Accessibility and Information Overload
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I experienced information overload with this week’s readings. There are so many elements to take into consideration. I am very thankful that technology and free technology keeps advancing because stuff is available now that wasn’t available when I taught online in the past.

I have dealt with a variety of student needs in the face2face classroom. One thing that was really big for me was meeting with Disability Services counselors to discuss what works best for the different needs of my students. This was fabulous because, for instance, they explained why certain file types were preferred. From these experiences, I already convert everything to .pdf for my students, even readings from websites, and with Canvas I am working on using the correct headings options instead of the general paragraphs. I also switched from a non-cc documentary where 50% was captioned to a cc one; I was a little sad, but it was getting way too dated anyways.

My own learning preferences make me really interested in some of this. I always click away from the main screen when “watching” online videos, including the ones for this course and just listen, or the other side to that is when I watch videos with my computer on mute which is 90% of the time, so it is all about the cc. I also read magazines from back to front, so in general I have a variety of practices that are not intended by the creators of the materials.

When I taught online before, one of my struggles turned out to be an asset. I cannot record improv videos for my classes. It is always disastrous. Some may assume it is a time issue and I go on and on which is a problem I know others struggle with. For me it is the opposite. My mind goes blank without a script. I guess I don’t talk to myself well enough, but I really need an interactive audience to do my natural thing. So for online teaching, I embrace the unnatural and script everything which means I have a transcript for every video. The video service I had to use through my previous college did not do the cc, and I had an international student who requested the video transcripts because it went too fast for him, and lucky for me, I had them all ready to go! With youtube’s cc service now, there is a lot of support for that area.

MiraCosta’s transition to Canvas should hopefully take care of compatibility issue with it being a phone friendly LMS; Blackboard most definitely was not. I am very selective of other supplemental sites that I incorporate into my classes, but How To videos would be appropriate. I recently made a How To video to teach some colleagues how to use google Calendar; it is surprisingly more complicated than it seems, mostly when it is trying to be smarter than us and messes things up. There were lots of them already posted on youtube, but they were way too involved when I just needed some very specific basics. It was super simple to do, 60 sec long, and I actually succeeded with it as improv!

There are some basics to hit like making a site that is compatible with audio and visual needs students my have. Also, having different types of activities that take into account different strengths and learning styles would be a way to plan ahead with course design. But it could also be effective to do some sort of needs assessment the first week of the class. This would involve having students reflect on how they use the internet to get a sense of the varying abilities and practices that we could consider incorporating into the course for that semester.

Here is a resource I recently came across that provides videos, orgs, articles, and books about Inclusive Pedagogy for those who are interested:

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