Last Friday was another interesting DOLCE meeting! We were joined by Jeanne Wilson and Josh Hori of the Student Disability Center, who discussed the importance of accommodating students with disabilities when you integrate technology in the classroom. Below are a few of the highlights.
- Strive for Universal Design. This means making your materials accessible in as many modalities as possible. If you are creating a video, add captions so hearing impaired students can access it; if you are using an image or chart, describe it in words so visually impaired students can access it.
- Universal design helps all students, not just those with disabilities.
- Captions. It’s best to create a script that will serve as captions before you create the video; if you don’t do this, you’ll need to hire a transcriber. Speech recognition software is not advised; at best, they reach 88% accuracy and it is time consuming to edit.
- Speech recognition software discussed at the meeting: IBM’s Worklight, Microsoft’s MAVIS, Dragon.
- There are transcription services at the Student Disability Center for low cost; there are also third-party services that ATS can recommend.
- You can also create your own captions for short videos (2-3 minutes) with Amera.
- Often, technology or learning disabilities can prompt faculty to get more reflective on their teaching practices and this may lead to more productive learning outcomes and pedagogical approaches.
David Levin also provided a helpful update on upcoming events and ATS’s plans for next year.
- Thursday, May 9 from 9:30-2:30: Global Accessibility Awareness Day. Josh Hori will host an event in 1310 Surge III that includes showcasing an accessibility awareness app (tells you what parts of your website are accessible).
- Wednesday, May 17 from 8-4:30: Faculty Retreat to talk about online education at UC Davis. If you are interested, RSVP by emailing Lein Sanchez (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Plans for Next Year
- Evaluation of SmartSite. We are considering moving to a new LMS; we will make a recommendation around this time next year.
- Classroom Upgrades. We will replace many of the projectors so that you won’t have to dim the lights and upgrade control panels and move them to better places in the room (this is a multi-year task). We are also working on a proposal to add more computer classrooms.
- Teaching with Video. Faculty are wanting to use video more and more. Some are finding ways to do this on their own, but we want to find ways to support the faculty and provide them with easy-to-use tools. Video is today what PowerPoint was 15 years ago; we’re still in transition, but it’s getting more common for people to create their own videos.
- eLearning Studios. Dan Comins created one of these in Olson; it allows faculty to come into a controlled environment and create high-quality videos. We want to offer more of these and add new tools to the existing one.
- Lecture Capture. More and more faculty are also wanting to capture what they do in the classroom, so we are looking at lecture capture options.
- Hybrid and Online Courses. We want to ramp up the number of faculty we can support as they develop these courses.
- Faculty Websites. We are working on a service to allow faculty to have their own personal websites in WordPress fairly inexpensively. This will allow you to be facultyname.ucdavis.edu instead of hosting it elsewhere.