The Section 508 Refresh and What It Means for Higher Education — from er.educause.edu by Martin LaGrow

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

Higher education should now be on notice: Anyone with an Internet connection can now file a complaint or civil lawsuit, not just students with disabilities. And though Section 508 was previously unclear as to the expectations for accessibility, the updated requirements add specific web standards to adhere to — specifically, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 level AA developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

Although WCAG 2.0 has been around since the early 2000s, it was developed by web content providers as a self-regulating tool to create uniformity for web standards around the globe. It was understood to be best practices but was not enforced by any regulating agency. The Section 508 refresh due in January 2018 changes this, as WCAG 2.0 level AA has been adopted as the standard of expected accessibility. Thus, all organizations subject to Section 508, including colleges and universities, that create and publish digital content — web pages, documents, images, videos, audio — must ensure that they know and understand these standards.

Reacting to the Section 508 Refresh
In a few months, the revised Section 508 standards become enforceable law. As stated, this should not be considered a threat or burden but rather an opportunity for institutions to check their present level of commitment and adherence to accessibility. In order to prepare for the update in standards, a number of proactive steps can easily be taken:

  • Contract a third-party expert partner to review institutional accessibility policies and practices and craft a long-term plan to ensure compliance.
  • Review all public-facing websites and electronic documents to ensure compliance with WCAG 2.0 Level AA standards.
  • Develop and publish a policy to state the level of commitment and adherence to Section 508 and WCAG 2.0 Level AA.
  • Create an accessibility training plan for all individuals responsible for creating and publishing electronic content.
  • Ensure all ICT contracts, ROIs, and purchases include provisions for accessibility.
  • Inform students of their rights related to accessibility, as well as where to address concerns internally. Then support the students with timely resolutions.

As always, remember that the pursuit of accessibility demonstrates a spirit of inclusiveness that benefits everyone. Embracing the challenge to meet the needs of all students is a noble pursuit, but it’s not just an adoption of policy. It’s a creation of awareness, an awareness that fosters a healthy shift in culture. When this is the approach, the motivation to support all students drives every conversation, and the fear of legal repercussions becomes secondary. This should be the goal of every institution of learning.

 

 

 

From DSC:

After looking at the items below, I wondered…

How soon before teachers/professors/trainers can quickly reconfigure their rooms’ settings via their voices? For example, faculty members will likely soon be able to quickly establish lighting, volume levels, blinds, or other types of room setups with their voices. This could be in addition to the use of beacons and smartphones that automatically recognize who just walked into the room and how that person wants the room to be configured on startup.

This functionality is probably already here…I just don’t know about it yet.

 


Somfy Adds Voice Control for Motorized Window Coverings with Amazon Alexa — form ravepubs.com by Sara Abrons


 

Also see:

 


 

 

 

Innovating Pedagogy 2017 — from iet.open.ac.uk

Excerpt:

This series of reports explores new forms of teaching, learning and assessment for an interactive world, to guide teachers and policy makers in productive innovation. This sixth report proposes ten innovations that are already in currency but have not yet had a profound influence on education. To produce it, a group of academics at the Institute of Educational Technology in The Open University collaborated with researchers from the Learning In a NetworKed Society (LINKS) Israeli Center of Research Excellence (I-CORE). We proposed a long list of new educational terms, theories, and practices. We then pared these down to ten that have the potential to provoke major shifts in educational practice, particularly in secondary and tertiary education. Lastly, we drew on published and unpublished writings to compile the ten sketches of new pedagogies that might transform education. These are summarised below in an approximate order of immediacy and timescale to widespread implementation.

 

 

 

Reaching All Learners by Leveraging Universal Design for Learning in Online Courses — from by Roy Bowery and Leonia Houston

Key Takeaways

  • An instructional design team at the University of Memphis focused on helping faculty create inclusive online classrooms, become aware of the diversity of their students’ learning needs, and adapt their instruction to reach all learners.
  • They did this by helping faculty employ the principles and guidelines of the Universal Design for Learning framework, which consists of three principles: Multiple Means of Engagement, Multiple Means of Representation, and Multiple Means of Action and Expression.
  • After two years, the UDL Implementation Plan, with its emphasis on experimentation, exploration, and inclusive instruction, yielded significant benefits for instructional effectiveness at the University of Memphis.

