forums and activities for a wider community of practice and research. SeGA also runs a network of over 50 accessibility champions and coordinators, who work as points of contact on accessibility queries within their respective academic areas.

Staff at the Open University are offered on-demand accessibility training in a variety of topics to support them to carry out their roles. This will be complemented in the future by the introduction of bespoke, mandatory training in accessibility for all staff to complete in order to further embed accessibility good practice.

The Open University Library provides wide-ranging support to students with disabilities and specific requirements. As well as working with students directly to offer guidance in accessible resources, the Open University Library staff work with publishers to help improve the accessibility of their products.

The Open University aims to make studying as accessible as possible and a range of adjustments and support are available. A well-established disability support team provides guidance for students and arranges for students to have support when accessing digital content online or alternatively, access to a variety of formats. A wealth of resources for information and guidance in enabling students to study as effectively as possible in the digital environment are available via the help centre.

Preparation of this accessibility statement

This statement was prepared on 25th November 2021. It was last reviewed on 25th November 2021.

This website was last tested on 6th May 2021. The test was carried out by the Accessibility and Usability Evaluation Team at the Open University. Manual testing against WCAG 2.1 AA guidelines was carried out on a sample of 7 web pages which were selected to represent different website elements and content types. In addition to this, automated testing was conducted across the entire website. Findings from both test approaches were then merged.

The accessibility of this site is also monitored in real-time using an automated accessibility tool.