Page 18 - Campus Technology, May/June 2018
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Credly.) For example, in his or her sophomore year, a stu- dent could get training on how to give an accessible speech in a face-to-face classroom, Speer said. “Now I am a junior, about to give a speech, and the instructor says I need this training first. I can show the credential to demonstrate that I have already received the training.”
WSU is a real pioneer in terms of figuring out how to make student-created content accessible, but other univer-
sities are thinking about it. “When I speak to people who have my job at other schools, they say they know they are going to have to deal with this,” Speer said.
Chico State, for example, is beginning to offer students their own online space to create a web presence or e-portfolio — and accessibility is part of that equation, said Olquin. “We are scanning those with Ally to help them understand the acces- sibility levels of their materials and to start that conversation about beginning an effort toward student training.”
Automating Note-Taking
In another effort aimed at classroom accessibility, Northwest- ern University (IL) has found some technology solutions to assist with student note-taking. The institution traditionally paid students to take notes for peers whose disabilities make note-taking difficult, but it was having difficulty finding enough matches between requesters and student note-takers, even though it offered $100 per quarter per class.
Last year James Stackowiak, director of assistive technol- ogy, led the pilot of two technology options: the LiveScribe Echo Smartpen and the Sonocent Audio Notetaker. “With the Smartpen, students can go back and tap on notes they had written and it takes them right to that point in the record- ed lecture,” Stackowiak said. “We interviewed students and got overwhelming feedback that they used to be anxious that they were going to miss something,” he said. “Now they can
“We have been focusing on website accessibility — and the next wave here is going to be course accessibility.”
— James Stackowiak, Northwestern University
pay better attention because they know they don’t have to write down everything that they are hearing. They have a way to go back to those things. It allows them to focus more in class and be more present.”
The Audio Notetaker allows students to color-code seg- ments of audio, added Stackowiak. If a student with ADHD knows he is not paying good attention to a segment of a lecture, he can pick a color that reminds him to go back and listen to that section.
Stackowiak said accessible course content is becoming a larger area of focus at Northwestern. “We have been focusing, as everyone has, on website accessibility — and the next wave here is going to be course accessibility. From what I have seen of Blackboard Ally, the ability to flag content and walk instruc- tors through how to fix it is going to make a lot more headway than we would be able to through training.”
David Raths is a freelance writer based in Philadelphia.
Building Accessibility Into IT Procurement
Michigan State has developed rubrics and procedures to help its information technology procurement officers evalu- ate products’ accessibility more effectively.
Do-It-Yourself Accessibility
The University of Central Florida created a tool to evalu- ate course content for accessibility issues, allowing instruc- tors to find and address potential problems.
Essentials of Digital Accessibility
This tutorial covers the most common issues that confront faculty when making their course content accessible.
Your Course Accessibility Checklist
Here’s how to embed accessibility into the course cre- ation process, without expending too much time or effort.

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