Implementing the principles of universal design in online learning means anticipating the diversity of students that may enroll in your course and planning accordingly. These ten key elements will greatly enhance the accessibility and usability of your course for students with and without disabilities.
Click on the link for instructions for each step!
Source: http://ualr.edu/pace/tenstepsud/ Retrieved January 3, 2013
Table of Contents
Step 1: Develop content first, then design.
Step 2: Provide simple, consistent navigation.
Step 3: Include an accommodation statement.
Step 4: Choose CMS tools carefully.
Step 5: Model and teach good discussion board etiquette.
Step 6: Use color with care.
Step 7: Provide accessible document formats.
Step 8: Choose fonts carefully.
Step 9: Convert PowerPoint™ to accessible HTML.
Step 10: If it’s auditory make it visual; if it is visual make it auditory.
Some of these Steps (9, 10) might require some technical assistance. Be sure to contact your Instructional Technologist if you need assistance!
Brian Gould (Health Sciences)
Andrew Connery (Engineering and Business)
Jeffrey Rankine replacing Nadine Ogborne (Interdisciplinary Studies)
For students requiring adaptive technology, be sure to contact Accessible Learning Services. The case manager will be listed on the student’s Confidential Academic Accommodation Plan (CAAP).
January 11th, 2013
Welcome back and happy 2013!
On December 11th, The Centre for Teaching and Learning (A227) was at capacity and buzzing with excitement after Dr. Joe Kim’s talk and the opportunity to learn about important projects underway to assist faculty with its commitment to provide high-quality teaching and learning resources and experiences at Mohawk. Relive or experience it for the first time here.
Our next Inspiring Minds (Reading Week 2013 – stay tuned for specifics!) will delve more deeply into Dr. Kim’s reinforcement of CTL practices. This next build toward Mohawk’s community of practice will provide discussions, tips, and examples to put three, quick wins into play:
- “Implement repeated testing with feedback through eLearn@Mohawk
- Refresh current presentation materials to enhance learning – online or f2f
- Take advantage of high-quality online resources freely available or develop your own online learning content with tools like lecture capture”.
If you don’t want to wait for Inspiring Minds, as always, Mohawk provides resources, ideas, and assistance for you! Connect with your Centre for Teaching and Learning for your course “quick wins” today.
January 11th, 2013
By Maryellen Weimer
Faculty Focus, Dec 10, 2012
From “the newsletter devoted to the art and science of better teaching”
Figuring out final grades feels like closure. It’s the last time we think carefully about each student we’ve had in this set of classes. Some of them have done so well, and if they are students we’ve had in multiple courses, we feel such satisfaction as we watch what they are becoming. They make teaching worth the work. But then there are other students—the ones who failed because it just wasn’t the time in their lives to learn this content, the ones who didn’t have the skills they needed to make it, and the ones who passed the course but never connected with the content, the teacher, and sometimes, not even with their classmates. These are the students who some days make us wonder why we even bother.
With courses ending so definitively, it’s easy to think that whatever impact you or the course might have on students is over. But learning doesn’t always end when the course does. Some insights and understandings are iterative and cumulative. Students arrive at them after repeated exposure, as the evidence mounts and their skills and experiences deepen. Other intellectual development happens when students are finally ready to learn. Most of us can recall one of those serendipitous student encounters in the mall. “Dr. Weimer, Dr. Weimer, do you remember me?” Sometimes I want to say, “How could I forget? You have a prominent place on my failures list.” Occasionally, one of those students hands me a gift. “I didn’t learn much in your course, but I didn’t sell the book back and just recently I read it. And as I was reading it, I remembered all sorts of things you said in class.” Perhaps I can cross that student off my failures list.
Some students can be very hard to read. It isn’t always easy to determine what effect the course is having, or will have. Recently, while out shopping, I ran into a former student whom I didn’t recognize at all. “You don’t remember me, do you?” she asked. I looked more closely. “No, I don’t.” “I was in your speech class at Berks,” she explained. “Oh, that could be,” I said. “What’s your name?” She told me and that didn’t trigger any recollection. Then she said, “I learned three things in your course that I use pretty much every day.” She listed them off and I started smiling. She had a solid grasp of what I hoped every student would take from the course. When I got home and looked in my grade book, I discovered that what she’d learned was worth far more than the grade she’d earned in the class.
Because course endings give us a false sense of closure, we can end up feeling more discouraged about our teaching than we should. There really is no way to know how our content, our teaching and or the experiences in our classes have affected students or may affect them in the future. Students can be profoundly changed by a course and the teacher may never find out. I have a colleague who loves classical music. It’s not his academic area, but his knowledge is expansive. I once asked how he got interested in music. “Oh, I had a music teacher—that’s how it started. You know, I’d always intended to thank him, to tell him how his introduction to music has resulted in a lifetime of pleasure. But I got there too late. I had to say my thanks at his grave.”
