Sharing What I Find

Instructional Design and Technology in Education

October 24, 2018
by Heidi Olson
Comments Off on ID2ID Accessibility: Fact or fiction webinar notes

ID2ID Accessibility: Fact or fiction webinar notes

Presenter: Kelly Hermann, VP, Accessibility Strategy @ University of Phoenix

Five most common statements heard on the road

The vendor told me that the product was ADA compliant so I don’t need to worry about this one.


  • consider whom message is coming from
  • ADA compliant
    • no such thing as ADA compliant when talking about educational technology or digital environment – it depends and not specifics are given
  • Law says, all programs, courses, and activities must be accessible to individuals with disabilities
    • no standard to follow this law – Section 508  is really related to Federal funds for procurement of software and other activities. Some states have adopted this standard as law
  • Best to follow Web Content Accessibility (WCAG) 2.0 AA. often cited in resolution agreements by both Civil Rights and Department of Justice. Most likely if you follow these guidelines, you’ll be ok. Always best to consult to your legal services

Every piece of content I want to share with students has to be accessible or I can’t use it.

Both fact and fiction!

  • Good to see you’re paying attention. Bad to be so passive aggressive!
  • Be proactive rather than reactive
    • doesn’t make sense not to make docs, videos, and audio files accessible while you’re developing a course.
  • Not all accessibilities are the same – not all blind students are alike, you may still have to make accommodations
  • Prioritize what content has to be accessible before a request is made and what can wait for a student request.
    • those things that take a long time to make accessible that will need to be modified at some point
    • These should alway be done: captions, transcripts, descriptive hyperlinks, accessible PDFs, alt text for images.
      • materials that aren’t your own – make good effort to to content copyright holder and ask them to caption it or let you caption it (or accessibility it)
        • ex. Amara to run video through another platform to add captions
        • video files need both captions and transcript

I should develop my content first and then worry about accessibility.


  • Less expensive (and stressful) to build as you go rather than retrofit
    • Videos – start with a script to be used as a transcription and captions
    • Text documents – use build-in features esp. style headings to make document navigable
    • Slides – use layout template to allow screen readers to read text from an outline view
  • Accessibility Checker (Microsoft)

My institute just bought (insert whatever accessibility tool’s name here). We’re all set and I don’t have to worry about accessibility anymore.


  • tools are helpful, but shouldn’t be seen as an overall strategy
    • garbage in, garbage out
  • does not account for varying degrees of usability and user experience

Access is an institutional responsibility and everyone has a role to play in removing barriers.


  • it is the law
  • law doesn’t distinguish between who does what or hot
  • when we create and share content with students we should make sure that it is accessible
  • it isn’t that hard to improve accessibility that requires fancy programs or skills
  • it just make sense and is helpful to all students

Actions you can take

  • create committee to tackle issues
    • develop policy for course development, lines of responsibility (include procurement activities)
  • start a training program, find resources to supplement your expertise
  • ask your students – what works for them, draw on their experiences and ask them to share both formally and informally
  • develop a communication plan to raise awareness and point folks to resources.
    • get DS to share data to faculty and institution

Active learning is often hard to make accessible

  • might have to think about what we did before technology entered into our world.
  • Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality issues
    • what is the typical experience
      • if I can’t see, what will I miss? If I can’t hear, what will I miss? If my brain doesn’t keep up or if I need to a repeat, what will I miss?
  • What is the learning objective — what outcome are you expecting – what are you hoping will come out of the activity or what will it do.
  • What will it help that student learn
  • Consider something as equitable vs. quality

Look at accessibility as a chance to be creative or a challenge, not as a burden!



October 11, 2018
by Heidi Olson
Comments Off on Google Course Kit – integrating Google into workflow

Google Course Kit – integrating Google into workflow

What is it?

