Inclusive Storytelling in Higher Education

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Anne Stefanyk, CEO and Founder of Kanopi Studios, joined the podcast to talk about the concept of inclusive storytelling and using language that helps ensure our students can picture themselves in our institution’s story.

 

Kanopi Studio's Accessible Media Presentation
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DxR3A-Se40c

Kanopi Studio's Inclusive Content Strategy Presentation
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-BWxtqXURGQ&t=6s

Kanopi Studio's Blog: Accessibility Tools
https://kanopi.com/blog/web-accessibility-best-tools/

Inclusivity make sure that yourindividuals can really relate to your content and if it's not accessible,it's not relatable you're, listening to enrolment growth,university from helics education, the best professional development podcastfor higher education leaders looking to grow in Roman at their college oruniversity, whether you're looking for fresh androman growth techniques andstrategies or tools and resources. You've come to the right place. Let'sget into the show, welcome back to anroman growthuniversity, a proud member of the connect Edu podcast network, I'm EricWoleson with helics education and we're here today with Anne Stephanic, CEO andfounder of Canopy Studios, and welcome to the show. Thank you for having mereally excited to talk with you today about the concept of inclusivestorytelling. Before we dig in, can you give the listeners a little bit betterunderstanding of Canopy Studios, so...

...canopy studios is a web developmentagency. We build design and support websites for clients that want to makea positive impact and we work a lot with higher education as well as nonprofit and folks that are more mission driven of it and to kick off ourconversation today. Can you give us a high level overview of what it means tocreate inclusive content for sure so inclusive content strategyreally is presenting your digital content in a way that really reachesenable to speak at the largest audience, regardless of what makes us different.So it's really focusing on creating content. That is, you know, filled withempathy, awareness and making sure your content is really relatable. Yis Lhet'sdig into some specific examples of this. Can you walk us through the differencebetween speaking with versus speaking at in audience for sure, so the power of speaking withis to acknowledge the human and their...

...points of view and really bring theminto the conversation. There's a great quote from Verna, and it says, VernaMyers, hays diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being askedto dance, and I thought that was super powerful, because when you're talkingabout it's pretty much about instead of showing off it is showing the way. So,for example, that I can give is it's the difference of saying like let's sayyou have a zoologist program, you know you could be saying on your website.You will be studying with us to be azeologist and hear the courses, andhere are professors mercis asking questions on your website. Like doyourself, do you see yourself working with animals studying animals? If so,we can provide the pathway for you yeah. So what are some of those kind of otherimportant things to be aware of when pursuing the inclusivity? You've talkedabout some of these keys to inclusive communications. What are those yeah so,first off, it's really positioning your...

...user as the hero, and you is the guideand really helping them see themselves in your communication when you'rethinking about the keys to inclusivity is you want to avoid using veryspecific terms unless it's absolutely needed, for example, if you're offeringa woman's studies course, you definitely want to promote the femaleaspects of the story, but you can leave it out if it's not needed. It's alsoreally important to make sure that your content, if it doesn't need pronals andthen leave them out or if you are going to be including pronouns, then makesure that you include both Heshe as well as they tem. You know I can givean example like, for example, if you have your application form, if you aregoing to be watching like asking for demographic information, you may wantto be careful about how much you ask, because it may turn off your user. Youwant to really acknowledge that people have a variety of backstories, forexample, some people just say single or...

...married, but some people have they'returned off by that, so you may want to say, married or in partnership or I've,single so kind of taking a look at making sure that the form filters thatyou have on your application form are inclusive and they don't essentiallyturn off your users when we're talking about inclusivestorytelling. How does and should accessibility play a role? So that's agreat question because inclusivity make sure that your individuals can reallyrelate to your content and if it's not accessible, it's not relatable. So, forexample, if you have low contrast text, people who are visually impaired can'tperceive these you know. Another example is, if you put this socialsharing links above the content when you're using a screen raider, theywon't be able to actually share the content without going back to thebeginning of the article so to make sure that your content is inclusive forsocial sharing across all folks. You want to be able to make sure thatyou've taken care of those...

...accessibility. You know items like, forexample, you may have this amazing administrative video that you knowshows beautiful tours, but if you don't have captions on them, you're nottelling the story to everybody and there's also the as a reminder that notall folks have perceived disabilities, but they still may use theaccessibility tools. For example, if we have a you know a busy mother who's onthe bus and who has two or three children around them, but still wantsto look up something on on the Internet, still being able to use captions veryeasily without having to turn on a device, allows all people in allsituations to be able to digest your content and create more inclusivity.The examples are super helpful as we are developing new websites creatingnew stories anythings for us to keep top of mind to make sure that we arethinking from an accessibility. First Mindset Yeah. I think there is a bunch of toolsout there that I can actually share. In the show note so people can canactually test what they have right now...

