Advanced Instructional Design Concepts and Application: Accessibility Essentials Course

The purpose of this course is to provide an intervention for faculty who need support concerning accessibility, set an institutional commitment and standard for accessible online course content, and drive positive change over time.

Stakeholders: Gretchen Benton (Instructional Designer) and community college Accessibility Services Office (Subject Matter Experts), and community college faculty and staff (learners)

Needs Assessment: Data obtained from the Blackboard Ally scanner which detected several instances of severe, major, and minor accessibility issues in our college LMS course content.

ID Whitepaper: Universal Design for Learning

This whitepaper topic acts as a thesis statement that gives a meaning and purpose to my course on accessibility. The paper states the issue, most instructors do not make course materials accessible until they are required to provide an accommodation. Then it identifies a solution, Universal Design for Learning (UDL), a learning design process that advocates for intentional and proactive creation of accessible course content to benefit all learners, not just those who need accommodations. Finally, it proposes a simple framework for building course content that adheres to UDL assumptions.

View this whitepaper in the embed box above or on Google Drive.

Accessibility Course: Learning Objectives and Examples

This section explains the learning objectives for my Accessibility Course and the format in which it will be delivered.

By the end of the course students will be able to…

  • Explain the how accessibility can improve access for all students, not just those who need an accommodation.
  • Identify how changes to text, headings, colors, images, hyperlinks, tables, and multimedia can make content more accessible.
  • Identify the correct process for (1) referring a student to Accessibility Services and (2) request and ITS accessibility review for software purchases.
  • Utilize common accessibility tools
  • Apply knowledge of accessibility standards by creating/updating common work documents and by designing/updating course content such as student announcements and syllabi.
  • Connect accessibility concepts with Universal Design for Learning and diversity.

Evidence Based Practices

This section explains my thinking behind how evidence based practices can work together in course design through the following mindmap.

In the embedded Google Slides presentation below, I provides example of how each principle could be implemented into lessons/content within my course on accessibility. Use the arrow at the bottom to navigate and play videos or click the speaker icon on each slide for a 1-2 minute audio or video clip that accompanies each slide.

If everything is approved, this summer we will begin reaching out to faculty who have low Blackboard Ally accessibility scores. Cohorts of about 20 instructors at a time will be enrolled into a 5-6 module/week trainings hosted in our Blackboard LMS instance (utilizing a CourseArc LTI tool). The course, while adapted to the needs and populations at Forsyth Tech, will cover topics very similar to the Accessibility in the Classroom training available through NC State.

ITC 5825 Course Reflection

This semester in Advanced Instructional Design, it took me a while, but eventually the pieces started to “click” for me as I got further along in my designing my portfolio project. I relate it to “building the plane while I was trying to fly it”. I agree with our syllabus that it is always more impactful to associate our coursework with projects that are timely and relevant. Throughout this course I also completed NC State’s Accessibility in the Classroom course (just a few weeks ago) and received their permission to adapt their content for the course I am designing. I think my biggest struggle was determining how all of the evidence based practices/principles connected with instructional design models. What I found is that most of these concepts are all centered around the design and development of learning objectives, creation of content, and implemention in the classroom. Instructional design models and the concepts we explored this semester are so woven together that I may need to use a checklist for a while. However eventually these things will become so second nature that I won’t be thinking, “Ah yes, needs more contiguity!” One of my big takeaways from this course will be sharing “why” behind these principles with colleagues and faculty. Specifically I am thinking about my new position, supervising a small team of media production specialists. They work on a broad range of audio/visual projects, but when it comes to the videos they create for instructional purposes I want my team using best practices. If integrating more audio (modality), getting rid of b-roll (coherence), cutting down wordy slides (reducing redundant info), etc. can increase learning then we need to do that. This is how we lead by example for our faculty and pass these practices along. I haven’t done it yet, but I plan to synthesize the concepts most related to instructional video and lead a session for them very soon.