Using Technology to Scale Online Course Accessibility

Concurrent Session 4
Streamed Session Best in Strand

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Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Learn how UCF is utilizing various technologies to efficiently scale online course accommodations for students with disabilities.


John Raible is an Associate Instructional Designer at the University of Central Florida's Center for Distributed Learning. In this role, he works with faculty to transition courses from face-to-face to the blended or online environment. His research areas include the integration of emerging technology into online curriculum, accessibility for online learners, and the use of OER materials. He has presented at local, state, national, and international conferences; John has been published in multiple peer-reviewed journals.
Nancy Swenson has a MA degree in Educational Technology from the University of Central Florida. She has a B.S from Florida International University in Business Education. Nancy has worked at the Center for Distributed Learning at UCF as an Instructional Designer since 2000. Prior to working at UCF, she taught business education classes in the public school system for 13 years. She has also worked as an adjunct with Florida Virtual School, Valencia Community College, and the University of Central Florida. Her online teaching and learning research interests include adult learning theory, accessibility of online education, and universal design for learning. Nancy has presented on similar topics at a variety of conferences including: EDUCAUSE, EDUCAUSE Southeast, SLOAN-Consortium International Conference on Online Learning, EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) Webinar, and Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) Annual Conference, and Accessing Higher Ground, Annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference (CSUN)

Extended Abstract

The Center for Distributed Learning (CDL) is the central agent for distance learning at the University of Central Florida (UCF). CDL partners with our Student Accessibility Services (SAS) office to ensure online course accessibility. An important issue at UCF is scaling immediate need accommodations This session will focus on how UCF is combining several innovative technological solutions to address scale.

Data: 7
Tapping Institutional Data: SAS has granted CDL access to securely access student accommodation information. Pairing this information with existing institutional information has provided great insight into past, current, and future enrollment trends. This data has proven very useful in demostration the growth of students with disabilities taking online courses and providing as much time as possible to apply accommodations. 


CDL is utlizing several vendor products to help scale accommodations.
    •    OCR: Piloting ABBYY Recognition Server to bulk OCR PDFs for screen reader and text to speech users.
    •    Captioning: Using Vimeo API to bulk submit videos to 3play Media for captioning.
    •    Investigating the integration of JWplayer into the LMS to provide close caption ability for third party YouTube videos.

Custom Tools:

In addition to contracting with vendors, CDL has made the strategic investment to build faculty and staff facing tools.
    •   A custom LTI called Quiz Extensions for the Instructure Canvas LMS. This provides faculty an easy bulk process for applying testing accommodations to every quiz.
    •  UDOIT scans HTML course content for accessibility issues according to WCAG 2.0 standards. This product is open source; however, it is currently limited to the Instructure        Canvas LMS.

Applying the aforementioned solutions has increased UCF’s ability to provide immediate need accommodations and improve faculty attitudes toward the accommodation process.