Monthly Archives: July 2016

M8 – Susan: Thoughts on ADA, UDL, ADSR and other acronyms

Yesterday was the 26th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Under the Obama administration, much has been done to enhance and support inclusion and accessibility in the US, and many policies have been enacted: The Every Student Succeeds Act assists “teachers in learning about the best ways to support their students with disabilities;” the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act provides “more employment opportunities for people with significant disabilities and youth with disabilities;” and the Affordable Care Act includes policy to “protect the rights of Americans with disabilities” (https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2016/07/25/celebrating-ada). Additionally, some of you might remember Maria Town (Emory College, class of ‘09) who currently serves as the White House’s Disability Community Liaison in the Office of Public Engagement. So much is being done to help those with disabilities, and there has never been a time when making classrooms inclusive was easier. So, it’s time that we instructors step up! (Like recognizing when I use a non-inclusive, ableist metaphor such as “step up.”)

I work with ADSR quite regularly, and I’ve tried to be as inclusive as possible in my courses throughout my time at Emory; however, as we all know, the online environment brings in a new set of challenges and potential issues. I do believe that available technologies are the first step to making a class accessible – well, recognizing that I need to pay attention to accessibility is the first step – so let’s say available technologies are the second step in making an online course UDL compliant. Having all videos captioned will not only help those who are hard of hearing but also has a secondary advantage of helping those who might only have internet access in a loud environment (e.g. café) or who might have a connection too slow to support full video and audio. Incorporating learning communities and multimedia into online courses, i.e. everything we have read in this class, gives students the ability to learn and perform in different modes, which is a key factor of UDL. Even the asynchronous learning environment gives those with some learning disabilities the chance to work at their own pace. If I keep these principles in mind as I create materials for my own online course, and as I revise materials for my current F2F courses, I believe that many of my initial challenges of accessibility will be met. That said, I also have to keep my eyes open for unforeseen issues that are sure to come up with every class and every semester. Wish me luck.

Carrión-M8: Accessibility, availability, possibility

My interpretation of accessibility, in my own humble words, is not complicated, if reaching that as a sound pedagogical stage is not in today’s ever-changing university climate.  I consider accessibility the state, stage, or platform, the surface that allows for everyone involved in teaching-learning spaces, to be in the same page.  When talking about OERs and copyright last week, Yu Li and Marshall touched upon all students and instructors being there, in the same page, and how the negotiation of rights and responsibilities of and for all could become a hindrance, an obstacle, and not a possibility.

Accessibility is the stage when, if hindrances and obstacles happen because of differences in learning time, physical, mental, or emotional disabilities, because of materials not being readily available to students who cannot see or hear, or a professor who cannot understand why students do not understand, those hindrances and obstacles can fade because someone, something, is available, or is made available.

Come to think about it, the more the university’s goals are moved closer and closer to corporate ideals, to sheer pragmatism over imagination, to producing without necessarily thinking, I wonder how can that page ever be the same for all?  Is a better university (whatever that means today) a hindrance to learning?  That is one monumental question which keeps looming larger and larger in my pedagogical unfolding.

imsacclip_infov1p0a

https://www.imsglobal.org/accessibility/acclipv1p0/imsacclip_infov1p0.html

Alas, the best thing about being human is that there is always another day.  A new thing can always be learned.  I quote from a website by  IMS Global Learning Consortium.  They give me some visual and verbal food for thought: once upon a time, the sequence of accessibility (which IMSGLC organize as a merging of “language,” “preference,” “eligibility,” and “disability” in the “old scheme of things”) consider the latter area, “disability,” an exception, for it would represent an extra-ordinary set of tools, arrangements, and accommodations.  At Emory, the artist once known as Office of Disability is now the Office of Equity and Inclusion.  This is a big step, one we all as faculty can and should factor in our teaching, be it face to face, online, or blended.  It seems that we’re actually moving along the lines proposed by IMSGLC, that is to say, removing the “disability” from being an obstacle and thinking about giving “access to all.”

