[Athen] Invitation to participate

Stacy L. Smith stacylee at ksu.edu
Wed May 16 20:46:08 PDT 2007

Greetings all,

I'd like to make you aware of a project I'm starting that I'd love your
participation in. Please feel free to forward/post this invitation in
other forums that you feel are applicable after reading the rest of
this message.

Summary: I would like to invite you to participate in a small research
project I’m embarking on: Accessibility in eLearning: an
In/Outsider’s Perspective. In brief, I will be sitting in on two
versions of the same course, one on-campus and one online, both of
which are technologically mediated. I’ll be using assistive technology
to access these courses and will be blogging the experience. I hope
that you will do me the favor of reading these posts and – hopefully –
participating in a discussion as well. I’m excited, and I think it
will be interesting.

The long version:
This project will begin on or about May 14, 2007 and will continue
through July 27, 2007, although the time frame and degree to which you
participate will be completely voluntary and confidential. There is no
expectation that you will participate throughout the entire time frame.
This invitation is being extended to professionals as follows: the
DSSHE-L listserv (disability; sponsored by the University at Buffalo),
the ATHENPRO listserv (adaptive technology; sponsored by Access
Technologists Higher Education Network), DEOS-L (distance education;
sponsored by Pennsylvania State University), Instructional Design Open
Studio blog (Office of Mediated Education, Kansas State University),
and appropriate faculty and staff at Kansas State University. Please
do feel free to forward this invitation to any other appropriate

As some of you know, I am a relative newcomer to the Disability field,
and since I don’t require the use of assistive technology to access the
internet, I’m going to be using the summer months to personally explore
the use of assistive tech in the educational setting.

I have been invited to “sit in” on two versions of the same course: one
on-campus, and one on-line; both of which use K-State Online, K-State’s
Learning Management Software. I intend to experiment with various
assistive technologies, both proprietary and open source/shareware, in
accessing the course and course content. My purpose is threefold: to
experience, first-hand, the use of these technologies and (2) to
compare and contrast the two courses, looking for ways to improve
accessibility and the course-taking experience for KSU students and (3)
to solicit feedback from professionals over the course of the project,
which can then be combined with my individual research to contribute to
the general knowledge of the field.

I will maintain a research journal in the form of an online blog at
http://in-outsider.livejournal.com/, where I plan to record challenges,
successes, failures and frustration. I would very much appreciate your
professional contributions on this blog. While helpful hints and
direction are absolutely welcome, my main purpose is simply to have a
conversation with others throughout this process – to hear feedback,
criticism, and (hopefully) encouragement as I go along. If anyone has
any question about my intent, please feel free to email me at
in_outsider_blog at yahoo.com for more information.

I am using the free blogging platform provided by LiveJournal, and am
taking precautions to (1) protect participants from unpleasant/unwanted
posts or email and (2) limit participation to professionals. You should
be aware that posting to in-outsider.livejournal.com will require
registration with the website; however, you will choose your own screen
name, and I attempted to find a site that does not sell information to
others. You can view LiveJournal’s privacy policy here:
http://www.livejournal.com/legal/privacy.bml and the terms and
conditions here: http://www.livejournal.com/legal/tos.bml . You can
create a LiveJournal account at:
https://www.livejournal.com/create.bml. The blog is set to screen all
posts (so I can screen out spam and inappropriate posts, should I
receive any) but not to record IP addresses. It is not necessary to be
a “friend” of the blog to post. Also, I ran LiveJournal through JAWS
(with my very limited proficiency) and it appears to be compatible.

Your participation, as stated above, will be kept confidential unless
you should chose to reveal personal/professional details: I ask simply
that in your first post you identify what field you are in (disability
services, AT, IT, etc) and give a general description of your
educational setting (4-year institution in major metro area, rural
community college, etc).

At the end of this study I will make a presentation to my co-workers and
intend to write an article for publication. I will also share my
conclusions on the blog and on the same blog/listservs I’m posting this
invitation on.

Thank you for your consideration, and I hope to see you on

Stacy Smith
Adaptive Technology Specialist
Kansas State University
Project email: in_outsider_blog at yahoo.com

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