Accessibility-Forward Course Development: Implementations of T/L Usability Tools for Improved User Experiences (and Why Ally Will Change Your World)

Concurrent Session 3
Streamed Session

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Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Over the last 3-5 years, an increasing focus in higher education has occurred around the topics of universal design, inclusivity, accessibility, and diversity of learners. The increasingly complex digital resources incorporated both within and outside of the classroom have presented challenges towards inclusivity for faculty who are striving to make their class materials accessible to all. 

Seeing this obvious gap between faculty knowledge/skill and student needs as a growth point for enhancing services, the presenters (administrators in online learning and faculty) will outline several distinct case examples from multiple campuses' successful implementation of a tool to heighten the overall accessibility of educational content;  to shape the culture of accessibility on a university's campus; and to provide metrics to assess growth in digital accessibility over time in a campus envioronment. Additionally, through an audience demonstration and participation activity, we will illustrate some remaining gaps in full educational inclusivity and understanding that have yet to be addressed, and will provide best practice recommendations on how to address these concerns.  

Presenters

Sherri has served as the Director of the Coastal Office of Online Learning at Coastal Carolina University since 2016. She is an Associated Faculty with the Psychology Department at CCU, and specializes in teaching developmental psychology classes online. Sherri has served in academia within the field of online learning for over 17 years in the role of instructional designer, LMS administrator, instructor, and administrator. In addition to her work with Coastal, Sherri also serves the MERLOT organization as the Editor of the Professional Coaching board, as well as an editorial board member and peer reviewer for the Psychology MERLOT board. Her research focuses on methods for improving student success in the academic environment, to include all modalities of learning (online, face-to-face, hybrid, flipped, etc.). She has worked as a consultant for a number of organizations to support the development of online learning initiatives.
Currently I hold the position at Coastal Carolina University as the Instructional Designer for Online Learning. As a Coastal Carolina Alum, it is my passion to maintain a career at the university. I truly enjoy working on campus and working with faculty members to ensure high quality online course development. Instructional Technology is my background. I hold a Master's in IT and am currently working on a Ed.S. degree in IT as well with the intentions on receiving my Ph.D in the near future.
Dr. Melissa Hortman has worked in community colleges, liberal arts, and professional institutions for over a decade. She is currently the Director of Instructional Technology and an Assistant Professor as the Medical University of South Carolina. She serves as the administrator for institution-wide educational technology, which includes the learning management system, lecture capture tool, and other instructional tools. In addition, she also leads initiatives in good instructional design practices, enhancing online learning programs, ensuring digital accessibility, institution-wide faculty development, and innovative teaching techniques. Dr. Hortman also teaches courses in the Office of Interprofessional Initiates and the Master of Science in Clinical Research program. Working with diverse student and faculty populations throughout her background, success is found in the connections that are formed, and her passion is to facilitate and enhance these connections with technology.

Additional Authors

Dr. Sarah Elizabeth Moreman of Birmingham, Alabama earned her doctorate in Higher Education Administration at The University of Alabama by completing an autoethnographical research on how she became a college teacher through writing over time. In addition, Dr. Moreman earned masters in Higher Education Administration and bachelors in English with American Literature concentration, along with a double minor in Business and History, at Auburn University. Dr. Moreman's previous teaching background includes being a peer instructor for "U1000: The Auburn Experience" first year experience course at Auburn University, career exploration and preparation instructor for the deaf and hard of hearing college prep program at Jacksonville State University, and Orientation 101 instructor at Gadsden State Community College. Currently, Dr. Moreman teaches English 101 and 102 at Jefferson State Community College. She recently finished her contract as Educational Technology Consultant at American Society for Reproductive Medicine, an international non-profit medical professional organization. After having served as one of the speakers for TEDxBirmingham 2018 in March, Dr. Moreman continues to carry out the message of her TEDx talk by conducting microvideo conversations with individuals to portray the importance of connection while communicating. In June, Dr. Moreman presented "Applying One College Teacher’s Strategies to Foster Better Communication" at Hearing Loss Association of America [ HLAA 2018 ] Convention in Minneapolis. When it comes to teaching strategies, communicating with students should be considered with utmost importance. There are obstacles to overcome within student-teacher interaction, especially when the teacher has a hearing loss. Students need reassurance that even though their teacher has a hearing loss, they will still receive a significant level of learning. Therefore, strategies to ensure effective communication with students while providing significant learning will be shared. These strategies are applicable for individuals with hearing loss learning how to foster better communication with others in the workplace or in life. In addition to teaching English, Dr. Moreman has her own business as Creative Communications Consultant.

Extended Abstract

Over the last 3-5 years, an increasing focus in higher education has occurred around the topics of universal design, inclusivity, accessibility, and diversity of learners. Higher Education's stance on accessibility along the sliding scale from reactive to proactice has slowly begun to move towards more open accessibility considerations for students, prompted in part by compliance concerns. The increasingly complex digital resources incorporated both within and outside of the classroom have presented challenges towards inclusivity for faculty who are striving to make their class materials accessible to all.

Seeing this obvious gap between faculty knowledge/skill and student needs as a growth point for enhancing services, the presenters (administrators in online learning and faculty) will outline several distinct case examples from multiple campuses' successful implementation of a tool to heighten the overall accessibility of educational content;  to shape the culture of accessibility on a university's campus; and to provide metrics to assess growth in digital accessibility over time in a campus envioronment.

Furthermore, this comprehensive presentation will also take an even deeper dive into fully-inclusive teaching and learning environments, taking into consideration an oftentimes overlooked area of accessibility-the faculty member. Through an audience demonstration and participation activity, we will illustrate some remaining gaps in full educational inclusivity and understanding that have yet to be addressed--and will provide best practice recommendations on how to address these concerns.