imsacclip_infov1p03

https://www.imsglobal.org/accessibility/acclipv1p0/imsacclip_infov1p0.html

Big question is, if everyone is pulling towards their own little corner of earth, if education is becoming the process, or worst case scenario, a mere excuse to reach a strictly pragmatic or vocational plateau (as my nephew keeps telling me, “to just obtain that little piece of paper” to get his parents off his back, so he can be the best airplane mechanic), then how can I make materials, questions, and possible answers about legal history, architecture, mysticism, drama, theater, film, and performance art, about the Hispanic world (whatever that is today) accessible to all?   At Emory I have some truly outstanding resources, such as the ECDS, JSTOR, the Emory Libraries, the ECFDE, the ECLC, and all the other marvelous deposits, offices and centers at our disposal.

For as long as I breathe and stay in my position as Professor of Comparative Literature and Spanish, I will keep living accessibility, which as I recently learned from a wise dictionary, is “the quality of being available when needed.”  Not a coincidence that in my evaluations of over three decades in four different centers of higher education of the highest caliber, all my students have coincided in one same page: to agree that I am readily available to communicate and explain things to whomever asks and wants to know.  Stay tuned, it’s a mad, mad world, and we’re coming!

María-M7: Lots of questions. Open (how? really?) Educational (how? for whom? why?) Resources (which? when?)

I first heard about Open Educational Resources a few years back, when I served as Dean of Graduate Studies and Research at the School of Humanities at The University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus.  One of my many duties as Dean in a public school in a colonial setting going through the direst, most cruel economic crisis the country (or territory, if we’re gonna be crediting things properly) was to negotiate the sheer economic need of most students with their unbelievable hunger for learning and talent for achieving almost anything they sought to do.  As I learned about the amazing opportunities OERs offered students, I also learned about the constraints and the little financial gain authors and owners of ‘property’ (objects, subjects, originals) could enjoy by means of enforcing strict copyright policies.  All of that seasoned by the fact that I earn NOTHING from any article I publish, although some journals are now asking for thousands of $$$ for me to pay or I sign off my lifetime rights to that article, and my latest book, published beautifully with Toronto UP, thousands of dollars in production, has given back to me a whopping $120 in six years and 1,000 copies sold.  UTP owns the world rights to the book, of course…

CarrionRoughSpainShot

(© UTP 2010)

Some of the most interesting (albeit not always pleasant) moments I faced as Dean at UPR had to to with my helping students learn about what they could and could not, should and should not, do with OERs.  As Michele says, copyright is a big issue in film, and since as both Professor and Dean I work primarily in Humanities, with both verbal and visual materials, that is the story of my life.  My courses on architecture, film, theater, performance art, legal history, literature, and mysticism depend heavily in my sharing substantial amounts of materials with my students, and as I work with them so they learn the value of an image or a text, I also work with them so they understand the limits of use, and their responsibility as beneficiaries of this treasure trove of materials that is the Internet.  Goes without saying that another big part of my job as an instructor is to help them discern between original and copy (in, for instance, the consultation of an archival material in digital form or at the archive, ‘in person,’ or in watching a theatrical segment filmed for strict educational purposes).   Students and faculty in Art History, Cultural Management, Creative Writing, and Fine Arts were particularly restless, as new copyright laws were being brewed to charge for usage of images in their research and teaching.

OERs are critical for virtually every single educational setting today, and it is a complex, vital issue for all faculty members to learn to bring to their students a model to on the one hand enjoy these benefits, and on the other, to respect the limits of their use of those resources.  A standard I ask them to observe is to give credit to every text/image/video they cite in their readings, writings, communications, comments, reviews, performance projects, or research papers (whether historical, theoretical, or critical, kinds of evidence they are expected to learn to tell apart in every one of my seminars), and to know that if they EVER use that text of their own (no matter how small, unimportant-looking), if it has a ‘citable’ reference, they must give credit to the author, producer, or owner of that copyright.  Platforms such as Blackboard/Canvas have been good in helping me keep lots of these materials within a reasonable frame of educational operation, but I must learn to move to another stage, one in which I must be the one setting the example for students in my classes by giving credit to any and all images, texts, etc.  A good part of the job is done, but I have hundreds of images I must credit as I move my materials to Canvas.  I am sure that there are lots of questions pending, which will come up as I get ready to expand on my use of OERs.

