Accessibility & the Lumen Platform


  • Approach to Accessibility
  • Current Status of Lumen OHM
  • Current Status of Candela and Waymaker

Approach to Accessibility

Education is about sharing.  Lumen has a firm commitment to sharing learning materials that meet the needs of learners with variable strengths so that all learners can access and use them effectively.  We strive to understand what barriers learners may face and what inclusivity really means and to adhere to guiding principles regarding accessibility in order to be able to create inclusive learning materials.

Lumen has developed and continues to develop its approach to accessibility and inclusivity with advising from the Inclusive Design Research Centre at OCAD University in Canada.

Who is Currently Excluded?

All learners potentially face barriers to learning. These can be seen as a product of a mismatch between the needs of the learner and the learning experience and environment. Learning needs that affect learning can include:

  • sensory, motor, cognitive, emotional and social constraints
  • individual learning approaches or preferences
  • linguistic or cultural preferences
  • technical, financial or environmental constraints

Some learners are more constrained than others and are therefore less able to adapt to the learning experience or environment offered; for this reason the learning environment or experience must be more flexible.

In order to identify and understand the mismatches that our learners may face, Lumen increasingly incorporate user research and feedback into our design and continuous improvement processes.

What is an Accessible Learning Experience?

An accessible learning experience is a learning experience that matches the needs of the individual learner or the learners within a group. It should enable the learner (or learners) to achieve a learning goal, in their learning context.

To achieve an accessible experience, the first step is to obtain information about:

  • the learning goal
  • possible access needs
  • how the open educational resources (OER) should address those needs to help the learner achieve the goal

The next step is then to adapt learning materials to meet those needs by doing one or more of the following:

  • transform the resource (styling)
  • augment the resource (adding video, captioning, alternative text)
  • replace with another resource (matching the learner’s specific needs)

Since different learners will have different needs, goals and contexts, Lumen is investing in features that allow content to be transformed, augmented and replaced based on user needs.

Accessibility Principles

Understanding the underlying principles to accessible learning content development are key to the thoughtful creation of accessible learning materials.  Lumen adheres to the following accessibility principles set out by the W3C in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG).

    • Perceivable. Content should be able to be heard, seen, or experienced either through the browser or assistive technologies.
    • Operable. Interactions should be operable by everyone.  Some ways to accomplish this are to provide clear, well organized headings, make text readable and understandable, and remove unnecessary complexity.
    • Understandable. Content should be plain and clear to comprehend.  Some ways to accomplish this are to provide clear, well organized headings, make text readable and understandable, and remove unnecessary complexity.
    • Robust. Content should be accessible by a wide range of technologies, both old and new.

Process and Reporting Issues

Ensuring accessibility is an ongoing endeavor that requires attention, understanding and responsiveness to learner needs. Accordingly, Lumen is investing in building accessibility into our general design, development and continuous improvement process in the following ways:

  • Content and technology designers and developers are trained in accessibility.
  • We increasingly conduct user research, co-creation and testing.
  • Users who encounter accessibility challenges may contact
  • Issues will be addressed and solutions will be communicated in a timely manner

Current Status of Lumen OHM

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Current Status of Candela and Waymaker

Candela and Waymaker courses deliver course content into educational institutions’ Learning Management Systems (LMSes) via Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) Integration. Additionally, Waymaker delivers personalized learning tools, also via LTI.

  • Course content includes content housed in the Lumen Platform and links to external resources.
    • Content housed in the Lumen Platform is reviewed for accessibility. It includes original content developed by Lumen and collaborators as well as existing open educational resources (OER) that are brought into the Lumen platform and modified for accessibility as well as quality.
    • Links to external sources generally cannot be modified due to copyright restrictions and are generally included as supplementary resources.
    • A detailed evaluation of course content against WCAG 2.0 Level A and AA Success Criteria is provided in the tables below.
  • Personalized learning tools meet basic accessibility requirements, and we are working on making them more inclusive to better meet the needs of diverse learners.
  • LMSes are not provided by Lumen and are administered by educational institutions

Compliance with Accessibility Standards

Lumen’s current accessibility efforts focus on complying with the Level AA Success Criteria set out by the W3C in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG). These criteria meet current standards defined by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and provide more specific guidelines for complying with those standards.

The following four tables describe the current status of the content of all Waymaker and most Candela courses against WCAG 2.0 Level A and AA Success Criteria for each of the four accessibility principles: perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust. Older Candela courses will be brought in line with these standards as they are updated.

Principle 1: Perceivable

Success Criterion Status Supporting Features and Remarks
 1.1.1: Non-text Content (Level A) Good Alternative text: All images on student-facing pages have alternative text. Faculty and administrator-facing course catalog pages lack sufficient alternative text.

