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Accessing your teaching technologies IRD Accessible Resources

Accessing your teaching technologies

Posted in Accessible Resources

Ask Yourself

  • Do you know that some of the teaching technologies used are not accessible?
  • Are you aware that because some aspects of the LMS, Collaborate, PebblePad and TurnItIn are not accessible or usable, some students will be denied access and participation?

Information

Some teaching technologies can be inaccessible for students for the following reasons:

  • low bandwidth
  • weak internet infrastructure for remote and rural areas
  • limitations in access to technology
  • computer literacy issues
  • incompatibility with assistive technologies
  • time restrictions and limitations
  • flash based interfaces that are not accessible to assistive technologies.

Some students experience difficulties with accessing technology because of computer literacy issues. This can be especially challenging if the course is entirely online and they do not know how the system works or even how to log in.

Understanding the technology you use

Put yourself in the place of your students and ask yourself:

  • can the required technology be easily accessed off campus?
  • does the technology require a recent/modern computer?
  • is the technology easy to install?
  • is the technology available and behave consistently on different systems?
  • is there time restrictions and limitations?
  • are there alternatives to Flash based content that is not accessible for screenreaders?

Action

To help reduce some of the potential barriers that may arise, provide students with guides, resources, and information on how you expect the technology to be used. This could be:

  • installation guides
  • how-to guides from the University or technology provider
  • screen captures and written guides on how you expect the students to use the technology
  • outlining the expected outcomes from using the technology.

PebblePad Help for Staff: How can I use PebblePad in my teaching? has a range of resources that can assist in getting the most out of PebblePad.


Examples

Dr Adrienne Forsyth and Dr Deanna Horvath describe how they support students to access their teaching technologies.

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“I have a document with a screen shot, with all the things that students will need to do. On our LMS in subjects I often do an Echo360 recording of myself working through something so they can see [how to do it] as I’m talking through it. Those recordings are viewed by students more than any recording of a lecture.

And those are the things that get commented on in the Student Feedback Survey. ‘I really liked those explanations of the assessment task that you did.’ That’s what students want; you don’t know how tech savvy they will be. “

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A La Trobe student with a vision impairment, describes their frustration when having to use some of the teaching technologies.

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“That software … is incredibly difficult to navigate. It doesn’t allow for zoom, so I had to go and zoom through a magnifier on my computer software instead of just through your natural zoom that you would do, just normally, without any accessible software. So, I found it very difficult to use that particular software for the assignment.

It also didn’t allow two people to be working on it at the same time, which meant that I couldn’t have my screen and my peer’s screen simultaneously doing the assignment. It was meant to be, you all look at one screen and do the assignment together, which didn’t particularly work well for me.”

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La Trobe Resources and References

Undergraduate Curriculum Design Policy has a section on Accessibility and Inclusive Curriculum.
Drop-ins, Workshops and Consultations by Education Design Team.
Educational Technologies contains information on technologies supported by the University.
Teaching technologies has information on supported teaching technologies.

External Resources and References

Making your content accessible in Blackboard by University of the West of England.
Techniques to engage the online learner by Virginia Junk, Nancy Deringer & William Junk.
The CSU Online Learning & Teaching Model by Charles Sturt University.

5 Comments

  1. Wendy Paulusz
    Wendy Paulusz

    Thanks Robin for alerting us to this. Will do.

    August 9, 2019
    |Reply

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