Dutton Institute Blog

Accessibility: Using Headings on Your Webpages

Please note that using proper headings is one of the MOST IMPORTANT tools for screen reader users.

Credit: Nikki Massaro Kauffman

Standard

Content must be “Navigable” by all users. This requires landmarks so screen reader users are able to easily organize and scan a page.

The way to do this is to utilize headings and sub-headings on web pages. Headings are used to organize information into logical pieces and allow screen reader users to scan and navigate to specific parts of a page, just as a sighted user would do. Without proper headings, a screen reader doesn’t differentiate between various topics on a page.

To be in compliance, headings must be created using html code rather than basic formatting. 

Faculty and Learning Design Responsibilities

Use properly formatted headings and sub-headings (rather than simply increasing font size) when working in Drupal. Please review the details of creating properly formatted and compliant headings in Drupal for details.

Making your Videos, Narrated Screen Captures and Audio Files Accessible

Videos, narrated screen captures, and audio files need three things to be accessible to all students.

  • transcripts
  • notes before the video referencing the topic and length of the video
  • closed captions

If you have NOT created the content yourself and the original author has not included accurate captions, a transcript will suffice. NOTE: You can NOT rely on YouTube automatic captions.

At Dutton, we use a third party vendor to create transcripts and captions and then add them to your course, but we need faculty help to make sure that all videos are in compliance.

Please spend a minute reviewing your part in this process.

For fun, I added the Rhett & Link (2011) YouTube video "CAPTION FAIL: Lady Gaga Putt-Putt Rally" below (3:55 minutes). This demonstrates the problems that occur when automation captions are used.

Course Blueprinting Process

One of the hardest things that a learning designer must do is figure out how to communicate the learning design process in a way that the faculty members with whom we work will embrace it. Many faculty members use learning design principles and don’t realize that is what they are doing. They are just amazing natural-born teachers. We are lucky to have a lot of them in Dutton! While for these individuals, pedagogy is a natural part of developing a course, for others, it can be a difficult concept to understand and even more difficult to see the value when feeling like it is being imposed upon you. To help bridge the communication gap between learning designers and faculty, we have developed the Course Blueprinting Process. This process uses a simple idea that helps organize the design process in a visual way via a basic spreadsheet that the learning designer and faculty member develop together and share. By using this Course Blueprint to collect all of the information about the course design in one place, we help ensure that all of the learning objectives are covered in the content and all of the content is assessed in the assessments. The faculty member outlines the course, writes measurable objectives and identifies the level of each one on Bloom's Taxonomy with assistance from the learning designer and determines how each objective will be assessed, selects learning materials including readings, activities, exercises and media needs. All of this information is catalogued in the Course Blueprint. At then end, it is very easy to identify missing items just by a quick scan.

Download the downloadable version of the Course Blueprint from here now. Please check out our other Planning Documents in the Plan section of this website.

 

 

Topic(s): 

Visual Recording on the iPad

This is a great video that shows different tools that help you to do visual recording on the iPad. Her visual recording style is interesting and engaging, too! If you want to put together a quick and dirty demonstration of a topic, thoughts around an example, or cartoon-like demonstration for your class, this is an excellent place to start.

In the video, Rachel Smith goes over four different applications you might use for visual recording on the iPad: Ideas, Air Sketch, Brushes, and Sketchbook Pro.

While the video is a bit longer than one you might want to do for your class (it’s 12:46), watching the sketchnoting unfold is really helpful and interesting. The updated style of this type of drawing/notetaking/explaining is hot right now, so you should check it out!

The Three Essential Functions of Your Syllabus

James Lang has written an excellent two-part article on the essential functions of your course syllabus. He argues for a “learning syllabus,” where the syllabus helps the student to learn rather than merely serving as the course “contract.” He outlines how the syllabus should convey a professor’s “energy and enthusiasm” for the subject, that conveying the value of the content is important. In addition, the syllabus should serve to orient your students to the framework of the course, explaining how the course will unfold over the semester, and to show students the course’s “learning arc.” Finally, the syllabus should make the reasons you do what you do transparent. Why will there be discussions? What’s the purpose of the project? Lang rightly says that, while the rationale for the assignments and assessments might be clear to you, outlining it in the syllabus helps to make it clear for students—something important when they may be struggling with an assignment or task.

In the second part of his article, James Lang discusses how to make your syllabus, however long, a “living document” that will help students and motivate them throughout the semester. Quizzing students on the syllabus, allowing them some control over the crafting of it, and creating detailed learning objectives that connect the assignments and tasks with the overall goals of the course are just some of the ways to accomplish this. I especially liked the “syllabus quiz” where the instructor has the students pull out the syllabus again, the instructor points out a past topic,  and the students write what they remember about the topic, how it connects to the day’s lesson, etc.

Overall, these two articles were an excellent, digestible way to look at the syllabus as a way for instructors to connect to students and to help them learn. 

http://chronicle.com/article/The-3-Essential-Functions-of/190243/

http://chronicle.com/article/The-3-Essential-Functions-of/228909/

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