Improving Digital Inclusion & Accessibility for Those With Learning Disabilities — from by Meredith Kreisa
Learning disabilities must be taken into account during the digital design process to ensure digital inclusion and accessibility for the community. This comprehensive guide outlines common learning disabilities, associated difficulties, accessibility barriers and best practices, and more.

“Learning shouldn’t be something only those without disabilities get to do,” explains Seren Davies, a full stack software engineer and accessibility advocate who is dyslexic. “It should be for everyone. By thinking about digital accessibility, we are making sure that everyone who wants to learn can.”

“Learning disability” is a broad term used to describe several specific diagnoses. Dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, nonverbal learning disorder, and oral/written language disorder and specific reading comprehension deficit are among the most prevalent.

 
An image of a barrier being torn down -- revealing a human mind behind it. This signifies the need to tear down any existing barriers that might hinder someone's learning experience.

 

21 Ways to Structure an Online Discussion, Part 1 — from facultyfocus.com by Annie Prud’homme-Généreux
*This is a five-part series. Each Monday, we will be publishing the next consecutive part of the article series.  

Excerpt:

I searched for ways to structure online discussions, and my findings are described in this series of five articles. This first article explores ways to structure a discussion to encourage learners to apply the concepts they have learned. Articles two and three describe discussion structures that help learners explore concepts in greater depth. Article four looks at ways to use discussions for reflection, evaluation, and critique of concepts. The final article investigates ways to foster a greater sense of community by using multimedia and proposes resources for developing new discussion structures.

Below are five ideas where learners search for, recognize, and share concrete examples of a concept, or where they create examples to illustrate a concept. I am sure there are more ways to do it, and I welcome your additions in the comments below.

21 Ways to Structure an Online Discussion, Part Two — from facultyfocus.com by Annie Prud’homme-Généreux

Excerpt:

In this and the next article, I will describe ideas for structuring an online discussion when the goal is for learners to further explore a concept studied in class. I subdivided the ideas into two categories: Some are useful when the goal is for learners to engage in divergent thinking, in other words, when they are generating ideas and expanding the range of solutions or brainstorming (this article).

21 Ways to Structure an Online Discussion, Part Three — from facultyfocus.com by Annie Prud’homme-Généreux

Excerpt:

In this third article, we will explore structures to help learners explore concepts when the goal is convergent thinking, so each learner gains a deeper, richer understanding of a concept and aligns with a common understanding.

In this article, the ideas for structuring an online discussion when the goal is for learners to explore a concept through convergent thinking are:

 

DC: Yet another reason for Universal Design for Learning’s multiple means of presentation/media:

Encourage faculty to presume students are under-connected. Asynchronous, low-bandwidth approaches help give students more flexibility in accessing course content in the face of connectivity challenges.

— as excerpted from campustechnology.com’s article entitled, “4 Ways Institutions Can Meet Students’ Connectivity and Technology Needs

 

 

Over 27,000 students share how colleges and universities could improve digital learning — from jisc.ac.uk

Excerpt:

A Jisc survey of 27,069 higher and further education students reveals that most are pleased with their digital learning, but areas such as wellbeing, mental health and staff digital skills need more attention.

Between October and December 2020, 21,697 higher education (HE) students and 5,372 in further education (FE) took part in Jisc’s digital experience insights student survey. The surveys seek to support the sector in adapting and responding to the changing situation as a result of COVID–19 policies.

 

Instructure: Building an Effective Learning Ecosystem — a recorded webinar from instructure.com from 3-4-21 (NOTE: You will need to provide some basic contact information to view it.)

Excerpt:

Hear from an expert panel of district leaders as they share their experiences with creating a learning ecosystem that includes integrating their learning management and assessment systems with quality benchmark and formative assessments. You will learn how a learning ecosystem has been an integral part of transforming teaching and learning during a challenging year.

Webinar from Instructure -- on 3-4-2021 -- Building an effective learning ecosystem

 

Improved Student Engagement in Higher Education’s Next Normal — from er.educause.edu by Ed Glantz, Chris Gamrat, Lisa Lenze and Jeffrey Bardzell
Five pandemic-introduced innovative teaching adaptations can improve student engagement in the next normal for higher education.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

The five teaching enhancements/adaptations discussed above—collaborative technologies for sense-making, student experts in learning and technology, back channels, digital breakout rooms, and supplemental recording—are well positioned to expand the definition of “student engagement” beyond traditional roll call and attendance tracking. Opportunities to include students at a distance have permitted inclusion of students who are reticent to speak publicly, students whose first language is not English, students with disabilities, and students less engaged through “traditional” channels. With these new conceptions of engagement in mind, we are prepared to be more inclusive of all students in the next normal of higher education.

 

Telemedicine likely to change how we receive health care post-pandemic — from mlive.com by Justin Hicks

A patient sits in the living room of her apartment in New York City during a telemedicine video conference with a doctor. (Mark Lennihan/AP)AP

A patient sits in the living room of her apartment in New York City during a telemedicine video conference with a doctor. (Mark Lennihan/AP)AP

Excerpt:

As we look to the post-pandemic future, medical experts believe telemedicine will be here to stay as another option to increase access to care, reduce costs, and free up doctors to spend more time with patients who need in-person care.

“When I think about the pandemic, one thing that didn’t change about our lifestyles is people are busy,” Lopez said. “I think we’ll still see growth in overall visits because of the fact that people want access to care and when you lower the cost, it should go up.”