Use Google suite within LMS

  • LTI standard
  • Saves time for giving feedback/interactions
  • leverage power of google files

Currently in Beta

Course Kit assignment

  • create assignment within LMS
  • submit files from drive or from hard drive
  • accommodates any file that you can store in drive
    • manage file permission exchange so when students turn in an assignment, the permissions changes while it is being graded (similar to classroom)
    • backup file automatically created when an assignment gets submitted so original state is available
  • Student and File switcher
    • like a filter so you can switch between student submissions for multiple assignments or between the same assignment for all students
  • Repetitive feedback – use the Comment bank
  • Returning student work
    • individual or in bulk
    • synchs grade with LMS
    • email notification to students with link back to assignment
    • file exchange changes permission back to student so in reserve, back up file automatically created so instructors have a preserved copy
  • from teach side – view of embedded assignment shows who has submitted and who hasn’t.
    • new grading interface lets you give a grade, add overall comments and use suggestions (by default) to add suggestions or can switch to leave margin comments
    • reuse comments with comment bank (saves commonly used feedback) by inserting # to use and add comment bank
  • Comments can be added to PDFs as well as other Google files
  • Uploaded files (will convert to Google file with original file retained)
    • file is returned as a Google doc

Course Kit file embed

  • embed any file from drive into LMS
  • automatically sets up sharing permission


  • Not currently working with Turnitin but may in the future
  • doesn’t currently incorporate rubrics functionality
    • course use add-on
  • embed doc are automatically updated
  • uses institutional gmail account
  • ownership of backup files go with user, not to LMS
  • Comments can also be added media files (anything that can be stored in Drive can be commented on)
  • Permissions – anyone with the link is the default
  • Comment banks are available across assignments and across courses. Working on a way to customize so comment banks can be course specific
  • embedded docs 508 compliant (uses iframes) so if file in drive is accessible then yes
  • peer-to-peer review/grading – coming soon
  • When LMS courses are copied, assignments are also copied as well as embedded file.


  • Multiple instructors – who owns the submitted copy?
  • Group assignments?
  • Adding handwritten annotations?
  • Make a copy option – looking into making this happen
  • Will Kaizena work with Course Kit?


September 26, 2018
by Heidi Olson
Comments Off on ID2ID Student device preferences for online course access and multimedia learning

ID2ID Student device preferences for online course access and multimedia learning

Notes from ID2ID webinar posted September 21, 2018

(all slide images came from the webinar and are available on the report)

How are students accessing our online classes?

  • where is evidence that students are using mobile technology?
  • device ownership
  • preference for using devices
  • interest in new device purchasing equipment

Owing or borrowing


only 3 people didn’t own a smartphone

student preference for accessing LMS – laptop?

student preference for viewing video – phone?

student preference for viewing video – laptop?

18-24 – almost 82% preferred laptop

over 25 – preferred desktop






Most likely to purchase a new device:

  • education 40%
  • work/job
  • games/entertainment
  • communication
  • other

74.8% students said they would consider buying a new device it they thought it would benefit their education.

35 or older – higher rate of “yes”

18-24 – predominately “no”

Find results at:

September 20, 2018
by Heidi Olson
Comments Off on This One is Going to Need Some Work: Building Relationships Through Difficult Conversations

This One is Going to Need Some Work: Building Relationships Through Difficult Conversations

This QM session was focused on working with faculty on a course review/redesign or evaluation. Listen, Ask questions. The conversation isn’t about you or what you can do, it is about the instructor and the course and what the instructor thinks the instructor needs.

Build relationships – find a parallel or something in common between yourselves.

You’ve looked at the course – allow them to show you through the course. This lets you see how they view the navigation and what is important to them. They should be able to tell you why they made the design choices. Reinforce those things that they are proud of.

Assignment tool: I’ve looking for one assignment per module, that align with the course objectives, etc. Point out what was done well and then make some suggestions and opportunities.

Explain design choices. Be able to explain design choices.

Cruical Conversations Tools for talking when the stakes are high. Patterson, Grenny, McMillian, and Switzer.

