Part I: How do I measure accessibility maturity and compliance? — from abilitynet.org.uk by Alistair McNaught

When you ask adults to recall their most memorable and enjoyable learning experiences it nearly always comes back to relationships – a fun teacher, an inspiring lecturer, a lively community. Such human interactions neatly illustrate the difference between maturity and compliance.

A “mature relationship” sounds a lot more attractive than a “compliant” one. Yet many institutions are offering compliance to disabled learners rather than mature relationships.

The lenses we use are:

  1. Main driver – Where is energy being expended and what is measured as success?
  2. Responsibility – Who are the actors. Do they have sufficient authority?
  3. Model of disability – Is the perception “users with issues” or “systems and content with barriers”?
  4. Focus of effort – Is accessibility a “task and finish” project or a long-term quality improvement?
  5. Skills and expertise – What is the focus of training? Who gets it? Is it considered important?
  6. Digital accessibility in policies – Digital accessibility is a vital equality issue. Is it visible in policies?
  7. Culture – Is the focus on minimising risk? Or maximising user experience? Does accessibility straitjacket online learning? Or encourage innovation and experimentation?
  8. User’s digital experience – How consistent is the user experience? How well designed?

Part II: Accessibility maturity in education — from abilitynet.org.uk by Alistair McNaught

Excerpt:

In this article we explore the “Drivers” lens. What is driving your change? The need to be compliant and tick off the boxes? Or a desire to be digitally inclusive, ensuring every student can be as confident, independent and productive as possible?

Part III: Broaden accessibility responsibility beyond learning teams — from abilitynet.org.uk by Alistair McNaught

Excerpt:

At the upper levels of maturity, the confidence and competence of a wide body of staff will mean the organisation moves beyond micromanagement of accessibility. Accessibility may be mandatory but a wide range of templates will be available. Even better, many staff will have enough understanding to create their own accessible content and courses without needing a template. At this level, the following lines of evidence will be available:

  • A senior sponsor will be responsible for digital accessibility across the organisation.
  • Any cross-organisation steering group will be hosted by senior staff, meeting regularly and evidencing positive outcomes.
  • Digital accessibility will be a standing item in self-assessment reviews or quality assurance processes, and appropriate training will be in place to make this meaningful (see the later lens in the final blog coming soon in the series, on skills and expertise!).
  • Students will be actively involved in accessibility developments.

Part IV: Coming soon.


Learn about the Accessibility Maturity Model for Higher and Further Education that AbilityNet and McNaught Consultancy have developed based on Alistair McNaught’s existing model. See here and here.

Some example snapshots:

A virtuous circle of digital accessibility -- positively impacts teaching and learningLenses for self-reflection -- 1 Lenses for self-reflection - 2 Lenses for self reflection - 3

 

109 New University Partnerships with OPMs, Bootcamps and Pathways in Q1 2021 — from holoniq.com
Universities around the world are accelerating their adoption of Academic Public-Private Partnerships.

Excerpt:

Based on the rate of partnership growth in Q1, 2021 may deliver over 400 new academic partnerships if growth continues at the same rate.


Based on the rate of partnership growth in Q1, 2021 may deliver over 400 new academic partnerships if growth continues at the same rate.


Other key points:

  • The US led the development and growth of the OPM model, now we are seeing an acceleration in adoption of OPM partnerships in international markets across Australia, Asia and Europe
  • Bootcamp Partnerships are powering Universities with immersive, short-format programs in technology and new domains in business. Expert curriculum, deep industry relationships and hiring pathways are driving very fast growth in campus-based and online programs.
  • We expect the Global OPX Market to grow at 19% CAGR, reaching $13.3B by 2025.
 

Education Research Is Still Too Dense. We Need More Teacher-Researcher Partnerships. — from edsurge.com by Kristin Simmers

Excerpts:

Many have spoken of the need for various “bridges” in educational research. Bridges linking theory to practice, lab to classroom, and perhaps the most problematic of all, transdisciplinary bridges allowing multiple fields of experts (education, psychology, cognitive science, neuroscience) to collaborate and communicate more effectively. With teachers. As in, the people who are actually tasked with actioning all of this advice!

We can do better. By inviting researchers to sit down with actual teachers to discuss real issues in real schools and co-create real solutions that we can adapt to a variety of circumstances.

