Category Archives: course design

Accessibility tool now available in Canvas!

Created by the University of Central Florida, the Universal Design Online content Inspection Tool, or UDOIT (pronounced, “You Do It”) enables faculty to identify accessibility issues in Canvas by Instructure. It will scan a course, generate a report, and provide resources on how to address common accessibility issues. Some accessibility issues identified by UDOIT are easily fixed with the click of a button while others might take an edit or two to amend.

Why should you consider using UDOIT?

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is described as “a research-based set of principles that together form a practical framework for using technology to maximize learning opportunities for every student” (Rose & Meyer, 2002, Preface). When UDL is applied, curriculum designers create products to meet the needs of students with a wide range of abilities, learning styles, and preferences. The UDL curriculum “reflects an awareness of the unique nature of each learner and the need to address differences” by offering:

  • Multiple means of representation, to give learners various ways of acquiring information and knowledge;
  • Multiple means of action and expression, to provide learners alternatives for demonstrating what they know;
    Multiple means of action and engagement, to tap into learners’ interests, offer appropriate challenges, and increase motivation (CAST).
(retrived January 2017. Universal Design in Education: Principles and Applications
web link –  http://www.washington.edu/doit/universal-design-education-principles-and-applications)

What does UDOIT look for?

Errors that UDOIT flags

Suggestions that UDOIT makes

  • Links should contain text
  • No Alternative Text found
  • Alternative Text should not be the image filename
  • Alternative Text is more than 100 characters
  • Alt text for all img elements used as source anchors should not be empty
  • No table headers found
  • No row or column scopes declarations found in headers of the table
  • Insufficient text color contrast with the background
  • Multimedia objects should have text equivalents (e.g., transcripts).
  • Avoid the use of animated GIF’s
  • Synchronized captions should be provided for prerecorded web-based video
  • Link text should be descriptive
  • The text equivalents (e.g., transcripts and/or captions) for embedded content should update when content changes.
  • Headings should contain text
  • Consider adding headings to your document to create more structure
  • Avoid using styles for document structure
  • Avoid using color alone for emphasis

Where does UDOIT look?

What errors will UDOIT NOT find?

  • Announcements
  • Assignments
  • Discussions
  • Files
  • Pages
  • Syllabus
  • Module URLs
  • UDOIT cannot check within Word Documents, PDF Documents, or other proprietary-formatted documents.
  • Please visit the following resources to read about accessibility for these file types.

3 minute introduction to UDOIT from the Center for Distributed Learning from the University of Central Florida

 

How do I get UDOIT in my Canvas course?

Contact the KSC Help Desk and make the request. It will appear in your courses within 24 hours.

helpdesk@keene.edu or 603-358-2532.

Anatomy of Academic Technology Support

When faculty think of our Academic Technology unit I suspect their mind races right to questions about how to solve a technology conundrum. Sure, that’s part of it but faculty can really benefit from our expertise and our broad experience.  We’ve worked with, collaborated with, completed projects for, and listened and learned from hundreds of faculty who have brought us unique instructional challenges. Some of those challenges are easily resolved but the tough ones are disguised as “solvable with technology”. The hard problems always have to do with the faculty perception that their design isn’t the problem; it’s the technology that’s not letting them get the result they want. It’s easy to understand why this happens since they’ve taught using the same or similar methodology multiple times and it’s been pretty successful. If technology would just let them do “X” then everything would be perfect.

When we work with faculty we’ll start with a standard question: “what are you trying to do”? It’s a simple question but it supports a conversation about the strategies and the motivation behind the design approach. This is where the collaboration begins. The benefit to faculty is it encourages them to talk through the process with an unbiased and non-judgmental person. We ask questions. They explain. We offer suggestions. Remember, we’ve worked with hundreds of faculty and have a lot of experience with good ideas and can spot a poor idea a mile away.

Here’s the thing: faculty tend to get stuck doing the same things the same way. In fact, many may have the experience building courses, but basically it’s the same course a hundred times rather than a hundred different courses.

So my message to faculty is this: the AT unit can help solve technology problems but we’re also adept at addressing instructional challenges that have nothing to do with tech and everything to do with design.

Drop by and visit us in our new location at Cheshire House. We would love to talk with you about your courses.

Create a Positive First Impression in your Blackboard Course

First impressions are important, even when you’re talking about a Blackboard course.  When a student enters an attractive Blackboard course they will experience a positive first impression and will become engaged in the class right away.  But what is an attractive Blackboard course?  Watch this short video to find out:

Got some ideas of your own?  We’d love to hear them.