This is the last week of the course. It focuses on how we can use technology to encourage collaboration in a range of learning situations and the emergence of the ‘technology power user’. Again an amount of learning materials are covered. I’d like to summarise it into five aspects.
First, preparing to support online learning inclusively. Aiming to ensure that the education is as inclusive as possible for disabled students.
JISC has provided guides to supporting online learning. It is imported to make online students feel they are connected with the institution.
Well-designed course activities can make them feel involved, but it’s useful to provide additional online social spaces, such as dedicated discussion forums or regular live chat sessions, to encourage interaction. This also provides an opportunity for students to feed back about the course and their learning experience.
Provide accessible support materials. For example the “Essential Digital Skills and Awareness” resources on the Southampton Solent University website.
The Journal of Inclusive Practice in further and higher education, Issue 5.1 Special Edition (2013) included ten research articles about the disability services in educational institutions.
The SCOPE website lists information of assistive technology and services for disabled people.
Second, considering accessibility when using social media, multimedia, mobile, mind mapping, and cloud technologies. Social media technologies allow people to connect and share information easier. Multimedia technologies allow people to interact with learning materials through multiple ways. Mobile technologies increase the flexibility of reaching online resources without location limits. Cloud technologies make backup, recovery and store documents easier. Mind mapping technologies provide another way for people to present their learning outcomes.
It is necessary to mention the JISC Digital Student Project again. Ray’s story shows how social media technologies can help his learning.
Many universities started to adopt social media and media technologies in teaching. For example, Queen’s University provides Social media accessibility of Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
Apple, Windows, and Android mobile phone system providers all published accessibility support guides.
Inclusive design is an important part of accessibility and usability. The University of Cambridge developed an Inclusive Design Toolkit which has helped me to understand the terms of ‘Design for all‘, ‘Universal design‘ and ‘inclusive design‘.
Third, considering accessibility in assessment. Thinking about offering different assessment modes and different choices within tasks to allow students to show their learning outcomes. JISC’s Making Assessments Accessible is the handy guide to get started.
Creating accessible examinations and assessments for disabled students article provides some useful suggestion for inclusive assessment. It is from the SHEFC-funded Project – Teachability: Creating an accessible curriculum for students with disabilities.
Plymouth University students and academics talked about their experiences of inclusive assessment and gave their advice on best practice.
A short video created by the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) introduces the way of designing assessment.
Inclusive teaching resources: Offer Flexible Assessment and Delivery generated by RMIT University is a useful guide for people to design, deliver and assess learning inclusively.
Introduction to Accessible Standardized Testing aims to provide design guidelines for building accessible standardized testing tools for Open Education Resource (OER) authors. It is from the Floe Inclusive Learning Design Handbook, which is a part of the Floe Project produced by the Inclusive Design Research Centre at OCAD University.
Fourth, thinking about “digital wellbeing“. Digital wellbeing is defined by JISC as follows. It brings the concerns such as workload, lack of time to explore digital approaches, stress and information overload, the responsibility staff take for the wellbeing of students, cyberbullying, and managing time.
The capacity to look after personal health, safety, relationships and work-life balance in digital settings.
Fifth, what can I do in my practice? I think it’s important to be aware of the inclusive teaching and learning as the first step. When I create new materials, bearing in mind the “born accessible” is the key. Talking to people about the inclusive teaching and learning when I support them is a slow but necessary way to make it happen.
More useful resources and tools:
A diagram to summarise the important developments in technology for Higher Education