Get to know reputable organizations that are linking research to practice, such as Deans for ImpactThe Learning ScientistsStudent Experience Research Network and The Learning Agency Lab

 

 

 

Faculty and Staff Often Don’t Trust One Another. How Do We Fix That? — from chronicle.com by Jenae Cohn
Three ways to bridge divisions as academe prepares for the post-pandemic era.

Excerpts:

One of the few welcome outcomes of Covid-19, and higher education’s rapid move to remote instruction, is that many faculty members are more aware than ever of who the staff members are and what we do.

As Lee Skallerup Bessette wrote in October, staff members — anyone working on a college campus who is not a professor or an administrator — have been on the front lines during the pandemic: “We are the face that faculty members see when they have questions, concerns, or struggles with the technology they have been asked to use. We are the face that students see when they have questions, concerns, or struggles related to distance learning or on-campus policies and procedures.”

Yet however much academics and administrators have been turning to us for help now, they still rarely involve and entrust staff members with campus decision-making around teaching, curriculum development, and research.

It behooves every college and university to consider what authentic collaboration between the staff and the faculty might look like. How? Here are three concrete steps in that direction.
.
Step 1: Offer incentives for faculty-staff partnerships.
Step 2: Rethink hierarchical traditions.
Step 3: Create shared experiences. 

From DSC:
Although I was an Adjunct Professor for over 5 years and have worked alongside faculty members for 20 years, the majority of my work and efforts have mainly been on the staff side of the house. So I appreciate The Chronicle hosting this article and I thank Jenae for writing it. It’s an important topic.

If traditional institutions of higher education are going to survive, there needs to be much broader governance, a much greater use of teams to create and deliver learning experiences, and a much stronger culture of innovating and experimenting with new ideas. At the end of the day, I think that the following two things will be the deciding factors on whether a particular institution survives, merges, shrinks, or closes its doors altogether:

  • The culture of a particular institution
  • Whether that institution has visionary leadership or not (and not just being data-driven…which comes up short again and again)

Also see:

 

From DSC:
One of my sisters sent this to me and it cracked me up!

Also see:

 

 

How to Design a Hybrid Workplace — from nytimes.com

Excerpt:

But many companies have hatched a postpandemic plan in which employees return to the office for some of the time while mixing in more work from home than before. The appeal of this compromise is clear: Employers hope to give employees the flexibility and focus that come from working at home without sacrificing the in-person connections of the office.

From DSC:
There has been — and likely will continue to be — huge pressure and incentives put on companies like Cisco, Zoom, Microsoft, and others that develop the products and platforms to help people collaborate and communicate over a distance. It will be very interesting to see where these (and other) vendors, products, and platforms are 2-3 years from now! How far will we be down the XR-related routes?

How will those new ways of doing things impact telehealth? Telelegal? Virtual courts? Other?

 

Penn students use digital platform Gather to imitate in-person office hours — from by Isaac Lee; with thanks to Professor Sue Ellen Christian for this resource

Excerpt:

As students yearn for in-person interaction and the familiarity of their school buildings, platforms like Gather are filling the void — virtually.

Gather, also known as Gather.town, simulates buildings and classrooms on campus where students, professors, and teaching assistants can interact with one another through personal avatars during office hours. Its main feature, “Interaction Distance,” launches a video call between users whose avatars are within five steps from each other in the virtual space. As the users’ avatars walk away from each other, their video and audio quality decrease, simulating an in-person interaction.

Also see:

Image shows how people can gather around at the office, in a conference room, at a university, other -- https://gather.town/

From DSC:
Now picture this in VR.

 

 

5 Ways to Marry Higher Ed to Work — from campustechnology.com by Dian Schaffhauser

Excerpts:

  1. Treat employers as customers.
  2. Move beyond the idea of the bachelor degree as the end-all.
  3. Link coursework with competences.
  4. Develop a “shared vocabulary of skills” that can be used by employers and peer institutions.
  5. Design for equity and inclusion.

From DSC:
It’s great to see more articles like this that promote further collaboration — and less siloing — between the worlds of higher education and the workplace.

My guess is that those traditional institutions of higher education who change/adapt quickly enough have a much greater chance at surviving (and even thriving). Those that don’t will have a very rough road ahead. They will be shadows of  what they once were — if they are even able to keep their doors open.

Disruption is likely ahead — especially if more doors to credentialing continue to open up and employers hire based on those skills/credentials. One can feel the changing momentums at play. The tide has been turning for the last several years now (history may show the seeds of change were planted in times that occurred much longer ago).