...is a baseline, but there's some basicthings like color contrast spacing of links, captions a big one is not havingvideos autoplay or if you do have videos making sure that the user hasthe ability to pause and play. You also want to be mindful about your contentin terms of having vague calls to action like, for example, using thewords read more or learn more are vague, so it would be nice to have a call toaction. Read more about this or learn more about that and if visually, ifyou're, working within a content management system that doesn't allowyou to write over these buttons, you can do something with programming toolsto have nonvisual content ques. So, there's lots of of little things thatyou can do on your website, including even basic things like making sure thatyou add alt takes to all of your images and if you want to try it out, everycomputer is already set up with a...

...screen reader. So if you wanted to turnthat on and your accessibility tools and try navigating a website, you'llsee what is really easy and what is not starbucks actually does a wonderful jobof making sure that their website is very accessible. So if you want to gojust to a starbucks website and check it out and then go and check out yourwebsite, you'll automatically see some of the differences, great advice and in superhelpfulinformation for us and finally, any final next steps advice after we getback from starbucks website and realize how much work we have to do. What arethose next steps? We can take dwords moving to inclusive storytelling at ourinstitutions. How do we operationalize that o course? I think that's a reallygreat question I mean first off people want to be able to see themselveswithin their content. So if you want to really just pass very low hanging fruit,is you can look at image representation if folks of also be able to as that, ifyou're working with your marketing team...

...that you probably have personas builtout to actually want to build some of this stuff into your persona basis,looking at like datasets and doing your research on what Aur Best Practices agreat way, but really one thing: that's really helpful. Is that once you thinkyou've got it then go out and test? You know talk to your community ask if theysee and feel themselves as part of your communication strategy, because when itcomes to storytelling and making it inclusive, you first off, of course,want to position the end user as the hero, and you is the guide. So ifyou're, you know a department or a large university or a community collegewhatever it is, you actually have to get to know your users to be able torepresent them so doing strategic user research helps then build that into thestory, and then it is about kind of building it into your culture. A littlebit more so, for example, you want to make it very easy for them to connectwith you so making sure that when you...

...position yourself, you have sometransactional CTAs and then some direct CTAS are calls to action and those canreally be. You know specific to certain pages, but again it's about helpingthem solve their problem. So, as a student who is coming to the you knowwanting to find out what programs are available, you could be able to do asmall transactional CTA to ask them. You know, do a little quiz on whattypes of things are you interested in, and you know o like painting. Do youlike math and kind of go through kind of a questionnaire which ultimateinlybe in the end? Is Helping them decide? Maybe what program you can collect anemail address and then do some indirect, follow up and Aud know, guide them tothe next step and then, when they're ready have that direct CTA, making itreally easy for them to click on the uppline albutton and thanks so much ofyour time today and those wonderful, wonderful, next step ideas. What's thebest place for listeners to connect with you, they have any follow upquestions, of course, so you can find...

...me. My website is canopy, Ka N, OPICOMand you're easily to connect with me on the contact form or send me an email.My first name is Anne with a kne at canopy, Ka and OPICOM. You can alsofind me Ann canopy on Linkdon or social media, and we do have a couple of otherresources that I'm happy to share. We've recently done a bunch of trainingaround how to create accessible media, how to create accessible social mediaand how to create an inclusive content strategy overall. So I'm happy to sharethose links, so if people want to check them out and if you have any otherquestions with very successibility experts on staff, that would be happyto also sit down for fifteen minutes and do kind of a strategy session andjust take a look at things with you awesome thanks again so much forjoining us today. Thank you so much for having me attracting today's new post,traditional learners means adopting new enrolmant strategies. Keelicseducations data driven enterprise, wide...

...approach to enrolment growth isuniquely helping colleges and universities thrive in this neweducation, landscape and Helex has just published the second edition of theirenrolment growth playbook, with fifty percent brand new content on howinstitutions can solve today's most pressing andromant growth challengesdownload it today for free at Helocks, Educationcom playbook you've been listening to enromentgrowth university from helicks education to ensure that you never missan episode subscribe to the show in Itunes or your favorite podcast player.Thank you so much for listening until next time.

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