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.



 

The academic career is broken  — from chronicle.com by Hannah Leffingwell

Excerpt:

We are in the midst of a crisis in academe, to be sure, but it’s not an economic crisis. It’s a crisis of faith. The question is not just whether our institutions pay faculty fairly, but whether any wage is worth the subservience and sacrifice that modern higher ed requires. Too often, colleges perceive themselves as voluntary, meritocratic institutions dedicated to a “higher” moral purpose. Or, as one of the characters in Babel puts it: “The professors like to pretend that the tower is a refuge for pure knowledge, that it sits above the mundane concerns of business and commerce, but it does not.”

Have these strikes solved the central paradox of academe: a capitalist institution that claims it is above capitalism while exploiting students, faculty, and staff for financial gain? No, they have not.

It gives me no pleasure to say that the system I have dedicated my entire life to is broken — that it needs to be rebuilt from the ground up.

Also related to careers and higher education, see:

36% of higher ed supervisors are looking for other work, study finds — from highereddive.com by Laura Spitalniak

Excerpt:

Over a third of higher education supervisors, 36%, are likely to look for a new job in the next year, according to a new survey from the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources, CUPA-HR. And only 40% said they were interested in finding employment opportunities at their current institution.

 
 

From DSC:
Let’s put together a nationwide campaign that would provide a website — or a series of websites if an agreement can’t be reached amongst the individual states — about learning how to learn. In business, there’s a “direct-to-consumer” approach. Well, we could provide a “direct-to-learner” approach — from cradle to grave. Seeing as how everyone is now required to be a lifelong learner, such a campaign would have enormous benefits to all of the United States. This campaign would be located in airports, subway stations, train stations, on billboards along major highways, in libraries, and in many more locations.

We could focus on things such as:

  • Quizzing yourself / retrieval practice
  • Spaced retrieval
  • Interleaving
  • Elaboration
  • Chunking
  • Cognitive load
  • Learning by doing (active learning)
  • Journaling
  • The growth mindset
  • Metacognition (thinking about one’s thinking)
  • Highlighting doesn’t equal learning
  • There is deeper learning in the struggle
  • …and more.

A learn how to learn campaign covering airports, billboards, subways, train stations, highways, and more

 

A learn how to learn campaign covering airports, billboards, subways, train stations, highways, and more

 

A learn how to learn campaign covering airports, billboards, subways, train stations, highways, and more

 

A learn how to learn campaign covering airports, billboards, subways, train stations, highways, and more


NOTE:
The URL I’m using above doesn’t exist, at least not at the time of this posting.
But I’m proposing that it should exist.


A group of institutions, organizations, and individuals could contribute to this. For example The Learning Scientists, Daniel Willingham, Donald Clark, James Lang, Derek Bruff, The Learning Agency Lab, Robert Talbert, Pooja Agarwal and Patrice Bain, Eva Keffenheim, Benedict Carey, Ken Bain, and many others.

Perhaps there could be:

  • discussion forums to provide for social interaction/learning
  • scheduled/upcoming webinars
  • how to apply the latest evidence-based research in the classroom
  • link(s) to learning-related platforms and/or resources
 

Some example components of a learning ecosystem [Christian]

A learning ecosystem is composed of people, tools, technologies, content, processes, culture, strategies, and any other resource that helps one learn. Learning ecosystems can be at an individual level as well as at an organizational level.

Some example components:

  • Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) such as faculty, staff, teachers, trainers, parents, coaches, directors, and others
  • Fellow employees
  • L&D/Training professionals
  • Managers
  • Instructional Designers
  • Librarians
  • Consultants
  • Types of learning
    • Active learning
    • Adult learning
    • PreK-12 education
    • Training/corporate learning
    • Vocational learning
    • Experiential learning
    • Competency-based learning
    • Self-directed learning (i.e., heutagogy)
    • Mobile learning
    • Online learning
    • Face-to-face-based learning
    • Hybrid/blended learning
    • Hyflex-based learning
    • Game-based learning
    • XR-based learning (AR, MR, and VR)
    • Informal learning
    • Formal learning
    • Lifelong learning
    • Microlearning
    • Personalized/customized learning
    • Play-based learning
  • Cloud-based learning apps
  • Coaching & mentoring
  • Peer feedback
  • Job aids/performance tools and other on-demand content
  • Websites
  • Conferences
  • Professional development
  • Professional organizations
  • Social networking
  • Social media – Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook/Meta, other
  • Communities of practice
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) — including ChatGPT, learning agents, learner profiles, 
  • LMS/CMS/Learning Experience Platforms
  • Tutorials
  • Videos — including on YouTube, Vimeo, other
  • Job-aids
  • E-learning-based resources
  • Books, digital textbooks, journals, and manuals
  • Enterprise social networks/tools
  • RSS feeds and blogging
  • Podcasts/vodcasts
  • Videoconferencing/audio-conferencing/virtual meetings
  • Capturing and sharing content
  • Tagging/rating/curating content
  • Decision support tools
  • Getting feedback
  • Webinars
  • In-person workshops
  • Discussion boards/forums
  • Chat/IM
  • VOIP
  • Online-based resources (periodicals, journals, magazines, newspapers, and others)
  • Learning spaces
  • Learning hubs
  • Learning preferences
  • Learning theories
  • Microschools
  • MOOCs
  • Open courseware
  • Portals
  • Wikis
  • Wikipedia
  • Slideshare
  • TED talks
  • …and many more components.

These people, tools, technologies, etc. are constantly morphing — as well as coming and going in and out of our lives.

 

 

Top edtech trends in 2023 and the ASU example — from news.asu.edu

Excerpt:

In spite of our tendency to break things down into tidy time frames, like a new year or academic semester, change constantly turns over the status quo. Especially in the world of technology, where disruptive innovation may evolve rapidly from the fringe to the mainstream.

“At ASU’s Enterprise Technology, we work in spaces where technology is not just revolutionizing higher education, but the world at large,” said Lev Gonick, chief information officer at Arizona State University. “We strive to be proactive, not reactive, to new paradigms changing the ways in which we work, learn and thrive.”

As referenced by the above article:

Thus, the top higher education technology trends to watch out for in 2023 include Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), Digital Twins, the Metaverse (including digital avatars and NFT art for use in the Metaverse and other Web3-based virtual environments), Internet of Things (IoT), Blockchain, Cloud, Gamification, and Chatbots. These technologies will support the expansion of the Digital Transformation of higher education going forward.

Also relevant/see:

 

 

Microsoft Plans to Build OpenAI, ChatGPT Features Into All Products — from wsj.com by Sam Schechner (behind paywall)
Offering for businesses and end users to be transformed by incorporating tools like ChatGPT, CEO Satya Nadella says

Excerpt:

DAVOS, Switzerland—Microsoft Corp. MSFT 2.86%increase; green up pointing triangle plans to incorporate artificial-intelligence tools like ChatGPT into all of its products and make them available as platforms for other businesses to build on, Chief Executive Satya Nadella said.

It’s a matter of time before the LMSs like Canvas and Anthology do the same. Really going to change the complexion of online learning.

Jared Stein; via Robert Gibson on LinkedIn

Also relevant/see:

Donald Clark’s thoughts out on LinkedIn re: Google and AI

Excerpt:

Microsoft are holding a lot of great cards in the AI game, especially ChatGPT-3, but Google also have a great hand, in fact they have a bird in the hand:

Sparrow, from Deepmind, is likely to launch soon. Their aim is to trump ChatGTP by having a chatbot that is more useful and reduces the risk of unsafe and inappropriate answers. In the released paper, they also indicate that it will have moral constraints. Smart move.

Hassabis has promised some sort of release in 2023. Their goal is to reduce wrong and invented information by linking it to Google Search and Scholar for citations.