 

In 2019, 2 in 5 instructors had not consulted with an Instructional Designer in the last year -- from Educause

Also see:

EDUCAUSE QuickPoll Results: Assessment and Learning Design — by Mark McCormack

Excerpt:

Respondents expressed confidence that recent increases in faculty engagement with instructional design and technology will continue in future academic years, as will institutions’ adoption of hybrid/online education. Respondents are less confident that larger changes in institutional policy and practice will persist, and they do not anticipate that institutions will be investing in key instructional needs in the future. Increases in cross-department collaboration hold great promise for leaders seeking to engage faculty and make wider and more lasting strategic changes. Long-term success for new approaches to teaching and learning may rely at least in part on clear and consistent policies and practices across the institution, as well as a shift in institutional narrative from “short-term crisis mitigation” to “innovation for the future.”

 

How to Mitigate Accessibility & Digital Inclusion Obstacles for the d/Deaf Community — from inclusionhub.com by Christina Claus
To mitigate accessibility and digital inclusion obstacles for the d/Deaf and hard of hearing, developers must conduct critical research to understand these ongoing hurdles. This guide outlines the many challenges facing this community, shares useful insights, and provides meaningful inclusion solutions.

Excerpt:

Several commonly accepted characterizations include:

  • Deaf: When using the capital D, the individual conveys they communicate with sign language and have either been deaf since birth or shortly after.
  • deaf: The lowercase d is often utilized by those who do not identify as part of Deaf culture and typically become deaf later in life.
  • Hard of Hearing (HoH): Individuals who don’t experience total hearing loss or deafness often identify as hard of hearing.
  • Late-Deafened: This indicates the individual became deaf later in life.
  • Deaf-Blind: In addition to being deaf or hard of hearing, this individual also has a degree of vision loss.

These diversities can impact the individual’s ability to experience digital and online services. To create an inclusive experience for the entire community, developers must understand the obstacles each faces.

 

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.

 

Two items from faculty focus.com by Jenae Cohn, PhD, and Courtney Plotts, PhD:

  1. How to Structure Your Online Class for Inclusion, Part 1 
  2. How to Structure Your Online Class for Inclusion: Two Principles for Fostering Engagement, Part 2 

Excerpt:

A strong sense of community begins with faculty designing and planning for the sense of community in the course. In order to build a strong sense of community within an online course, instructors should start by identifying the type of community they want to create. In other words, what is the common thread that runs through an online course: Inquiry, information giving, information gathering, and/or active listening?

Although not intuitive to all instructors, this question surrounding the idea of a sense of community is imperative for creating cohesion and a sense of belonging to a learning environment. Here are some ways that instructors might start to think about what community might mean for their class context:

 

ARHT Media Inc.
Access The Power Of HoloPresence | Hologram Technology | Holographic Displays | Hologram Events

Excerpt:

ARHT Media mounted a holographic display at the event in Vancouver and had Sunlife’s executive captured and transmitted live as a hologram to the event from our Toronto studio. He was able to see the audience and interact with them in realtime as if he was attending the event and present in the room.

ARHT Media Inc. launches the Holopod | A holograph of the head of global sales appears on stage. Access The Power Of HoloPresence | Hologram Technology | Holographic Displays | Hologram Events

From DSC:

  • Will holographic displays change what we mean by web-based collaboration?
  • Will this be a part of the future learning ecosystems inside of higher education? Inside of the corporate training world? Inside the world of events and webinars?
  • How will this type of emerging technology impact our communications? Levels of engagement?
  • Will this type of thing impact telehealth? Telelegal?
  • How will this impact storytelling? Media? Drama/acting? Games?
  • Will the price come down to where online and blended learning will use this type of thing?
  • Will streams of content be offered by holographic displays?

 

 

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

 

Coursera’s IPO Filing Shows Growing Revenue and Loss During a Pandemic — from edsurge.com by Tony Wan

Excerpt:

Coursera reported $293.5 million in revenue in 2020, marking a 59 percent increase from the previous year. That comes from over 77 million registered learners, along with more than 2,000 businesses (including 25 percent of Fortune 500 companies) and 100 government agencies that paid for its enterprise offerings. More than half (51 percent) of its revenue came from outside the U.S.

Despite recording a revenue jump in 2020, Coursera posted a net loss of $66.8 million, up 43 percent from the previous year.

“We have experienced a significant increase in our operating costs associated with our services, primarily driven by our freemium offerings and marketing efforts” during the pandemic, the filing stated.

 
© 2021 | Daniel Christian