This is an important topic to be aware of, though it also feels like a bottomless pit. My current strategy is to start with the students that are actually in my class and to try to accommodate the needs they share with me, rather than to try and meet all the imagined needs that these articles identify. Because my online class is in the second year of a sequenced curriculum, I don’t expect to have any surprises about students with major disabilities, though you never know. But I do have a better sense of what might occur and some ideas about how to problem solve.

For me the main take-away on this module is a reminder about different learning styles. At the moment, I think all of my course assignments are written, so there’s not much variety. I should think about that. The variety of tools available (like VT) gives some flexibility to students, so I think that helps.

Regarding the last question, I feel like I have made a lot of progress developing my course. I have a much better sense of my learning objectives and a variety of ways to achieve them. The main thing that I wish I had more help with is trying to get a better sense of how to accomplish something through discussions. I feel like a lot of my f2f teaching happens in discussion, but that asynchronous discussions are not suitable for the same things. What’s the alternative? I still don’t really know. Because I have a synchronous session every week, I think i will end up using that time to do the work of f2f discussions. Which is probably a good use of that time, so I am happy with that. Maybe other people have some more creative ideas.

[I’m sorry this post doesn’t really fulfill the assignment given. I am spending the next 3.5 days in meetings and have just run out of time!]


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    • David Jenkins on August 13, 2014 at 6:19 pm
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    Susan, I share your takeaway – the important reminder of different learning styles. In fact, most if not all of the practical suggestions for designing fully accessible f2f or online courses are applicable to every class including those that do not have students with disabilities enrolled. Those suggestions include optimize relevance, create a safe space in the classroom, minimize distractions. Shouldn’t we be doing these things in all of our courses?
    David J.

  1. Hi Susan, I am not only relating and seconding your post, but relating to your time issue too!! August is the cruelest month!

    I think you’re absolutely right that we need to be aware of different learning styles and offer our students options — letting them try their hand at different kinds of assignments — i.e. not always written assignments (having them do digital storytelling or create a video), offering our course content (f2f or online) in a variety of ways, etc. Not that I’ve been particularly great about that. But I like that these articles point out things that I often overlook or take for granted.

  2. Thank you all, I appreciate the need to make education accessible in the ways you have suggested. I am struggling with ways to stimulate discussion and like the ideas you have shared. Thank you. I am trying to create a Project Team type of approach with peer responses and synchronous meetings periodically throughout the term. Hope it works! Looking forward to meeting you all and seeing how things go. Kristy

  3. Susan, Thanks for pointing out the different learning styles. As David J. said, we should be doing this kind of work all the time. All of our classes should be open, inclusive and accessible. Summer is over and August is here.

    David K.

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