Live from ITC: Day 2: Universal Design for Learning in Practice – Teach Yourself to Design Accessible Courses

Presented by Kimberly Fields – Laramie Community College

Universal Design for Learning… That glorious set of principles which aids us as we endeavor to create online resources which are fully accessible to all individuals regardless of special needs impairments. See cast.org for info on origins of UDL. The National Center on UDL was formed in 2009. The principles of UDL are: representation, action and expression, and engagement. The ultimate goal is learning and UDL princiles help students to achieve the goal regardless of their needs.

Representation: how info is conveyed
Expression: how students demonstrate mastery
Engagement: how are students interacting with the material and how are their individual needs and expectations of the course being met? How does curriculum match up with students’ personal goals?

Intro to Lit Online… A personal journey

The issue started when Kimberly had a deaf student in her online class in SP11. Student couldn’t hear required videos and videos lacked closed captioning. She turned it over to the office of student services who turned it back over to her and informed her that making the course accessible was her responsibility. Moving from the Accommodation approach to the Universal Design approach involves a paradigm shift. In old thinking, (accommodation approach) the onus was on the individual to get their special needs addressed. In new thinking (UDL), the responsibility lies with the course designer. While her course did meet UDL principles for engagement, the course fell short in areas of Expression and Representation.

Expression
Online office hours now done in Bb collaborate and use of accessibility review. Poetry presentations now oral or written instead of only oral as they were before.

Representation
Students get to choose whether or not they want audio or written feedback for assignments.
Creating a collection of captioned videos.
Creating captions for existing videos.

BUT textbook isn’t available as an ebook
AND cool web 2.0 tools like Prezi and Google Docs are not fully accessible.

Top 3 lessons for improving representation

  1. Review your Technology.
    • Search for a VPAT (voluntary product accessibility template). Tool used to document product’s conformance with accessibility standards. Review it carefully and make sure that the vendor is working to make it compliant.
    • search for “screen reader + product” in Google and see what your results look like. Try “screen reader + prezi” if you’re in the mood to have your heart broken.
  2. look for captioned videos. On YouTube, search for “search term, cc” and see what you get. This will only yield results which have closed captioning
  3. DIY captioning ain’t that hard! Screencastomatic can help!!
    • captioning CAN be outsourced, but it’s expensive…

It’s a lot of work, but it can be done… Moreover, it SHOULD be done.

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