Michele’s M7 Reflection

The issue of copyright is a big one for film and media studies instructors because the primary objects that we deal with are copyright protected. This makes simple tasks like putting your lectures online challenging.  A couple of semesters ago, I decided that I would compile my lecture clips for my Introduction to Film class so that my students could refresh their memories when preparing for the midterm and final exams. I figured that Emory must have a way for me to do this easily…well, it’s not so easy because the files are huge and because they have to be behind a password-protected “wall” so that they remain accessible only to my students (similar to Course Reserves). Eventually, I was introduced to Echo360, which is a software system designed to capture live lectures or Skype calls and not intended for this purpose at all.  Thankfully, it works, and I am lucky to to be able to stream my clips through Blackboard every semester.  While compiling them is a lot of work (I tend to change my choice of films from semester to semester because I am a masochist), I prefer to do it this way instead of having my students find clips on YouTube for two reasons. First, because I have control over the timing of the clip, i.e. when it ends and begins and its quality, and most importantly for the purposes of this discussion, it falls under fair use whereas clips on YouTube are in violation of copyright law. This is so important that our academic organization, the Society for Cinema and Media Studies has a fair use statement on its website to clarify that The Library of Congress “created an exemption allowing film and media studies professors to create digital clips from legally-obtained DVDs housed in college and university libraries.”

Zhiyun’s reflection on OERs

I was not familiar with the terminology “open educational resources (OERs)” until learning about it in this class, but I have been used open educational resources (OERs) for many years in my own teaching. 

In statistics, there are many free textbooks and softwares (programming languages) available online. One of the most popular statistical programming language that is also an open educational resource is R, and I have used that extensively in my classes. One can download R online for free and install any package with open licenses. Additionally, users are also welcome to contribute/update with personalized functional packages. 

I think that the current proliferation and availability of open educational resources is an important trend in contemporary education. It is a cheap and efficient avenue for the learning process, but care needs to be taken in choosing the resources to ensure quality control.

M7, Susan: OERs and what I thought I knew

At the beginning of this module, I did not recognize the term Open Educational Resource; although, I now realize that I have been benefiting from OERs for years. I have worked with material from TedEd (and TedEx), and some of the videos I regularly use in class are on YouTube and have Creative Commons licenses. That said, I’m now realizing that not all of my go-to a/v needs are open source, and I need to be a better citizen of the OER and academic world and get permissions to use material where needed. I also knew that there was a great deal of usable material out there, but I didn’t realize the sheer number of options available. For example, I’m very happy to been shown MIT’s Open Courseware site and its collection of Linguistics lectures. In fact, I’ve already started sharing some of these links with colleagues.

Instead of asking whether one sees value in OERs, I think it’s better to ask: How can one not see at least a bit of value in them? Even in working with courses that have been taught for years or decades, finding new materials to supplement the class is invaluable. It’s also amazing to see all of these talented, creative folks developing interesting ways of presenting material – I simply don’t have the skill or imagination to create these works. Speaking of, if you’ve never seen The History of English in Ten Minutes (broken down into ten one-minute cartoons) from The Open University, I highly recommend it: http://www.open.edu/openlearn/languages/english-language/the-history-english-ten-minutes. OER at its finest.

Navigating the Copyright Maze: Yu Li’s Reflection on M7

I feel that I have been putting off learning about copyright, but the infographic PDF in this week’s reading package grabbed my full attention. Its cheerful colors, neat-looking symbols, and many speech bubbles made me feel that this was something I could learn. It must have taken Silvia Rosental Tolisano (the author) so much imagination and energy to plan out and create this graphic presentation on such a complex topic. For what? Just to attract readers? I am amazed, and it certainly worked on me. Well, I digress.

The takeaway for me was to create one’s own as much as possible, and if not, use materials form the public domain, with Creative Commons licensing or within Fair Use allowance. This is why, I think, websites like openwashington.com would be so useful – OERs are usually in the public domain or CC-licensed, am I right? Another tool I found helpful was Google’s Advanced Search feature. Apparently it allows specification of various usage rights such as “free to use, share or modify,” and I did not know that!