March 22, 2018
by Heidi Olson
Comments Off on Course Alignment- QM Bring Your Appetite for Creating Course Alignment

Course Alignment- QM Bring Your Appetite for Creating Course Alignment

Larissa Cremeens  and Laura Cole @ Univ of So. Indiana

Slides & Resources (mapping worksheet) (mapping tables) (mapping worksheet example)


What’s going on at USI –

Created a generic course topic to help show faculty how to develop or revise a course.


How would you get started?

  • drafting syllabus
  • research instructional materials
  • creating lectures
  • course objectives

Course objectives

Faculty benefit

guides material, activities and assessments

Student benefit




To come up with course objectives for your course

Format: excel or word both



Next step – module objectives

Small and discrete pieces


Modules can be confusing: weeks, units, chapters, etc.

  • Specific objectives can be a good way to describe the small intervals

What steps does a student need to take to get to this objective? (refer back to formula and Bloom’s taxonomy. Make sure module objectives don’t go beyond the course objectives.



To get you from one point to another


What do you want students to do? Every objective needs an assessment.

Consider “authentic assessments” that are aligned to your objectives


Can also be an “assessment” since there is learning and doing something required.


red – summative assessment example (covers more objectives)

Instructional Activity

Can also create a worksheet for instructional materials for complete view of alignment.


March 22, 2018
by Heidi Olson
Comments Off on Bb Retention Center

Bb Retention Center

These are notes from Bb training on the Retention Center

  • there is a space for keeping notes on students to help keep track of communications, etc.
  • can send announcements right from center
  • can send email notifications from center

Set your thresh hold criteria and can also customize for specifics

  1. shows at risk student based on criteria
  2. shows specific information or identify students that you are monitoring like students who are doing well
  3. keeps track of instructor activity to help monitor interactions


March 14, 2018
by Heidi Olson
Comments Off on Reflection and activities for Illustrator and Spark

Reflection and activities for Illustrator and Spark

Here’s a link to my working Learning Journal for Adobe’s Graphics and Illustrations for Educators course. I’m going to try to take this 5-week class as a refreshing on Illustrator.

image that

December 12, 2017
by Heidi Olson
Comments Off on Advanced Forumlas (Google Sheets) – 30 day challenge

Advanced Forumlas (Google Sheets) – 30 day challenge

A group of us are going through a 30-day Advanced Excel challenge. Here’s some things I learned:

Day 8

Match (goes along with Index)

  • this looks at your data and tells you the position of the item you want to match. It doesn’t tell you the row/column, just the position within your search range. I guess you would use this when sorting or using the find isn’t an option.
  • will likely use this most often with wildcards (“*” or “?”)

Day 7

  • Index and count functions to return data information for a summary or data update

Day 6

vLookups are pretty straight forward. Was able to use a named range for the look up table as learned from Day 1.

Day 5

whoa – custom number formats including

or format using Conditional formatting using formulas instead of default options

Day 4

Data Validation using formulas as the criteria

  • unique(filter…) to pull specific information related to a selection — only those options that apply (i.e. select Instructor name and only be given the classes that instructor teaches)
  • countif

Day 3

  • counta – for text entries along with */word/* as wildcard
  • countunique – counts unique values with ability to add additional values (not quite sure when you might use that unless you also have a default something you want to include)

Should be able to use the unique function to select the new to eCampus courses that are added each semester. Our combined list is over 800 courses and sometimes it is hard to tell which course/instructor combination is actually new.

Day 2

  • double click cell handle to copy down the column — so simple — how did I miss this!
  • if / ifs and/or – multiple ways to combine column information
  • sumif and sumifs – calculate a sum based on one or more criteria.