In an effort to bridge the success gap, our team focused on helping faculty employ the principles and guidelines of the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework. According to the National Center on Universal Design for Learning, the UDL framework consists of three principles: Multiple Means of Engagement, Multiple Means of Representation, and Multiple Means of Action and Expression.1 The principles within the framework focus on the what, how, and why of learning. Each of these key principles helped our faculty address learner variability and include guidelines for encouraging their learners to become more motivated, resourceful, and goal-directed. By incorporating the UDL principles and guidelines into their online program courses, faculty created inclusive learning environments and addressed learner variability. With their newfound skills, most could use the strategies within the framework to design and develop online courses with flexible goals, instructional methods, materials, and assessments.

To assist faculty, we created a UDL Implementation Plan designed to teach them how to gradually incorporate UDL principles into their online classrooms, address learner variability, and create inclusive online instruction. We could customize the framework to meet every course, faculty, or instructional need, and they did not have to follow the principles and guidelines within the framework in a specific order. Instead, faculty could identify instructional methods or assignments affecting success in their course(s) and use specific UDL principles or guidelines to solve their pedagogical issues.

 

 

 

Provosts, Pedagogy, and Digital Learning — from er.educause.edu by Kenneth Green, Charles Cook, Laura Niesen de Abruna and Patricia Rogers
Panel members from an EDUCAUSE 2017 Annual Conference session offer insights about the role of provosts and chief academic officers in digital courseware deployment and the challenges of using technology to advance teaching, learning, and student success.

Excerpt:

At the EDUCAUSE 2017 Annual Conference, Kenneth C. (Casey) Green moderated a panel discussion with two of the CAOs involved in the Association of Chief Academic Officers (ACAO) Digital Fellows Program and with the principal investigator on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant that created the year-long program. In this session, the three panel members offered their perspectives on campus IT investments, including what the panelists see as working—and what they see as missing—in instructional technology portfolios today.

 

 

Green: What about protection and support for faculty—especially young faculty? Often and disproportionately, younger faculty handle the heavy lifting for departments because, being younger, they’re supposed to “do the technology stuff.” Yet, when they do it—and I hear this at all types of institutions—they don’t get credit for the work in terms of review and promotion. The technology work doesn’t count, particularly at four-year colleges and research institutions.2 Young faculty are told: “Wait. Get tenured, get through the hurdle, get over the hump, then do it. Because this will not help your career—even if you’re being pressured to be the lead person on a digital learning initiative for your institution.”

 

 

Niesen de Abruna: …Now the CIO has to be a partner with the CAO. Their joint enterprise is to leverage learning in their community and to work together and translate things for one another, acting as partners in terms of trying to benefit from what’s happening in instructional design. It’s very exciting for CIOs and CAOs to have that sort of relationship.

 

 

Also see:

  • Insights from Campus Leaders on Current Challenges and Expectations of IT — from er.educause.edu by Kathryn Gates and Joan Cheverie
    IT’s role across a higher education institution is crucial, yet campus leaders typically understand IT challenges and opportunities based largely on their functional roles. Interviews with campus leaders offer insights into these views, as well as how to understand IT more broadly to better serve an institution’s mission.

 

 

 

Robots in the Classroom: How a Program at Michigan State Is Taking Blended Learning to New Places — from news.elearninginside.com by Henry Kronk; with thanks to my friend and colleague, Mr. Dave Goodrich over at MSU, for his tweet on this.

Excerpt:

Like many higher education institutions, Michigan State University offers a wide array of online programs. But unlike most other online universities, some programs involve robots.

Here’s how it works: online and in-person students gather in the same classroom. Self-balancing robots mounted with computers roll around the room, displaying the face of one remote student. Each remote student streams in and controls one robot, which allows them to literally and figuratively take a seat at the table.

Professor Christine Greenhow, who teaches graduate level courses in MSU’s College of Education, first encountered these robots at an alumni event.

“I thought, ‘Oh I could use this technology in my classroom. I could use this to put visual and movement cues back into the environment,’” Greenhow said.

 

 

From DSC:
In my work to bring remote learners into face-to-face classrooms at Calvin College, I also worked with some of the tools shown/mentioned in that article — such as the Telepresence Robot from Double Robotics and the unit from Swivl.  I also introduced Blackboard Collaborate and Skype as other methods of bringing in remote students (hadn’t yet tried Zoom, but that’s another possibility).

As one looks at the image above, one can’t help but wonder what such a picture will look like 5-10 years from now? Will it picture folks wearing VR-based headsets at their respective locations? Or perhaps some setups will feature the following types of tools within smaller “learning hubs” (which could also include one’s local Starbucks, Apple Store, etc.)?

