6 Free Tools for Evaluating Web Accessibility — from boia.org

Excerpt:

Can you evaluate your website’s accessibility on your own?

Not necessarily. To ensure conformance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), you’ll need to test your content regularly by using both manual and automated tools. Ideally, manual tests should be performed by human testers who have disabilities.

However, as you learn about the concepts of WCAG, you can use free tools to test your website for common barriers. If you’re a web designer or developer, online tools can be a vital resource as you incorporate the best practices of inclusive design.

Below, we’ll discuss six free tools that can help you make better design decisions.

 

A new path to higher education that begins on YouTube! — from blog.youtube by Katie Kurtz, Managing Director, Global Head of Learning

Excerpt:

We’ve partnered with Arizona State University (ASU) and Crash Course to create Study Hall, a new approach that demystifies the college process while creating an affordable and accessible onramp to earning college credit.

Also relevant/see:

YouTube Launches Video Program Creating a Pathway to Real College Credits — from by Joan E. Solsman
Using YouTube videos as a launchpad to Arizona State University virtual courses, people can work toward first-year college credit with little upfront cost.

YouTube unveils new program that enables students to earn college credits — from techcrunch.com by Aisha Malik

The program is expected to expand to 12 available courses by January 2025 to give students a chance to receive credit for an entire first year of college. There is a $25 fee if a student elects to sign up and begin coursework, and a $400 fee to receive college credit for each course.



 

Infinite AI Interns for Everybody — from wired.com by Matt Clifford; via Sam DeBrule
These assistants won’t just ease the workload, they’ll unleash a wave of entrepreneurship.

Excerpt:

Excitingly, though, there’s also a new generation of startups that are demonstrating that you don’t need a billion-dollar budget to get to the cutting edge of AI. Take Midjourney or Stability AI, applications which produce results that rival DALL-E, or Causaly (disclosure: I’m an investor), which allows scientists to find new causal relationships in life sciences with natural language questions. Then there is a growing list of new AI startups with impressive backers and more general ambitions, like Anthropic (an AI safety and research firm), Conjecture (which seeks to keep damaging factors such as racial bias out of AI), and Keen Technologies, which was founded by computer science legend John Carmack.

Just as the advent of the internet gave every startup a vastly scalable distribution engine, the era of AI superpowers will give every startup a vastly scalable production engine. 

 

How ChatGPT3 Impacts the Future of L&D in an AI World — from learningguild.com by Markus Bernhardt and Clark Quinn

Excerpt:

Recent advances in artificial intelligence (AI) are promising great things for learning. The potential here is impressive, but there also exist many questions and insecurities around deploying AI technology for learning: What can AI do? Where is it best utilized? What are the limits? And particularly: What does that leave for the instructional designer and other human roles in learning, such as coaching and training?

We want to suggest that these developments are for the benefit of everyone—from organizational development strategy devised in the C-suite, via content creation/curation by instructional designers, right through to the learners, as well as coaches and trainers who work with the learners.

Also somewhat relevant/see:

 

Job Titles: It’s Not Only Instructional Design — from idolcourses.com by Ivett Csordas

Excerpt:

When I first came across the title “Instructional Designer” while looking for alternative career options, I was just as confused as anybody would be hearing about our job for the first time. I remember asking questions like: What does an Instructional Designer do? Why is it called Instructional Design? Wouldn’t a title such as Learning Experience Designer or Training Content Developer suit them better? How are their skill sets different from curriculum developers like teachers’? etc.

Then, the more I learnt about the different roles of Instructional Designers, and the more job interviews I had, ironically, the less clarity I had over the companies’ expectations of us.

The truth is that the role of an Instructional Designer varies from company to company. What a person hired with the title “Instructional Designer” ends up doing depends on a range of factors such as the company’s training portfolio, the profile of their learners, the size of the L&D team, the way they use technology, just to mention a few.

From DSC:
I don’t know a thing about idolcourses.com, but I really appreciated running across this posting by Ivett Csordas about the various job titles out there and the differences between some of these job titles. The posting deals with job titles associated with developers, designers, LXD, LMS roles, managers, L&D Coordinators, specialists, consultants, and strategists.

 

 

Speaking of L&D-related items, also see:

Does Your L&D Team Need More T’s? — from learningguild.com by Pamela Hogle and Barry Nadler

Excerpt:

An idea that was used internally at McKinsey and Company as far back as the 1980s, the concept of a T-shaped skills profile (Figure 1) features:

  • A horizontal bar — the broad skill set comprising interpersonal, functional, and industry-specific skills
  • A vertical bar — in-depth, specialized knowledge in areas related to the employee’s field, specific role, and individual interests, focus topics, or experience
    .

Figure 1: T-shaped skills profile (Illustration by Pamela Hogle)

 

Unlocking the Secrets of Online Peer Learning — from learningguild.com by Kelly Palmer

Excerpt:

By experimenting with online, cohort-based learning programs, we learned that peer learning is one of the most effective ways to broaden horizons. People can share real-world challenges or questions that arise during the work week and get a range of advice and tactics from their peers.

Peer learning gives a way to make learning stick by encouraging people to discuss ideas, explain themselves, actively listen to others, and refine their thinking.

 

It takes a village — from chieflearningofficer.com by Joe Mitchell
Colleges, companies and training providers have a unique opportunity to work together to address tech worker shortages and create more opportunities and upward mobility.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

But what higher education institutions and companies need isn’t a totally new approach that ignores the old systems — it’s someone to act as connective tissue between them. Fortunately, an emerging cadre of education providers are doing just that: developing the curriculum to help students earn industry-recognized credentials that can help them get good jobs right away in high-demand fields, and then working with universities to get that curriculum to their students.