Donald Clark’s thought re: Apple’s strategy for AI — from donaldclarkplanb.blogspot.com

Wonder Tools:7 ways to Use ChatGPT — from wondertools.substack.com by Jeremy Caplan

Excerpt:

4 recommended ChatGPT resources

  • The Art of ChatGPT PromptingA Guide to Crafting Clear and Effective Prompts.
    This free e-book acts a useful guide for beginners.
  • Collection of ChatGPT Resources
    Use ChatGPT in Google Docs, WhatsApp, as a desktop app, with your voice, or in other ways with this running list of tools.
  • Awesome ChatGPT prompts
    Dozens of clever pre-written prompts you can use to initiate your own conversations with ChatGPT to get it to reply as a fallacy finder or a journal reviewer or whatever else.
  • Writing for Renegades – Co-writing with AI
    This free 17-page resource has writing exercises you can try with ChatGPT. It also includes interesting nuggets, like Wycliffe A. Hill’s 1936 attempt at writing automation, Plot Genie.

 


We often see the battle between technology and humans as a zero-sum game. And that’s how much of the discussion about ChatGPT is being framed now. Like many others who have been experimenting with ChatGPT in recent weeks, I find that a lot of the output depends on the input. In other words, the better the human question, the better the ChatGPT answer.

So instead of seeing ourselves competing with technology, we should find ways to complement it and view ChatGPT as a tool that assists us in collecting information and in writing drafts.

If we reframe the threat, think about how much time can be freed up to read, to think, to write?

As many have noted, including Michael Horn on the Class Disrupted podcast he co-hosts, ChatGPT is to writing what calculators were once to math and other STEM disciplines. 

Jeff Selingo: ‘The Calculator’ for a New Generation?

 


GPT in Higher Education — from insidehighered.com by Ray Schroeder
ChatGPT has caught our attention in higher education. What will it mean in 2023?

Excerpt:

Founder and CEO at Moodle Martin Dougiamas writes in Open Ed Tech that as educators, we must recognize that artificial general intelligence will become ubiquitous. “In short, we need to embrace that AI is going to be a huge part of our lives when creating anything. There is no gain in banning it or avoiding it. It’s actually easier (and better) to use this moment to restructure our education processes to be useful and appropriate in today’s environment (which is full of opportunities).”

Who, at your institution, is examining the impact of AI, and in particular GPT, upon the curriculum? Are instructional designers working with instructors in revising syllabi and embedding AI applications into the course offerings? What can you do to ensure that your university is preparing learners for the future rather than the past?

Ray Schroeder

ChatGPT Advice Academics Can Use Now — from insidehighered.com by Susan D’Agostino
To harness the potential and avert the risks of OpenAI’s new chat bot, academics should think a few years out, invite students into the conversation and—most of all—experiment, not panic. 

Alarmed by AI Chatbots, Universities Start Revamping How They Teach — from The New York Times (out at Yahoo) by Kalley Huang

Excerpt:

At schools including George Washington University in Washington, D.C., Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, professors are phasing out take-home, open-book assignments — which became a dominant method of assessment in the pandemic but now seem vulnerable to chatbots. They are instead opting for in-class assignments, handwritten papers, group work and oral exams.

Gone are prompts like “write five pages about this or that.” Some professors are instead crafting questions that they hope will be too clever for chatbots and asking students to write about their own lives and current events.

With ChatGPT, Teachers Can Plan Lessons, Write Emails, and More. What’s the Catch? — from edweek.org by Madeline Will  (behind paywall)

Why Banning ChatGPT in Class Is a Mistake — from campustechnology.com by Thomas Mennella
Artificial intelligence can be a valuable learning tool, if used in the right context. Here are ways to embrace ChatGPT and encourage students to think critically about the content it produces.

.


Let the Lawsuits Against Generative AI Begin! — from legallydisrupted.com by Zach Abramowitz
Getty Sues Stability AI as Lawsuits Mount Against GenAI Companies

Excerpt:

Well, it was bound to happen. Anytime you have a phenomenon as disruptive as generative AI, you can expect lawsuits.

Case in point: the lawsuit recently filed by Getty Images against Stability AI, highlighting the ongoing legal challenges posed by the use of AI in the creative industries. But it’s not the only lawsuit recently filed, see e.g. Now artists sue AI image generation tools Stable Diffusion, Midjourney over copyright | Technology News, The Indian Express


.

