Two to Tango: Implementing Effective Pedagogy While Practicing Sound Digital Accessibility in Your Online Course Design

Concurrent Session 6
Streamed Session Best in Track

Brief Abstract

There are two crucial "partners" at play in creating an effective online course: pedagogical practices and Digital Accessibility. Attend this session to have a collaborative interchange with others to explore these crucial components of online teaching. Focus on the smooth coordination of these crucial components to execute a perfect "dance."


Harriette L. Spiegel, Ph.D., has worked in the field of Educational Technology for over 15 years. She has taught computer literacy, educational technology, and educational psychology. Her research interests include online teaching and learning, Digital Accessibility, Adult Education, and online teaching of ESL to pre-service-teachers .

Extended Abstract


In executing a dance, partners must practice and coordinate their "moves." Similarly, the two partners of best practices in pedagogy and Digital Accessibility must be coordinated to produce a seemingly effortless "dance" in the effective online course. This presentation will explore two crucial components of effective online teaching: pedagogical tools and Digital Accessibility guidelines. The audience will self-reflect on their uses of these components, and a group discussion will expand the role of pedagogy and Digital Accessibility in effective online teaching.


Description and Goals

Aligned with the "Teaching and Learning Practice" Track, and "Educate and Reflect" Session, this presentation will follow the prescribed format of the 30 minute presentation, 5 minute individual reflection, and10 minutes of group Q&A, to address two aspects of "Teaching and Learning Practice":

1. Accessibility, Universal Design, and inclusivity in technology-enhanced learning;

2. Pedagogical practices that support, encourage, and enhance student success and persistence.


A handout of resources will be provided and posted on the website.


The goal of the presentation is both to elicit audience suggestions for best practices in online teaching that reflect use of Digital Accessibility guidelines and sound pedagogy, and to encourage audience reflection about their own best practices in these areas. From an overview of "best practices" for effective online teaching, I will highlight and describe selected strategies regarding Digital Accessibility and pedagogical practices to use in executing the effective online course. For instance, as learner populations become increasingly diverse, implementing ever-present principles of Digital Accessibility and Universal Design in online course design is crucial, and basic knowledge of Digital Accessibility includes the best practice of adding alternative text to images and graphics. An example of pedagogy is the use of discussions for establishing a relationship between instructor and learner and promoting social learning; discussions have been explored in the research as a pedagogical tool, and implemented in notable programs. After the stipulated 30-minute presentation in which I introduce and review these topics, I will ask the audience to reflect individually about the presentation after I give them basic guidelines for their responses. These individual reflections will prompt audience contributions in the group discussion during the culminating 10-minute Q&A period. I will guide this group discussion, and will ask audience members to describe their own effective strategies in online teaching. Guiding questions could include:

1. "After reflecting about the information presented regarding Digital Accessibility and Universal Design as significant components of effective online course design, how would you approach the implementation of pedagogical strategies and digital accessibility in your online course?"

2. "After reflection about the best practices for online teaching that were presented, pick two strategies that you might use for effective teaching."

Such initial guiding questions will lead to other questions, resulting in a rich collection of contributions by the audience members. The OLC session coordinators will collect the audience contributions for future sharing.

Unique strategies for engaging audience: At the beginning of the session, a word cloud (a graphic with key words spread around in a "cloud" of text) such as a "Wordle" will be displayed on the screen, and the audience will be asked to take a good look at it and think to themselves what the purpose of the "Wordle" might be, and ask them to think of additional words as they listen to the presentation. During the 5-minute reflection after the 30-minute presentation, the "Wordle" will again be displayed. At the end of the session, if time and technology allow, I will collect additional terms presented through the discussion and create a reworked "Wordle" which I can post on the Web and share with a "tinyURL."