The environment seems ripe for this type of collaboration.2020 survey of business leaders found that 70 percent think higher education institutions should be more involved in job training. Nearly 90 percent say colleges and universities could help their students learn industry-specific knowledge and advanced technical skills.

 

Digital Trends’ Tech For Change CES 2023 Awards — from digitaltrends.com by Drew Prindle

Excerpt:

CES is more than just a neon-drenched show-and-tell session for the world’s biggest tech manufacturers. More and more, it’s also a place where companies showcase innovations that could truly make the world a better place — and at CES 2023, this type of tech was on full display. We saw everything from accessibility-minded PS5 controllers to pedal-powered smart desks. But of all the amazing innovations on display this year, these three impressed us the most…

Samsung's Relumino Mode helps those with low vision

Also relevant/see:

 

Five Ways to Strengthen the Employee-Employer Relationship in 2023 — from sloanreview.mit.edu by Ally MacDonald; with thanks to Roberto Ferraro for this resource
Organizational experts offer insights on how to make meaningful changes to engage employees in the coming year.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Before 2020, the structure of jobs evolved sluggishly and unimaginatively, despite evidence that traditional ways of working often harmed employee well-being. The past two years have provided leaders with an opportunity to rethink how their employees work. Those seizing this chance are applying an R&D mindset to how jobs are designed, with the goal of structuring work in ways that allow their employees to thrive while on the job and in their nonwork lives as well. It is these forward-thinking leaders who will make 2023 the most innovative year ever when it comes to how people work.

From DSC:
I like the idea of an R&D mindset. Very nice.

 
 

From DSC:
Check out the items below. As with most technologies, there are likely going to be plusses & minuses regarding the use of AI in digital video, communications, arts, and music.



Also see:


Also somewhat relevant, see:

 

The Work-From-Anywhere War Is Beginning — from wired.com by Bruce Daisley
Forget return-to-office mandates. The most sought-after talent want ultimate flexibility. Their bosses need to get on board.

Excerpt:

Who calls the shots on how many days you end up working in the office? It has gradually dawned on bosses that it isn’t them. The real power holders? The elusive “top talent” that every firm is trying to attract.

Top talent doesn’t just want hybrid work, they want to work from wherever they want. “There are two kinds of companies,” Choudhury explains. “One is going to embrace work-from-anywhere, and the second is in denial—I feel those companies will lose their workforce.” He argues that the “companies that are trying to drag back time will lose some of their best talent, and that dynamic will force these companies to catch up.”

 

 

What Can We Learn from Barnes & Noble’s Surprising Turnaround? — from tedgioia.substack.com by Ted Gioia
Digital platforms are struggling, meanwhile a 136-year-old book retailer is growing again. But why?

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

Daunt refused to play this game. He wanted to put the best books in the window. He wanted to display the most exciting books by the front door. Even more amazing, he let the people working in the stores make these decisions.

This is James Daunt’s super power: He loves books.

But I almost hate to say it, because the lesson is so simple.

If you want to sell music, you must love those songs. If you want to succeed in journalism, you must love those newspapers. If you want to succeed in movies, you must love the cinema.

But this kind of love is rare nowadays. I often see record labels promote new artists for all sorts of gimmicky reasons—even labels I once trusted such as Deutsche Grammophon or Concord. I’ve come to doubt whether the people in charge really love the music.

 

From DSC:
Our son recently took a 3-day intensive course on the Business of Acting. It was offered by the folks at “My College Audition” — and importantly, the course was not offered by the university where he is currently working on a BFA in Acting. By the way, aspiring performing arts students may find this site very beneficial/helpful as well. (Example blog posting here.)

mycollegeaudition.com/

The course was actually three hours of learning on a Sunday night, a Monday night, and a Tuesday night from 6-9pm.

The business of acting -- a 3-day virtual intensive course from mycollegeaudition.com

He learned things that he mentioned have not been taught in his undergrad program (at least not so far). When I asked him what he liked most about the course, he said:

  • These people are out there doing this (DSC insert: To me, this sounds like the use of adjunct faculty in higher ed)
  • There were 9 speakers in the 9 hours of classtime
  • They relayed plenty of resources that were very helpful and practical. He’s looking forward to pursuing these leads further.

He didn’t like that there were no discussion avenues/forums available. And as a paying parent, I didn’t like that we had to pay for yet another course and content that he wasn’t getting at his university. It may be that the university that he’s studying at will offer such a course later in the curriculum. But after two years of college experience, he hasn’t come across anything this practical and he is eagerly seeking out this type of practical/future-focused information. In fact, it’s critical to him staying with acting…or not. He needs this information sooner in his program.

It made me reflect on the place of adjunct faculty within higher education — folks who are out there “doing” what they are teaching about. They tend to be more up-to-date in their real-world knowledge. Sabbaticals are helpful in this regard for full-time faculty, but they don’t come around nearly enough to keep one’s practical, career-oriented knowledgebase up-to-date.

Again, this dilemma is to be expected, given our current higher education learning ecosystem. Faculties’ plates are full. They don’t have time to pursue this kind of endeavor in addition to their daily responsibilities. Staff aren’t able to be out there “doing” these things either.

This brings me back to design thinking. We’ve got to come up with better ways of offering student-centered education, programming, and content/resources.

My son walked away shaking his head a bit regarding his current university. At a time when students and families are questioning the return on their investments in traditional institutions of higher education, this issue needs to be taken very seriously. 


Also potentially relevant for some of the performing arts students out there:


 
© 2022 | Daniel Christian