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

 

Elevating Your Streaming Production Quality — from avnetwork.com by Cindy Davis

Excerpt:

The instructional studios started with a mobile standing desk, which serves as the command center for instruction. The desk has a room controller, document camera, and an interactive display with an adapter for laptop content sharing. Behind the desk is a whiteboard with a whiteboard camera. In front of the desk, we designed an AV cart that includes a shotgun mic pair, LED light panels, two large displays, one off-lens teleprompter, and PTZ camera.

The studios put the instructor in control of the meeting using a Zoom Rooms controller— allowing them to easily switch between and share multiple types of content simultaneously: main camera, document camera, laptop content, digital annotations, and whiteboard writing.

Picture of a mobile streaming studio's setup

 
 

What if we could create these kinds of calendars and/or apps for faculty and staff as well as for students? — idea from Daniel Christian. The vehicles could be developed as analog/physical formats or in digital formats and apps. In the digital realm, one could receive a daily notification.

For faculty/staff:

  • Teaching and learning tips; pedagogies (flipped learning, active learning, etc.); ideas that have worked well for others
  • Creative experiments to try (such as digital storytelling or with an emerging technology such as AR, MR, or VR)
  • Tips & tricks re: tools within the learning ecosystem of one’s organization
  • How to make digital content that’s accessible
  • Items re: bias, diversity, equity & inclusion
  • Dates to be aware of (for processes on one’s LMS/CMS as an example)
  • Notes of encouragement and/or humor
  • Links to key resources
  • Other

[The Corporate Training / L&D world could do this as well.] 

An example of what a front cover of a physical flip calendar could look like

An example of what a page might contain within a physical flip calendar

A calendar page that says Memory if the residue of thought.

Example calendar page that states when courses will be published on an LMS

For students

  • Studying tips
  • How to take courses online
  • How people learn
  • Resources, books, people to follow on Twitter, blogs and RSS feeds, etc.
  • Pictures of judges, legislative bodies, law offices, corporate HQs, other
  • Notes of encouragement
  • Ethics
  • Professionalism
  • Other
 

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:

 

2021 EDUCAUSE Horizon Report® | Teaching and Learning Edition

2021 EDUCAUSE Horizon Report® | Teaching and Learning Edition

 
This report profiles key trends and emerging technologies and practices shaping the future of teaching and learning and envisions a number of scenarios and implications for that future. It is based on the perspectives and expertise of a global panel of leaders from across the higher education landscape.

 

3 Tech Trends Shaping the Future of Post-Pandemic Teaching and Learning — from campustechnology.com by Rhea Kelly
The landscape of higher education has been transformed by COVID-19, and that impact is a major factor in the 2021 Educause Horizon Report. Here are three key technology trends to watch as the lasting effects of the pandemic play out.

Excerpt:

What’s in store for higher education’s post-pandemic future? The latest Educause Horizon Report has identified the trends, technologies and practices shaping teaching and learning in the wake of COVID-19. The potential lasting effects of the pandemic “loomed large” in the trend selection this year, the report stated, emphasizing that although it remains to be seen whether the transformations of the past year will persist into the future, “it isn’t hard to imagine that higher education may never be the same in some important ways (good or bad).”

In the realm of technology in particular, it’s clear that the pandemic-induced shift to remote learning has dominated the trend landscape. The top three technological trends identified by the report are…

From 2021 EDUCAUSE Horizon Report® | Teaching and Learning Edition

This image relays some of the key technologies and practices such as AI, blended learning, learning analystics, OER, and others

Also see:

Jessica Rowland Williams, director of Every Learner Everywhere, agreed. “The pandemic has given us the unique opportunity to pause and listen to each other, and we are beginning to discover all the ways our experiences overlap,” she said.

 

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?

 

From DSC:
I read an interesting article out at Inside Higher Ed from the other day:

Rejecting Remote Proctoring — from insidehighered.com by Elizabeth Redden
University of Michigan Dearborn made a universitywide decision to reject remote proctoring and invest in faculty development instead.

At the same time many other colleges were considering whether to employ the technologies, UM Dearborn’s leadership made the choice that eproctoring was unacceptably invasive, at least when it comes to students who hadn’t signed up for that kind of surveillance.

From DSC:
Lower stakes assessments offered with a greater variety of ways to check for mastery. That fits in with what I’m reading about re: the topic of Universal Design for Learning (UDL), which offers:

  • Multiple methods of engagement
  • Multiple methods of representation
  • Multiple methods of action & expression <– to demonstrate what they are learning

It also reduces anxiety — something that’s needed in this period of time.

 

Making VR a Reality in the Classroom — from er.educause.edu by Cat Flynn and Peter Frost
Faculty and staff at Southern New Hampshire University piloted virtual reality in an undergraduate psychology course to see if it can be an effective pedagogical tool.

Excerpt:

Meeting the Learning Needs of Gen Z and Beyond
While this study was conducted with current SNHU undergraduates, our team aimed to understand the implications of immersive learning for both today’s students and future learners.

Given Gen Z’s documented love for gaming and their desire for higher education to equip them with problem-solving and practical skills, VR provides a confluence of experiential learning and engagement.

From DSC:
Cost and COVID-19 are major issues here, but this is an interesting article nonetheless.

I think Virtual Reality (VR), Mixed Reality (MR), and Augmented Reality (AR) will play a significant role in the future of how we learn. It may take us some time to get there, but I believe that we will.

 

Penn students use digital platform Gather to imitate in-person office hours — from thedp.com 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.

 

 

Improving Digital Inclusion & Accessibility for Those With Learning Disabilities — from inclusionhub.com 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.

 

What If Students Didn’t Have to Leave Community Colleges to Earn Bachelor’s Degrees?
— from edsurge.com by Rebecca Koenig

Excerpt:

“The question I got most was, ‘When will Indian River offer baccalaureate-level programs?’” Massey says.

It’s a query fielded by community college leaders across the country. And over the past three decades, they’ve answered the call for increased access to bachelor’s-degree pathways by creating them on their own campuses. In fact, some community colleges in Florida have been offering bachelor’s programs for 20 years, and now nearly two dozen states permit so-called two-year colleges to offer four-year degrees.

And the pace of adoption is speeding up, with half a dozen states signing on since 2018, according to the Community College Baccalaureate Association.

 
© 2021 | Daniel Christian