[Athen] Accessibility tips for foreign language faculty

Wink Harner foreigntype at gmail.com
Fri Nov 13 13:39:28 PST 2015

Also useful in these circumstances, dear ATHENITES, is to consider using
activated learning techniques. We know this now as universal design. The
activated learning techniques include activities that engage all of the
senses, and so comprehension can be learned through a variety of input:
hearing, seeing, speaking, touching, moving, etc. which engage the visual
learners, auditory learners, vocal learners, tactile learners, & kinesthetic
learners. I have used this in the foreign language classrooms for years, not
just for classroom activities, but adapted them for testing. If any of you
are interested, contact me off-line and I will provide some links.

Happy Friday!

Wink Harner
Adaptive Technology Consulting & Training
Alternative Text & Media Production
The Foreigntype

foreigntype at gmail.com
winkharner1113 at gmail.com

(Disclaimer: this email was dictated with Dragon NaturallySpeaking. Please
forgive any quirks, mis-recognitions, or omissions.)

-----Original Message-----
From: athen-list [mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman13.u.washington.edu] On
Behalf Of Jiatyan Chen
Sent: Friday, November 13, 2015 10:40 AM
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network
Subject: Re: [Athen] Accessibility tips for foreign language faculty


It seems too simple for us who already have command of a language. It had
to be pointed out to me that a major part of learning a foreign language is
reading and listening comprehension. And alternatives are particularly
challenging when your students know next to nothing about the language and
had to rely on various senses and body language in class.

For introduction courses, teachers use a lot of pictures as a 'universal
language' to prompt students about the context and objects. This is
particularly challenging for assessment.
E.g., If you want the student to answer the vocabulary for a "green apple",
you can't use alt-text because that would be a hint. Describing the colour
and the object with simpler-than-basic-vocabulary is next to impossible
because the students might not yet know "unripe, vegetable, foliage" nor
"round, ball, fruit, smooth skin". Alternatives suggested by our blind
student is to assign them an exercise to go feel/smell/eat an apple, and
test them on translation of the vocabulary they used.
E.g., Often used techniques are picture stories, which the student have to
describe the objects and sequence of events by looking through 8-12 frames
of a storyboard. Providing an audio description for the storyboard would be
defeating the purpose of the test.

Students are tested for listening comprehension. If they can't hear, they'd
need an alternatives test to show that they have a way to communicate in the
foreign language. Alternatives we've explored with the language faculty are
(i) giving the students advanced level written tests to balance the points
they can't score for listening tests (ii) drop credits for students who are
do not need to be tested on one of the senses.

Please share more assessment solutions if you do broach that topic.

Jiatyan Chen
Online Accessibility Program Manager
Office of Public Affairs
Stanford University

> On 2015 Nov 12, at 09:41, Thompson, Rachel <rsthompson2 at ua.edu> wrote:


> Hi, all.


> Our area is soon meeting with a group of faculty from the modern languages

and classics department regarding ways to make their course materials more
accessibility from the outset. Do you have any foreign language specific


> Some topics we will address include discussing accessibility with

publishers (and asking my team to evaluate the responses), making sure web
content, PDFs, and office docs are accessible (via NCDAE cheatsheets and
workshops and assistance we offer), and keeping communications lines with
students open. We will also include info about working with our campus
disability services team.


> Any ideas you have would e much appreciated, Rachel


> Dr. Rachel S. Thompson

> Director, Emerging Technology

> Center for Instructional Technology

> University of Alabama

> _______________________________________________

> athen-list mailing list

> athen-list at mailman13.u.washington.edu

> http://mailman13.u.washington.edu/mailman/listinfo/athen-list

athen-list mailing list
athen-list at mailman13.u.washington.edu

More information about the athen-list mailing list