Teaching is an act of faith, not something we always readily acknowledge. I like the Biblical definition: “faith is the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not yet seen.” (Hebrews 11:1) Sometimes we do see the evidence; students excel and we share their success. But many times there is no evidence. A student passes through the course without appearing to have been touched. But faith is a substance, it’s something tangible to hold onto in the absence of evidence. As the current courses end and the year concludes, the influence of both continues. In this season of peace, hope, joy and love, may your faith be renewed and strengthened. What you do for and with student does matter. It makes a difference and that makes it so worth doing.
Click here to link to FACULTY FOCUS
December 17th, 2012
by Maryellen Weimer, PhD
Published in Faculty Focus, November 28, 2012
At most colleges, courses are starting to wind down and that means it’s course evaluation time. It’s an activity not always eagerly anticipated by faculty, largely because of those ambiguous comments students write. Just what are they trying to say?
I think part of the reason for the vague feedback is that students don’t believe that the evaluations are taken all that seriously, not to mention they’re in the middle of the usual end-of-semester stress caused by having lots of big assignments due and final exams to face. It’s just not the best time to be asking for feedback and so students dash off a few comments which instructors are left to decipher.
In most end-of-course evaluations, students tend to comment about some of the same aspects of instruction. They frequently address issues of organization, whether students were treated fairly, and the challenging aspects of the course. Carol Lauer wondered if faculty and students defined some of these common terms similarly and so she asked a faculty and student cohort to say what they meant when they saw or used the term on course evaluations.
Would you be surprised to learn that faculty and students define the terms differently, or that students themselves don’t agree on definitions? Probably not, I’m thinking. Even so, some of the specifics are interesting. Take “not organized,” for example. Almost a third of the faculty think students use that term when the teacher changes or doesn’t follow the syllabus. Just over 11% of students said that’s what the term meant to them. Seventeen percent of the students equated it with the instructor not being prepared, 15% said they used it when the teacher had no apparent plan for the day and almost 13% equated it with getting student work graded and returned slowly.
“Not fair” refers to problematic grading according to almost 50% of the faculty surveyed, but to just over 2% of the students. To students “not fair” gets written on an evaluation when the teacher plays favorites and doesn’t treat all students the same way. Students and faculty are closer in their understanding of what “challenging” means when it’s applied to a course. It means hard work and lots of it.
The point here isn’t terribly profound but it merits a reminder, especially at the end of courses when teachers are tired. Many of the terms used to describe teaching on rating forms and in student comments are abstractions. “Organized” is something teachers are and deciding whether a teacher is or isn’t depends on what the teacher does. Various behaviors, actions and inaction can be what any given individual sees as the presence or absence organization.
There is good news here. If you’re interested in improving something like organization, if you define it behaviorally, you can change what you do, which is a lot easier than changing what you are. Organization has never been one of my strong suits and I didn’t make much progress trying to “be” organized. But when I started putting a skeleton outline on the board, when I stopped five minutes before the end of period and used the outline to summarize, when I began class working with students to create a list of points to remember from last class, I was seen by students as being more organized.
But it isn’t all good news. A collection of dashed off student comments collected at the end of the semester doesn’t easily translate into an action-based improvement agenda. What the student comments mean is probably not what you think they mean. Communication about the impact of teaching policies and practices on efforts to learn needs to be ongoing so there’s an opportunity for clarifying feedback, adjustments and then more feedback. We can and should make efforts to change the way our institutions collect student assessments, but, until that glacier melts, we need to take matters into our own hands and solicit a different kind of feedback and at different times during the course.
Reference: Lauer, C. (2012). A comparison of faculty and student perspectives on course evaluation terminology. To Improve the Academy, 31, 195-211.
November 28th, 2012
For various reasons in recent meetings, the topic of conversation has been our physical learning spaces. Even when the origin of the discussion was new technologies, comments usually reverted back to the basics. I thought this might be an opportunity to widen the discussion and consider how our learning spaces might be changing/need to change with the different needs and preferences of our students.
To spark your musings, you might consider some recent research, whose format is easily digested:
Changing course: Connecting campus design to a new kind of student
Thanks to the Library for Designing colleges for more than just connectivity
You might choose to comment on how you have been able to embrace some of the reports’ ideas or how we could adapt our spaces to adopt some of the recommendations.
November 9th, 2012
According to a recent study led by Concordia University, when it comes to pedagogy, students prefer an engaging lecture rather than a targeted tweet. 12 Quebec universities recently signed up to participate in the first cross-provincial study of perceptions of information and communication tool (ICT) integration and course effectiveness on PSE. The research gauged course structure preferences, perceptions of usefulness of teaching methods, and the level of technology knowledge of both students and instructors. The study found that students were more appreciative of the “old school” approach of lectures, and were less enthusiastic than instructors about using ICTs in classes. Instructors were more fluent with the use of e-mails than with social media, while the opposite was the case for students. “Our analysis showed that teachers think that their students feel more positive about their classroom learning experience if there are more interactive, discussion-oriented activities,” says one of the researchers. “In reality, engaging and stimulating lectures, regardless of how technologies are used, are what really predict students’ appreciation of a given university course.” The researchers hope these findings will have a broad impact, especially in terms of curriculum design and professional development. Concordia News Release
October 15th, 2012
Important Facts about College Students and Technology
2102 ECAR study highlights key areas of technology for colleges - (Educause Centre for Applied Research)
I found this data on the results of ECAR study on Undergraduate Trends in Use of Technology fascinating to our future role as educators!