 

 

 

 

 

High-Tech, High Touch: Digital Learning Report and Workbook, 2017 Edition — from Intentional Futures, with thanks to Maria Andersen on Linkedin for her posting therein which was entitled, “Spectrums to Measure Digital Learning
Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Our work uncovered five high-tech strategies employed by institutions that have successfully implemented digital learning at scale across a range of modalities. The strategies that underscore the high-tech, high-touch connection are customizing through technology, leveraging adaptive courseware, adopting cost-efficient resources, centralizing course development and making data-driven decisions.

Although many of the institutions we studied are employing more than one of these strategies, in this report we have grouped the institutional use cases according to the strategy that has been most critical to achieving digital learning at scale. As institutional leaders make their way through this document, they should watch for strategies that target challenges similar to those they hope to solve. Reading the corresponding case studies will unpack how institutions employed these strategies effectively.

Digital learning in higher education is becoming more ubiquitous as institutions realize its ability to support student success and empower faculty. Growing diversity in student demographics has brought related changes in student needs, prompting institutions to look to technology to better serve their students. Digital courseware gives institutions the ability to build personalized, accessible and engaging content. It enables educators to provide relevant content and interventions for individual students, improve instructional techniques based on data and distribute knowledge to a wider audience (MIT Office of Digital Learning, 2017).

PARTICIPATION IN DIGITAL LEARNING IS GROWING
Nationally, the number of students engaged in digital learning is growing rapidly. One driver of this growth is rising demand for distance learning, which often relies on digital learning environments. Distance learning programs saw enrollment increases of approximately 4% between 2015 and 2016, with nearly 30% of higher education students taking at least one digital distance learning course (Allen, 2017). Much of this growth is occurring at the undergraduate level (Allen, 2017). The number of students who take distance learning courses exclusively is growing as well. Between 2012 and 2015, both public and private nonprofit institutions saw an increase in students taking only distance courses, although private, for-profit institutions have seen a decrease (Allen, 2017).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to be an ed tech futurist — from campustechnology.com by Bryan Alexander
While no one can predict the future, these forecasting methods will help you anticipate trends and spur more collaborative thinking.

Excerpts:

Some of the forecasting methods Bryan mentions are:

  • Trend analysis
  • Environmental scanning
  • Scenarios
  • Science fiction

 

 

 

 

From DSC:
I greatly appreciate the work that Bryan does — the topics that he chooses to write about, his analyses, comments, and questions are often thought-provoking. I couldn’t agree more with Bryan’s assertion that forecasting needs to become more realized/practiced within higher education. This is especially true given the exponential rate of change that many societies throughout the globe are now experiencing.

We need to be pulse-checking a variety of landscapes out there, to identify and put significant trends, forces, and emerging technologies on our radars. The strategy of identifying potential scenarios – and then developing responses to those potential scenarios — is very wise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From DSC:
I’m posting this in an effort to:

  • Help students learn how to learn
  • Help students achieve the greatest possible returns on their investments (both their $$ and their time) when they are trying to learn about new things

I’d like to thank Mr. William Knapp, Executive Director at GRCC for Distance Learning & Instructional Technology, for sharing this resource on Twitter.


A better way to study through self-testing and distributed practice — from kqed.org

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

As I prepared to write this column, I relied on some pretty typical study techniques. First, as I’ve done since my student days, I generously highlighted key information in my background reading. Along the way, I took notes, many of them verbatim, which is a snap with digital copying and pasting. (Gotta love that command-C, command-V.) Then I reread my notes and highlights. Sound familiar? Students everywhere embrace these techniques and yet, as it turns out, they are not particularly good ways to absorb new material. At least not if that’s all you do.

Researchers have devoted decades to studying how to study. The research literature is frankly overwhelming. Luckily for all of us, the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest published a review article a few years ago that remains the most comprehensive guide out there. Its 47 pages hold valuable lessons for learners of any age and any subject — especially now, with end-of-semester exams looming.

The authors examined ten different study techniques, including highlighting, rereading, taking practice tests, writing summaries, explaining the content to yourself or another person and using mnemonic devices. They drew on the results of nearly 400 prior studies. Then, in an act of boldness not often seen in academic research, they actually awarded ratings: high, low or moderate utility.

The study strategies that missed the top rating weren’t necessarily ineffective, explains the lead author John Dunlosky, a psychology professor at Kent State University, but they lacked sufficient evidence of efficacy, or were proven useful only in certain areas of study or with certain types of students. “We were trying to find strategies that have a broad impact across all domains for all students,” Dunlosky says, “so it was a pretty tough rating scale.”