Buttons: No buttons are shown to students accessing courseware via LMSs. When courses are accessed directly on the Lumen Platform, however, some buttons lack labels that would announce their purpose to AT users.

 1.2.1: Audio-only and Video-only (Prerecorded)  (Level A) Good  No audio only or video only content is included.
 1.2.2: Captions (Prerecorded) (Level A) Good All videos have high quality captions, including external, copyrighted videos.
 1.2.3: Audio Description or Full Text Alternative (Level A) Needs Improvement Video: Visuals are supplementary to the dialog and support what’s being spoken vs. giving additional information, and audio descriptions are not required.

Simulations: Some simulations contain visual information not communicated verbally; descriptions need to be provided.

1.2.4: Captions (Live) (Level AA) N/A Not currently an AODA requirement.
1.2.5: Audio Description (Level AA) N/A Not currently an AODA requirement.
1.3.1: Info and Relationships (Level A) Good Information, structure, and relationships conveyed through presentation can be programmatically determined or are available in text.
1.3.2: Meaningful Sequence (Level A) Good The code order of elements is logical and intuitive.
1.3.3: Sensory Characteristics (Level A) Good Instructions do not rely upon visual characteristics or sounds.
1.4.1: Use of Color (Level A) Good Color is not used as the only visual means of conveying information, indicating an action, prompting a response, or distinguishing a visual element.
1.4.2: Audio Control (Level A) Good There is no audio that automatically plays.
1.4.3: Contrast (Minimum) (Level AA) Good The visual presentation of text and images of text has a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1, except when allowed.
1.4.4: Resize text (Level AA) Good Zoom is generally well supported. Some minor resizing issues exist in simulations, as well as in a top banner that is present only when courses are accessed directly in the Lumen Platform but not via LMSs.
1.4.5: Images of Text (Level AA) Needs Improvement Generally, images of text are not used. Some math equations are rendered as images but include alt text.

Principle 2: Operable

Success Criterion Status Supporting Features and Remarks
 2.1.1: Keyboard (Level A) Good  All functionality of the content is operable through a keyboard interface without requiring specific timings for individual keystrokes.
 2.1.2: No Keyboard Trap (Level A) Good  There are no keyboard traps.
 2.2.1: Timing Adjustable (Level A) Good  There are no time limits.
 2.2.2: Pause, Stop, Hide (Level A) Good  There is no automatically updating, moving, blinking, or scrolling content.
2.3.1: Three Flashes or Below Threshold (Level A) Good There is no flashing content.
2.4.1: Bypass Blocks (Level A) Good There are no repeated blocks of content that need to be skipped.
2.4.2: Page Titles (Level A) Good Pages have meaningful titles.
2.4.3: Focus Order (Level A) Good Focus order is logical.
2.4.4: Link Purpose (In Context) (Level A) Good The purpose of each link can be determined from the link text alone or from the link text together with its programmatically determined link context on all student-facing pages. On institution- and faculty-facing course catalog pages, book cover images on course catalog pages need improvement.
 2.4.5: Multiple Ways (Level AA) Good  A page may be located within a site via the table of contents or via site search.
2.4.6: Headings and Labels (Level AA) Good Text of headings and labels accurately reflect topic and purpose. The side navigation on the catalog page has the titles TAG 1 and TAG 2, which are not clear; this page is not student-facing.
 2.4.7: Focus Visible (Level AA) Needs Improvement  Focus indication is missing.

Principle 3: Understandable

Success Criterion Status Supporting Features and Remarks
 3.1.1: Language of Page (Level A) Good The default human language of each Web page can be programmatically determined.
 3.1.2: Language of Parts (Level AA) Good  Most courses contain only English content.
 3.2.1: On Focus (Level A) Good When any component receives focus, it does not initiate a change of context.
 3.2.2: On Input (Level A) Good  Changing the setting of any user interface component does not automatically cause a change of context.
3.2.3: Consistent Navigation (Level AA) Good Navigational links remain constant when courses are accessed via LMSs but change slightly when courseware is accessed directly via the Lumen Platform.
3.2.4: Consistent Identification (Level AA) Good  Components that have the same functionality are identified consistently.
3.3.1: Error Identification (Level A) Good Error messages are given for form errors.
3.3.2: Labels or Instructions (Level A) Good Labels and instructions are provided.
3.3.3: Error Suggestion (Level AA) Good Input errors are not detected automatically.
3.3.4: Error Prevention (Legal, Financial, Data) (Level AA) Good No financial, legal transactions are supported.

Principle 4: Robust

Success Criterion Status Supporting Features and Remarks
 4.1.1: Parsing (Level A) Good  Code is generally valid, although minor parsing errors are present.
 4.1.2: Name, Role, Value (Level A) Good  For all user interface components, the name and role can be programmatically determined.