Day 1

  • names ranges – so if the the specific cell position changes, it doesn’t change your function
  • Paste special – values only – if you want to change values from calculated functions to actual numbers

November 7, 2017
by Heidi Olson
Comments Off on Notes from QM Accessibility: 8 Tips for Addressing Accessibility

Notes from QM Accessibility: 8 Tips for Addressing Accessibility

Students with disabilities as of 2012

What can we do to get on the right path to address accessibility? Presenter’s Accessibility Tips Handout (PDF)

Structure and readability (SRS 8.1 and 8.4)

  • consistent and logical layout
  • navigation
  • structure of documents (flow)
  • chunked with headings (appropriately labeled) and whitespace
  • spacing between lines – use space before/after to adjust spacing instead of paragraph returns
  • use a TOC if documents are long (5 or 8 pages)

Watch this video to get a feel for screen readers

Tables (SRS 8.1 and 8.4)

  • designate columns and row headers
  • add alt text
  • do not merge or split table cells

Fonts (SRS 8.1 and 8.4)

  • use a sans serif for online reading, especially for long blocks of text
  • color contrast
  • web resources: color contrast checker:  find webcolors
  • colorblind (1:12 men and 1:200 women are color deficient) (National Eye Institute)
  • don’t use color as sole meaning
  • don’t underline for empahsis
  • use descriptive links instead of entire URLs
  • include document types notation beside link (PDF, 750 KB or video 1:09 mins)

Images (SRS 8.3)

  • concise but descriptive

  • personal focus, emotion
  • Word: ALT text goes in description field, not title)
  • complex diagrams and charts – add detail description through alternative means

Scanned documents (SRS 8.4)

  • scan as text not as an image
  • adobe reader – use read out loud feature to test

Accessibility checkers (SRS 8.1, 8.3, 8.4)

  • check issues feature within Word
  • Adobe Reader use read-out loud feature
  • – to test web pages

Accessibility statements (SRS 8.2)

  • VPAT – Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (search for this with your product)

Multimedia (SRS 8.3)

  • accurate transcripts & captions
    • errors are bad

Search for closed captions in YouTube by adding “, cc” behind search string

Tips & Resources

Universal Design – Best Practices for Online Learning

National Center of Universal Design for Learning


Increasing Litigation

Webinar recording

September 28, 2017
by Heidi Olson
Comments Off on Bb Exemplary Course Program Part II

Bb Exemplary Course Program Part II

Following are my notes based on the second part of a series that Blackboard is giving showing off some of their Exemplary Courses. (note: you have to register for the entire series to watch the recording.) This week we looked at COMM 3500: Technical Communications taught by Dr. Han Nee Chong from Hawaii Pacific University.  This session looked specifically at Interaction and Collaboration which is the second part of the Exemplary Course Rubric.

Interaction —  what happens in each of these three groups

  1. student-to-student
  2. student-to-content
  3. student-to-instructor

Collaboration — subset of interaction where groups are working on a shared result

This is the instructor’s presentation.

Dr Chong has gamified her course and has created weekly quests that take students through the research process, which is one of the objectives of her class.

Discussion – creating characters personas as well as avatars — all based on Dungeons and Dragons for the class

  • fights
  • wizards
  • clerics
  • rogues
  • rangers

In the introductory post students introduced themselves and their persona and what special powers they might have.

The instructor carried the theme of the game through her tone and changing (or renaming) names of common Bb tools and features.

Librarians are the wizards, instructor was the Game master and students are Adventurers; Procrastination Monster, First Draft Dragon, etc.

Groups (Safe Haven) were formed as a place for peer review to share papers  (hide tools that weren’t available to cut down on choices) 5-6 members.

Structured weekly forums in Discussion Forum (The Tavern)

  • extra credit for answering each others questions

Announcement Tool (The Oracle)

  • weekly announcements including anticipated questions for the week

Badges for successful quest completions – didn’t base on merit but only on submission and participation

It sounds like once the introductory discussion was over, students who didn’t like the theme could following the syllabus and move forward through the assignments.

It wasn’t clear that these persona’s were actually used later on in the class or if it was just a one-time thing. Did doesn’t sound like the student user their “special powers” later on in assignments or discussions nor did the persona’s come back into how students answered discussion questions? For example – like the Rogue character taking on the devil’s advocate?

Shared resources:

Welcome video


Course Blueprint (xls)