The primary objectives of this study were to create a profile of undergraduate students’ ownership and use of technology for academics, to identify ways that technology helps them achieve their academic outcomes, and to assess their perceptions of how well institutions and instructors use technology to enhance the academic experience.
- 64% of students agreed that “technology elevates the level of teaching,
- 68% percent are satisfied with their professors’ use of technology.
Those numbers have increased dramatically over the last several years, pointing to the embracing of technology by professors.
Importance of Device to Academic Success
- 85% Laptop (+83% from 2004)
- 84% Printer
- 68% Thumb drive
Blended Learning Environment
- 70% of students learn best in a blended environment consisting of face-to-face learning and an online supplement.
The key is to focus on how online learning can best elevate your face-to-face teaching.
- Let the “learning” decide which educational technology is best.
- There are many options : online resources, discussion groups, quizzes, lecture capture, wiki, e-portfolio
- Need help, contact an instructional technologist in the Centre for Teaching and Learning.
Click to read the full report.
October 5th, 2012
Bloom's Digital Taxonomy
A great resource to help you start injecting educational technology into your teaching is Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy. This well-circulated, but difficult to credit, resource maps and recommends cool tools to use depending on where your course learning outcomes sit on the taxonomy.
However, this wonderful resource is now a tad dated. I am confident Mohawk faculty has found new tools that assist students.
Let’s create a Mohawk-ified Bloom’s digital taxonomy!
Contribute by adding a comment to this blog post. Your comment could include:
- the educational technology you use in class
- a link to the ed tech’s information
- the highest level on the taxonomy the ed tech targets and supports learning
I will compile contributions and unveil Mohawk’s digital taxonomy in the first blog post of 2013.
~ Posted by peg. in your CTL
October 2nd, 2012
This might be a good time to collect some fast feedback from the students in your course(s) about how well YOU are managing their expectations as learners. To download a copy of the “Stop, Start, Continue” form, click here.
You may want to use this form with your class or you could post it as a survey in eLearn.
To create a survey in eLearn,
- Click on the “Surveys” link in the navbar
- (if you do not see a “Surveys” link you will need to go to Edit Course=> Navigation => Edit NavBar => Links Tab => Add links; check “Surveys”; Save.)
- Creating a survey is similar to creating a quiz
- Click “New Survey”
- Give it a name. Check the “Anonymous” box
- Under “Restrictions” set the dates you want the survey to be available
- Under “Layout/Questions” create your three Stop/Start/Continue questions in Short Answer format.
- After the availability period ends you can view the responses under the ‘Results” tab
A quick option is to distribute blank paper during the last 5-10 minutes of a class and ask students to answer two questions about their learning experience to date: 1) Which practices most help you to learn? and 2) Which practices could be improved?
Acknowledge the Feedback – After saying “thank you”.
Ideally, you will want to respond to the students’ feedback in the next class. It is helpful for students to hear that they have different perspectives and learning preferences. What one person likes another dislikes. You goal is to satisfy different learning styles. Do let students know what, if anything will change as a result of the feedback. You can only change what you can control.
Peter Seldin and Associates (2006), “Evaluating Faculty Performance”, believes gathering data and taking action to address any problems that arise virtually guarantees higher ratings when the formal feedback process takes place.
The formal survey process will likely take place towards the end of the term, using the electronic Student Feedback on Teaching survey. You will hear more about this from the Institutional Research Department or your Associate Dean.
September 28th, 2012
According to the Learning Pyramid, students retain only 10% of what they read, but 75% of what they practice doing! As Dr. Idahlynn Karre says, “Telling is not teaching!” Rather than cover course content, we must help students “uncover” learning.
When faculty provide active learning experiences for students, they create a more interactive environment thus engaging students in the learning process. Incorporating active learning strategies into a course helps students understand the course material, and maintain their interest during instruction. They are not just passive recipients of our knowledge.
The library has a host of resources posted on Active Learning Strategies, just click on the LibGuides.
A NEW online module as been developed and is accessible via eLearn@Mohawk for faculty who would like to learn more about incorporating active learning strategies into their face-to-face and blended learning classroom.
You can self-register for this module and review whenever it is convenient. It is easy.
1. Sign in to https://eLearn.mohawkollege.ca
2. On the Nav bar at the top, click on Self Registration.
3. Voila, a list of Course Offerings will appear.
4. Pick the course you want form the list.
If you have an active learning strategy that works well for you. Please share it.
Shared by the Centre for Teaching and Learning
September 21st, 2012