On a related note, I’ve discovered that the library has been purchasing more and more new publications in electronic format only. To check it out, we are granted access for 14 days. But, we cannot download or copy/paste any of the material. I wonder how this would impact classroom use of excerpts from scholarly books. In the past, I would request for sections of the book (with the fair-use allowance) to be uploaded to CourseReserve, so that students can download and print as needed. I guess students can access the ebooks the same way we do, so we can bypass CourseReserve, but I can no longer require them to bring a hardcopy to class (I don’t allow computers in the classroom). Well, maybe that’s not the end of the world.

M7-Marshall Duke–OER, Where have you been all my life??

Many years ago, while reading an article about a psychologist who was doing some work on person perception in paintings, I came across the name of E.H. Gombrich.  I had never heard of the man but wanted to see if he had written anything that I might be interested in (the art historians out there, please contain your laughter).   We had card catalogues in the library back then (I am quite old, remember) so I had to physically go to the library to search him out.  Having braved the frigid crossing of quadrangle, I entered the cavernous catalogue room of the library  and pulled out the drawer labeled “Gom to Gom.”  This label struck me as odd until I opened the drawer and realized the entire thing was nothing but E.H. Gombrich!  He was a giant figure in art history and he was totally new to psychologically provincial old me.

And so it was again  today with these OER’s and the Creative Commons. I felt the same sort of shock (and thrill, actually) I had felt standing before the card catalog in the library. I had not heard of these things (I admit total spaciness on this) and here they are, arguably among the most important advances in education in my lifetime (whiteboards and smart podiums have not really moved me that much).  As I read about what is available and saw how relatively easy they are to access and use, I was blown away.  Ready-made for my course on abnormal psychology, I found Open Access Youtube videos depicting various types of mental disorders.  I found PowerPoints from old friends at Yale who are teaching the same sort of abnormal psychology curse I am planning. I learned that Youtube videos are automatically closed captioned, that they can be translated via Google translate into and from any language, that I can actually embed them into a VoiceThread.    I found Flickr (anyone else old enough to refer to this as “My Friend Flickr”?) and Bookstax.   What a delightful afternoon of surprises.  I have not used these OER’s before, but clearly I will be using them now and will not wait until my online course.

The tutorial on finding OER’s was excellent.  The materials on copyright and varieties of Creative Commons licenses were helpful and enlightening.  This has been fun, pure and simple.

 

M7-Reyes: OERs in Nursing

Hi everyone,

I was part of the the Emory Open Education Initiative last summer so I learned about OERs.  I like the Khan Academy, TED Talks and also YouTube for my materials.  I created an online peds resource last year for first semester students to help organize things.  Happy I did since we are switching to Canvas and I don’t have to “move” anything.

I think being able to share resources across educational settings is great and offers so much more to the students.

I haven’t run into copyright issues and I don’t have any overall questions.

Course assessment strategies

For the introductory statistics course I will teach online next summer, I am planning to use assessment strategies similar to CATs. Our department has general curriculum requirements for students from across majors that need to apply statistics. These departments have provided, through the curriculum requirements, our guidelines to assess students’ performance.  At the beginning of the course, I give a succinct but thorough introduction to the course in the syllabus and state clear learning outcomes and expectations. Many types of assignments will be required of the students. For instance, clicker questions,  lecture homework,  lab quizzes, lab homework, and projects will all be assigned at  various times throughout the course. Clicker questions are used to assess whether students understand concepts and applications immediately and motivate interactions in the classroom. Lecture homework and lab homework are necessary for students since, as it is said, practice makes perfect. The projects are good opportunities for students to combine and apply all the materials in the course to real research questions; additionally, it aids in augmenting the students’ writing and communication abilities. Also, these projects will be of benefit for students in diverse majors. Numerical rubrics are provided for students for all assignments. And, of course, we have in class exams for students in statistics. The exams are a traditional and necessary form of assessment in a statistics based class, and also an unfortunate source of high stress for the students. To improve the students’ ability to demonstrate what they know, we make the expectations, assignments, and exams clear.