[Athen] UDL Blog

Joshua Hori jhori at ucdavis.edu
Fri Jul 1 12:22:53 PDT 2016

Hello Samantha!

Great first post! A few suggestions…

Updating the alt tag to state: “Universal Design puzzle, labels pieced together showing the framework connections between…”. You could label all the pieces in the alt text, or end it with “…different environmental barriers of students”.

The 10 tips…(This is coming from the view of someone who provides accessible course materials, class and testing accommodations.) Sorry if I’m over explaining in some areas.

#1 – I love you for stating the need for class notes. There are plenty of audio recorders for mobile devices which professors could use to record their lecture and provide it to the class through cloud services. The students can then take those notes and use them how they like.
#2 – “accessible” electronic handouts… (Colorado State eText Intro<http://accessproject.colostate.edu/udl/modules/etext/mod_etext.php>)
#3 – “accessible” electronic versions…
#4 - /thumbs up
#5 – Can we remove time limit suggestions? We have students who require additional time for reading tests due to disabilities, or need additional time to write out answers due to anxiety (which is a growing population at the moment), mobility limitations or writing dexterity. I would love it if you suggested take home exams, but realize that some professor’s may see that as a fundamental alteration of the course. Maybe the quizzes could be taken before or after class to better determine what materials need additional clarification. Here’s an example of an extreme dyslexic reading a web page<http://geon.github.io/programming/2016/03/03/dsxyliea>. For most of my students, it doesn’t move while they are watching it (although a few state it does move like that), but when they look away to write a note or answer a question. When they look back, everything has changed like it’s a new page they’re looking at.
#6 – Multiple choice exams aren’t bad per say, since you can store all questions and answers in an excel sheet and randomize the order, creating different forms of the test on the fly…but if we altered tests to essay formats to gauge student knowledge of materials rather than matching of terms, maybe we could move to take home tests and not worry about testing accommodations? Sure, students could then collaborate on tests; but is that a bad thing? They would still have to come up with different essay answers than who they are collaborating with. I don’t know of too many jobs where you are forced to work alone and not reach out for help if it’s needed. Why are we forcing our students to test this way? It’s counterproductive to what we’re trying to teach them. Collaborate, collaborate, collaborate…except on tests, you’re on your own. Good luck.
#7 – Use “captioned” audio or video recording…Offer local solutions for captioning. You can find vendors who can provide this service at $1 a minute, or suggest to have a student do it for them for extra credit if it’s up on YouTube. They may even want to suggest it for students who are struggling in the course as they may understand the materials more after captioning the content. Also keep in mind that captions help ALL students get familiar with terminology. Don’t forget audio descriptions! You can use YouDescribe<http://youdescribe.org/search.php> to add audio descriptions to youtube videos. Also keep in mind that audio descriptions may be helpful to my students on the spectrum, or those who get easily distracted. This is especially important for History, where cultural signals may be missed by not only those who are visually disabled, but also by my students on the spectrum, who may not recognize the cues if they’re in an overloaded state.
#8 – Use “accessible” Course Activities “to ensure you can” proactively “interact with everyone in the class”. Suggest student groups for those students who may be overwhelmed by the technology used. (Piazza is a good example; it can overwhelm blind students). You can use my trello board<https://trello.com/b/rirGA3kZ/accessible-technology-software> if that will help facilitate some of the work. I just updated the board with a mindmap of my workflow for dealing with students.
#9 – Great suggestion.
#10 – Why are we stressing non-attendance? This is the adult world, can we allow students to not come to class if they don’t want? I think it’s their choice to purchase the presidential hotel suite, just to go sleep later on a park bench. Maybe work schedules changed. Maybe unscheduled cancer treatments are required. Maybe a cold suddenly hit a person and the medication prevents them from concentrating on the course at hand. Maybe a family member needed emergency babysitting. Or maybe a family member died. Maybe car issues occurred, or other transportation issues prevented the student from attending the class. Students are fighting their own battles everyday that we are unaware of, disabled and non-disabled, and we have no control over it. I also think that #10 could cancel out #1 as teachers will provide their notes to attendees, exempting those who didn’t show up.

Also keep in mind that when suggesting e-books, or the soon to be smartbooks, that we have to take accessibility into consideration. Is the student locked into a particular app in order to read the textbook? Can it interact, not only with screenreaders, but also other text to speech and magnification tools? The High Tech Center Training Unit has extensive guidelines for alternate media considerations<http://htctu.net/publications/guidelines/altmedia/altmedia.htm>.

And with Virtual Reality<https://aframe.io/> and Augmented Reality<http://procrastineering.blogspot.com/> (watch the 3rd video listed to have your mind blown) right around the corner…Things are going to get REALLY interesting soon. I can see SO many uses for Virtual AND Augmented Realities as an accommodation.


Joshua Hori
Accessible Technology Analyst
Student Disability Center
54 Cowell Building
Davis, CA 95616

From: athen-list [mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman13.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of Samantha Johns
Sent: Thursday, June 30, 2016 4:15 PM
To: Ganga Harrison <gdharris at ucsc.edu>; Access Technology Higher Education Network <athen-list at u.washington.edu>
Subject: [Athen] UDL Blog

Hello Everyone,

I'm excited to share my first Accessibility Blog post on Universal Design for Learning! <https://accessibilityatoai.wordpress.com/2016/06/17/universal-design-for-learning-history/> I look forward to exploring and writing more!


Samantha Johns

Accessibility & Course Support Specialist

Portland State University
1825 SW Broadway
Smith Memorial Student Union, Mezzanine 209
Portland OR 97201
(503) 725-2754

"Tell me and I'll forget, Teach me and I'll remember, Involve me and I'll learn" -Ben Franklin

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