From DSC:
A friend of mine said that he is doing most of his practice now via the telehealth route (and has been for many months now). Then, recently, when I was at the lab, the knowledgeable woman who assisted me said that she thought virtual health was definitely going to stick. Many doctors and nurses will be using virtual means vs. physical visits she said.

Expectations get involved here — for education, for the legal field, and for other arenas.

 

The excerpt below is from The 7 best online whiteboards in 2021 — from zapier.com by Maria Myre

  • Miro for turning ideas into tasks
  • Stormboard for creating multiple whiteboards in a single brainstorming session
  • MURAL for remote, multi-member team meetings
  • Limnu for teaching students remotely
  • InVision Freehand for annotating design files with a team
  • Conceptboard for turning a brainstorming session into a formal presentation
  • Explain Everything for creating whiteboard videos

From DSC:
Other potentially-relevant tools/vendors here include:

Woman using the Cisco Webex Desk Pro

 
 

Free Resources to Help with Remote Learning in 2021 — from thejournal.com by Dian Schaffhauser

Excerpt:

As the pandemic continues wreaking havoc in education through the current school year, districts, schools, teachers and parents are being more selective about the technology they choose for instructing and engaging students. While hundreds of education companies, nonprofits and other organizations made their software and services free during the immediate switch to remote learning, many have become more thoughtful about how they help educators master online and blended instruction. We’ve winnowed through our original collection and sprinkled additions throughout, to bring you this updated set of free resources to help with remote learning in 2021.

 

Asynchronous Video Conversations: 11 Tips and Best Practices — from er.educause.edu by Rob Gibson

Excerpt (first 4 of 11):

1. Closely align video conversations with the stated module, course, and/or program learning objectives. Clearly indicate those alignments in the course outline.

2. Use the syllabus, an introductory course video, or a sample student video recording to prepare students in advance for this type of activity. Since many students will use their smartphones to record, provide information about best practices for creating quality video using a phone.

3. Some students are uncomfortable recording themselves. Depending on the product, consider offering alternatives such as an audio/mic-only mode, a text-only mode, or using a proxy image or avatar in the video.

4. Consider using threaded video conversations for course introductions to build a sense of humanizing the course. Michelle Pacansky-Brock supports the use of video conversations as an alternative to text. In her book How to Humanize Your Online Class with VoiceThread, she indicates that video tools maximize presence, a dimension of online connectivity to fellow students, the faculty, and the content. Research in her own courses found an increase from 25 percent to 75 percent in voluntary voice-video comments.Footnote5 This also helps form common goals and dispositions among students—dispositions are affective learning dimensions, such as motivation, attitude, persistence, empathy, and problem solving.Footnote6

 

 

Putting Your Best Self Forward: 6 Keys For Filming Quality Videos — from er.educause.edu by Jered Borup
The difference between a video that students watch and one that is ignored often comes down to a few, easily addressed factors.

Excerpt:

  • Key #1: Convey Your Voice—Is the audio clear, or is there background noise or reverberations in the room that distract from your message?
  • Key #2: Find the Light—Are you well lit with a light source in front of you, or are you backlit and/or have shadows on your face?
  • Key #3: Frame and Maintain Eye Contact—Are you about at arm’s length and eye level with the camera, or are you looking down or up at the camera?
  • Key #4: Stage—Do you have personal and/or interesting things in the background, or are you recording in front of a blank wall?
  • Key #5: Be Prepared and Natural—Are you speaking naturally in a way that conveys your interest in the topic, or do you sound somewhat robotic and/or scattered?
  • Key #6: Keep it Short—Is the video under six minutes?

This article is part of a series about incorporating asynchronous video into educational activities:

 

 

Teacher, Are You There? Being “Present” in Online Learning — from er.educause.edu by Richard West

Excerpt:

Video technologies are part of that shift in helping online learners feel connected to teachers and peers. This connection comes from people developing the sense that they are “present” in the class, even if they are not physically in the same room. How is it possible to be present when you are physically separated?

 

 

Managing In-Person and Distance Learning at the Same Time — from commonsense.org by Paul Barnwell

Excerpt:

As schools begin to reopen amid the changing pandemic, many classrooms will experience some form of hybrid instruction during the transition back to fully in-person learning. Along the way, schools and districts are embracing a variety of hybrid teaching and learning models. One particular model that can work for both students and teachers is known as hyflex instruction, but to be successful you’ll need to make room for some extra planning and consideration.

 

Learning from the Living [Class] Room: Adobe — via Behance — is already doing several pieces of this vision.

From DSC:
Talk about streams of content! Whew!

Streams of content

I received an email from Adobe that was entitled, “This week on Adobe Live: Graphic Design.”  (I subscribe to their Adobe Creative Cloud.) Inside the email, I saw and clicked on the following:

Below are some of the screenshots I took of this incredible service! Wow!

 

Adobe -- via Behance -- offers some serious streams of content

 

Adobe -- via Behance -- offers some serious streams of content

 

Adobe -- via Behance -- offers some serious streams of content

 

Adobe -- via Behance -- offers some serious streams of content

 

Adobe -- via Behance -- offers some serious streams of content

Adobe -- via Behance -- offers some serious streams of content

Adobe -- via Behance -- offers some serious streams of content

 


From DSC:
So Abobe — via Behance — is already doing several pieces of the “Learning from the Living [Class] Room” vision. I knew of Behance…but I didn’t realize the magnitude of what they’ve been working on and what they’re currently delivering. Very sharp indeed!

Churches are doing this as well — one device has the presenter/preacher on it (such as a larger “TV”), while a second device is used to communicate with each other in real-time.


 

 
© 2021 | Daniel Christian