The Recognition Network: Learning about UDL has been liberating: I now know why to include images rather than just text in my PPTs (I thought they were unnecessary decoration or ‘cutesy’); why my colleague almost always includes a visual (screen) during a talk; why my screen now will have a great deal of white space; and why I choose scholarblogs to organize course content with attractive design. These strategies will hopefully provide multiple means of representation so that the ‘recognition’ network is engaged.
Affective Network: I’ve had difficulty in the past justifying pair work/ small group work if the task was a means to an end rather than an ‘end’ (a measurable and assessable outcome) itself. However, the result of this quiet and directed work often surprises me — students become more engaged in and animated about the topic, thus completing the resulting measurable task with satisfying success. This is just one example of how important it has been for me to understand the ‘affective’ networks by providing learners with multiple means of engagement.
Strategic Network: I am also surprised by how engaged learners can become by interacting and expressing their knowledge and ideas via various media such as scholarblogs, and the level of commitment to an activity when they can choose to submit an assignment via either audio or video, the latter of which adds engagement to those who are the leading-edge techies. Even providing time for quiet individual work now has my attention: it provides students with multiple means of action and expression. I will be aware to give students more choices regarding how to demonstrate their knowledge and learning: audio, video, f2, ppt presentations, pair work, discussions, quizzes, (yes, some love quizzes!) etc.
Some of the strategies outlined in the Faculty Focus article “Improve Accessibility in Tomorrow’s Online Courses by Leveraging Yesterday’s Techniques” has made me aware of some very do-able strategies to improve the accessibility of my courses:
- break videos down to smaller chunks
- use alt tag for images
- images should be informational rather than purely decorative
- provide closed captioning for videos
- use ‘flat’ navigation – limit number of clicks to access information
- avoid pronouns — I actually applied this when I created my instructional video in s-o-m.:)
- write succinctly and concisely! (ok, let me go back through this post and tighten it up) oh well, I tried. It would take a much longer time to do this!
My brain is flooded with ideas and information. But, the key points that stand out for me is ENGAGEMENT — going back to the very first graphic of the Triad, and FACILITATING – I now know what frustrations my students may feel and some strategies to response to and ease them.
I have treasured learning with you all!
Hi Peggy – Thanks for reminding us that there are plenty of small, “old-school” things we can do to make our content more accessible. Your comment about the “cutesy” pictures resonated with me – my ppt slides are often plain white with a plain, black, san-serif font – very little clip-art because I find it distracting (and, I probably violate copyright by including it….) Everything we have learned here about the online environment should be transfer-able to the f2f environment, since it seems like everything we’ve learned is about good teaching, period.
Hi Ann, exactly — good teaching….at the forefront of all the bells and whistles:)
I know what you mean about the images. I made myself put some in (somehow I was led to the book ‘Beyond Bullet Points’ when I had to create a workshop a couple of months ago — you are welcome to borrow it!!)
Someone else told me about finding images free for use — I wasn’t satisfied clipart — it’s limited. So, if you go to Google Images, you have the option to select Search Tools and the Usage Rights to get the “Labeled for Noncommercial Use”, so no copyright issue.
Working on the syllabus and course design document I think was a useful exercise to focus on the alignment of the objectives and instructional activity & assessment, which will help me with ‘good teaching’!
See you soon!