 

College Guide for Students with Disabilities and Their Parents — from ivypanda.com; with thanks to Yvonne McQuarrie for this resource

Excerpt:

According to recent statistics, 18% of undergraduate and 12% of graduate students have temporary, relapsing, or long-term disabilities. Students might have noticeable disabilities, but many disorders are “hidden.” Luckily, modern colleges have many resources that allow people with disabilities to attend classes and thrive in their academic life. This guide will focus on the advice that can help students with disabilities successfully navigate their higher education.

 

A New Generation Of Mastery-Based Learning Platforms Has Arrived — from joshbersin.com by Josh Bersin

Excerpt:

The $330 billion corporate training market is enormous, fragmented, and complex. For years it was dominated by Learning Management Systems (LMS) and content providers, each pioneered in the early 2000s. These systems served well, but the needs of employees and organizations moved ahead.

Today companies want not only a place to find and administer learning, they want a “Learning Platform” that creates mastery. And this market, that of “Learning Delivery Platforms,” is far more complex than you think. Let me put it straight: video-based chapter by chapter courses don’t teach you much. Companies want a solution that is expert-led, engaging, includes assignments and coaching, and connects employees to experts and peers.

Well there’s a new breed of platforms focused in this area, and I call them Capability Academy systems.

These are platforms explicitly to bring together expert teachers, AI-enabled collaboration, assignments, and coaching to drive mastery. They can train thousands of people in small cohorts, offering hands-on support for technical or PowerSkills topics. And the results are striking: these vendors achieve 90% completion rates and netPromoter scores above 60 (far above traditional content libraries).

6 Ed Tech Tools to Try in 2023 — from cultofpedagogy.com by Jennifer Gonzalez

Excerpt:

The guide is packed with tools that can meet so many of your needs as a teacher, and many of them are already well established and widely used. But every January, we like to choose six that we think deserve a little extra attention. Most are not actually brand-new to the world, but each one has something special about it. So here we go!

6 Google Scholar Tips From Its Co-Creator — from techlearning.com by Erik Ofgang
Google Scholar can be a great tool for teachers and their students. Here’s how to get the most out of it.

Excerpt:

Anurag Acharya co-created Google Scholar in 2004. The Google engineer and former professor of computer science at the University of California at Santa Barbara was inspired to create the free search tool after being frustrated by being unable to access research articles as a student at the Kharagpur campus of the Indian Institute of Technology.

Today, Acharya is head of Google Scholar and an authority on how the scholarly search engine can best be used by teachers and their students. He offers these tips and best practices for teachers to use and share with their students.

Instructional Designer: Tools of the Trade Webinar 3/8 (from Teaching: A Path to L&D) and tools of the trade

Teaching: A Path to L&D aims to provide free guidance to teachers looking to move into the world of Learning and Development, specifically Instructional Design. Check out our website at www.teachlearndev.org for free coaching, webinars, and resources to help you on your journey!

 

14 Technology Predictions for Higher Education in 2023 — from campustechnology.com by Rhea Kelly
How will technologies and practices like artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, digital transformation, and change management impact colleges and universities this year? Here’s what the experts told us.

Excerpt:

In an open call on LinkedIn, we asked higher education and ed tech industry leaders to forecast the most important trends to watch in the coming year. Their responses reflect both the challenges on the horizon — persistent cyber attacks, the disruptive force of emerging technologies, failures in project management — as well as the opportunities that technology brings to better serve students and support the institutional mission. Here are 14 predictions to help steer your technology efforts in 2023.

 

Shared Course Preparation Checklist — from facultyecommons.com

Excerpt:

Utilizing the same master shell between multiple faculty is a great way to ensure students have the same experience regardless of who is facilitating the course. When developing and facilitating the course, you may want to consider the following areas within the course design and adjust elements to meet your personal preferences. You’ll want to review the following pages of the course and ensure the elements are tailored to meet your expectations and needs.

Rubric for Quality Course Videos — from facultyecommons.com

Excerpt:

Are you concerned about the quality of your recorded videos for your online courses? The Course Video Scoring Rubric below provides you with additional guidance on how to improve the quality of your online course multimedia content.

The rubric is divided into four criteria: Content, Audio, Visuals (Camera), and Visuals (Screen Capture). Each of those criteria contain multiple standards for which you can review your existing content. These specific standards are graded on a scale of 0-2 points, for a total of 26 points.