 

In fact, only two techniques got the top rating: practice testing and “distributed practice,” which means scheduling study activities over a period of time — the opposite of cramming.

Practice testing can take many forms: flashcards, answering questions at the end of a textbook chapter, tackling review quizzes online. Research shows it works well for students from preschool through graduate and professional education.

Testing yourself works because you have to make the effort to pull information from your memory — something we don’t do when we merely review our notes or reread the textbook.


As for distributed practice vs. cramming, Dunlosky and his fellow authors write that “cramming is better than not studying at all,” but if you are going to devote four or five hours to studying for your biology mid-term, you would you be far better off spacing them out over a several days or weeks. “You get much more bang for your buck if you space,” Dunlosky told me.

 

 

Also see:

Improving Students’ Learning With Effective Learning Techniques — from journals.sagepub.com by John Dunlosky, Katherine A. Rawson, Elizabeth J. Marsh, Mitchell J. Nathan, and Daniel T. Willingham
Promising Directions From Cognitive and Educational Psychology

Excerpt:

In this monograph, we discuss 10 learning techniques in detail and offer recommendations about their relative utility. We selected techniques that were expected to be relatively easy to use and hence could be adopted by many students. Also, some techniques (e.g., highlighting and rereading) were selected because students report relying heavily on them, which makes it especially important to examine how well they work. The techniques include elaborative interrogation, self-explanation, summarization, highlighting (or underlining), the keyword mnemonic, imagery use for text learning, rereading, practice testing, distributed practice, and interleaved practice.

 

 

 

In fact, only two techniques got the top rating: practice testing and “distributed practice,” which means scheduling study activities over a period of time — the opposite of cramming.

 

 

From DSC:
This is yet another reason that I like the approach of using streams of content to help people learn something new. Because you can implement distributed practice, encourage recall, etc. when you put the content out there at regular intervals.

 

 

 

Expert Dive: Active Learning in STEM Courses — from teachinginhighered.com by Bonni Stachowiak

 

 


As part of ACUE’s Expert Dive series and collaboration with the Teaching in Higher Ed podcast, Paul Blowers sat down with TiHE’s Bonni Stachowiak to discuss the active learning strategies—and practices to increase student persistence—he uses in his chemical engineering courses at the University of Arizona. One of his practices includes showing students the first exam on which he received a failing grade, explaining the steps he took to master the subject to illustrate how failure can lead to success and mastery of the material.

Listen to Paul share the active learning practices that are the cornerstone of his teaching on the Teaching in Higher Ed podcast, and read Paul’s post, Three Misconceptions About Using Active Learning in STEM, on The Q Blog.

 


 

Also see:

Top 10 Recommended Podcasts
If you’re new to the TiHE podcast, check out our top 10 recommended episodes with a number of experts whose work is explored in detail in ACUE’s Course in Effective Teaching Practices.

1. Teaching Lessons from the Road with Penny MacCormack, ACUE

2. Motivating Students in Large Classes with Brenda Gunderson, a senior lecturer at the University of Michigan, whose practices to engage and motivate students are featured in multiple ACUE modules, such as Using Active Learning Techniques in Large Classes, and on ACUE’s community site, where you can see exclusive footage of Dr. Gunderson doing a cartwheel during class

3. Teaching Naked Techniques with José Bowen, president of Goucher College; ACUE subject matter expert for the modules Engaging Underprepared Students, Embracing Diversity in Your Classroom, and Using Student Achievement and Feedback to Improve Your Teaching; and an ACUE community site contributor

4. Teach Students How to Learn with Saundra McGuire, author of Teach Students How to Learn, who shares strategies in ACUE’s course for supporting unprepared students

5. Engage the Heart and Mind Through the Connected Classroom with Ken Bauer from the Tecnológico de Monterrey

6. Radical Hope – A Teaching Manifesto with Kevin Gannon, regular contributor to the Teaching United States History blog

7. Engaging Learners with TEDx Speaker and Professor of English Gardner Campbell

8. Small Teaching with James Lang, author of Small Teaching

9. The Skillful Teacher with our friend Stephen Brookfield, featured in numerous ACUE modules, including Planning an Effective Class Session, Delivering an Effective Lecture, and Developing Self-Directed Learners, and on the community with advice on teaching from the back row

10. Flipped Out with Derek Bruff, who discusses using concept maps and other visualization tools in ACUE’s course

 

 

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