- In your own words, describe your interpretation of accessibility and Universal Design for Learning (UDL), include the three networks in your brief response.
Universal Design for Learning reminds me of the multiple intelligence theory that was popular about 7 years ago. I am glad that the idea of addressing multiple ways of learning, understanding barriers, and needs is still out there. I define it as a means to develop curriculum that addresses a variety of learners in the planning stage. In other words aspects of diversity and needs should be put in the front of the planning process, not an afterthought. In my course I am designing, I would like to put in a stronger narrative of why they need to improve their English. All the students engaged with ELSP have been accepted as PhD students, the question is, why do they still need to work on their English? I think if I can tap into this, it will help them stay motivated for longer. I think also bringing in their fields of study is really important to maintain engagement. Regarding representation, I have started to include additional videos and handouts from other institutions to supplement my teaching. I strongly believe that if you hear a concept from many people and in a few different ways, it can really help. Also, including some video can break up the monotony of always looking at the written word. Finally, the area the needs the most work, Action/Expression. Since I am working on a writing class the product is writing. I am having some challenges in thinking of other ways students can demonstrate their writing knowledge without just writing, but I hope maybe you all have some ideas!
Describe a few things that you think you could do to increase accessibility in your classes. (It’s a work-in-progress, do not feel like it’s something that will happen all at once).
A challenge in a writing class is what other types of material would be good beyond just writing. I think I could introduce more graphic organizers to help students write and analyze. I also think introducing some text to speech software could be useful. Here is one my colleague uses: http://text-to-speech.imtranslator.net/ . These are a few things that I think could help.
- What are some questions that you have about this topic?
I feel like we could have an entire class on this topic, in particular areas of disability. The article “Improve Accessibility in Tomorrow’s Online Courses by Leveraging Yesterday’s Techniques” was really exciting because it not only described the problem, but also provided some solutions. I feel often I do not have enough solutions for students with disabilities. I still feel really uncertain in this area. How would I provide a language class online when a student is blind? Or what if they are an ASL speaker, they have the right to learn English as a second language, how would I manage that?
Further, I feel this area is really developed by K-12. From the videos and readings I saw the altruistic view of inspiring learners and tapping into their various interests, but at the graduate level, I don’t know how much of this translates. Sometimes what we do has to be done rather than just relying on tapping into the learner’s interest. Although we take that into consideration, it is hard to teach prepositions in this way..some folks are just not that into language learning.
Finally, I do have a fear of losing all the work. Crafting lessons so that they address a number of students is wonderful. But what happens when that webpage goes down? What if a student gets a new computer and cannot access an old site? I do have some questions about what we can do about that.
- Take some time to think about where you’ve been, where you’ve come and where you’re going pertaining to teaching in an online/blended classroom. Use images, videos and type of multi-media to tell your story. Describe what resources you have access to and what you think you will need to be successful.
I think before I took this course my view of online teaching was this: A curious user. I enjoyed playing around with online learning tools but did not have a lot of framework or purpose in using them. Powered with the new tools from this course I want to make things that will resonate with my students. Ideally I would like to avoid this type of reaction by selecting a technology tool that will reveal my age
However, I know when I consider my audience, get regular feedback and listen I can create lessons and curriculum that will engage and achieve my objectives. I hope to develop a pronunciation course this summer for learners who are unable to attend regular classes. I know this will be one of the materials I use: http://www.uiowa.edu/~acadtech/phonetics/english/frameset-ad3.html
Our department will benefit from the ample materials already online to support language learning, but I am certain we will need to develop materials to address the needs of graduate students. I do believe there is a lack of materials the higher the level you go, so we will have our work cut out for us.