Download the Video Scoring Rubric to begin analyzing the video content in your courses! For more information on creating quality video in your online course, check out our on-demand webinar Recording Video for Your Online Course.

15 Insights From Learning Science That Help You Master New Things Faster — from medium.com by Eva Keiffenheim

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Learning how to learn is the meta-skill that accelerates everything else you do.

Once you understand the fundamentals of learning science, you can save hours every time you learn something new. You become more strategic in approaching new subjects and skills instead of relying on often ineffective learning methods many pick up in school.

Below are key insights I’ve learned about how we learn. Every single one will help you understand how your brain learns. By doing so, you’ll make better decisions on your journey to wisdom.

How Instructors Are Adapting to a Rise in Student Disengagement — from edsurge.com by Jeffrey R. Young

Excerpt:

SAN MARCOS, Texas — Live lecture classes are back at most colleges after COVID-19 disruptions, but student engagement often hasn’t returned to normal.

In the past year, colleges have seen a rise in students skipping lectures, and some reports indicate that students are more prone to staring at TikTok or other distractions on their smartphones and laptops during lecture class.

To see what teaching is like on campus these days, I visited Texas State University in October and sat in on three large lecture classes in different subjects.

ChatGPT Advice Academics Can Use Now — from insidehighered.com by Susan D’Agostino
To harness the potential and avert the risks of OpenAI’s new chat bot, academics should think a few years out, invite students into the conversation and—most of all—experiment, not panic.

Excerpt:

Faculty members and administrators are now reckoning in real time with how—not if—ChatGPT will impact teaching and learning. Inside Higher Ed caught up with 11 academics to ask how to harness the potential and avert the risks of this game-changing technology. The following edited, condensed advice suggests that higher ed professionals should think a few years out, invite students into the conversation and—most of all—experiment, not panic.

Next, consider the tools relative to your course. What are the cognitive tasks students need to perform without AI assistance? When should students rely on AI assistance? Where can an AI aid facilitate a better outcome? Are there efficiencies in grading that can be gained? Are new rubrics and assignment descriptions needed? Will you add an AI writing code of conduct to your syllabus? Do these changes require structural shifts in timetabling, class size or number of teaching assistants?

From DSC:
Faculty members, librarians, academic support staff, instructional designers, and more are going to have to be given some time to maneuver through this new environment. Don’t expect them to instantly have answers. No one does. Or rather, let me say, no one should claim that they have all of the answers. 

 

What factors help active learning classrooms succeed? — from rtalbert.org Robert Talbert

Excerpt:

The idea that the space in which you do something, affects the thing you do is the basic premise behind active learning classrooms (ALCs).

The biggest message I get from this study is that in order to have success with active learning classrooms, you can’t just build them — they have to be introduced as part of an ecosystem that touches almost all parts of the daily function of a university: faculty teaching, faculty development and support, facilities, and the Registrar’s Office to name a few. Without that ecosystem before you build an ALC, it seems hard to have success with students after it’s built. You’re more likely to have an expensive showcase that looks good but ultimately does not fulfill its main purpose: Promoting and amplifying active learning, and moving the culture of a campus toward active engagement in the classroom.

From DSC:
Thank you Robert for your article/posting here! And thank you for being one of the few faculty members who:

  • Regularly share information out on LinkedIn, Twitter, and your blog (something that is all too rare for faculty members throughout higher education)
  • Took a sabbatical to go work at a company that designs and develops numerous options for implementing active learning setups throughout the worlds of higher education, K12 education, and the corporate world as well. You are taking your skills to help contribute to the corporate world, while learning things out in the corporate world, and then  taking these learnings back into the world of higher education.

This presupposes something controversial: That the institution will take a stand on the issue that there is a preferred way to teach, namely active learning, and that the institution will be moving toward making active learning the default pedagogy at the institution. Putting this stake in the ground, and then investing not only in facilities but in professional development and faculty incentives to make it happen, again calls for vigorous, sustained leadership — at the top, and especially by the teaching/learning center director.

Robert Talbert


 

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.

 
 
© 2022 | Daniel Christian