Author: Abi Johnson

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Help Your Students Develop Personal Responsibility – with Tools You Already Use

The ability for students to benchmark their performance against that of their peers can lead to greater self-awareness, increased effort, and personal achievement. A Blackboard Blog post highlights the use of a tool developed by the University of Maryland Baltimore County. The tool, called Check My Activity, is intended to encourage students’ personal responsibility for learning by allowing them to… Read more →

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Captions as Universal Design

Increasingly, studies are being released that suggest that video captions help more than just D/deaf or hard of hearing students.* I recently watched a webinar on the “e-accessibility” movement at the University of Cincinnati that focused heavily on captioning and made captions the first step to a universal design environment for students. So how can captions help all types of… Read more →

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On UC Berkeley and Accessibility Solutions

In September 2016, UC Berkeley made news for considering taking down their free MOOCs rather than making them accessible.  The full Department of Justice letter cites Berkeley for inaccessible links, videos without captions, lack of alternate text on images and visuals, poor formatting of documents, and using inaccessible websites. UC Berkeley responded with a statement of their own, claiming that… Read more →

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Blackboard Discussion Boards

Blackboard’s Discussion Boards are a great place to build community among your students and to mimic face-to-face classroom discussion in hybrid or online courses. The asynchronous nature of online discussions allows students to reflect on their responses before posting them and can help more reserved students feel comfortable participating. A Forum is a site where instructors and students can hold… Read more →

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Accessibility Checklist – Start Here!

Text and Textbooks/Readings Is your adopted textbook available in a digital format? Is your course pack available digitally, or have you informed your students which books you took chapters from and the original page numbers? Are your syllabus, journal articles and other text content arranged in one-column formats, and saved as Word documents or accessible PDFs? Are you using 12… Read more →

Vista Higher Learning & Blackboard Integration Guide

Why? This guide will show you how to link your Vista Higher Learning course Supersite with your Blackboard course. This allows your rosters to stay in sync and allows students to easily access their Supersite assignments through the Blackboard course. Not only does this method contribute to students’ feeling of consistency across their courses but it also helps ensure that… Read more →

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Online Accessibility Basics

When most people think of accessibility, they might think of something like a wheelchair-accessible bathroom stall, or a ramp instead of stairs. When we talk about online or web accessibility, we have other considerations to keep in mind: tasks which one user might take as second nature are very difficult or impossible for another user. The best way to accommodate… Read more →

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Video Content: Captions and Transcripts

Have you ever watched a foreign language film or TV show and the captions stopped working for a moment or two? It’s a very frustrating experience, especially if you were riveted to the show and you’re missing pertinent information. It’s important to create captions for all video content you create, and to make sure that the captions are accurate. You may… Read more →

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Alternate Text: a Primer

Post-secondary institutions are required to grant all students equal access to course materials and information. When you use images in your PowerPoint presentations, class documents, or other media, you risk making your course inaccessible to certain groups of students. The way to make images accessible to all students is by creating alternative text, or alt text, which describes the image. Alt… Read more →

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Microsoft Accessibility

When creating content for your course, whether online or face-to-face, it is important that you ensure all of your students have equal access to the material presented. We’ve referred to this concept before as universal design. Making documents accessible is very simple, because Microsoft provides tools for creating accessible content in Word, Excel, and in PowerPoint. General Tips Although there are specific do’s… Read more →