Digital Accessibility – Creating Accessible Content

Four images (left to right) representing hearing, braille, cognitive and visual. Image links to Wiki information pages.

New Legislation

New accessibility legislation means that Universities have to make improvements to the information on our websites and VLE.  This includes all of your uploaded documents.  The rules will apply to new online content from Sept 2019 and will be applied to existing content by Sept 2020. 

Basic process chart showing key dates for making content accessible from 2018 to 2021.

As you are setting up new modules over the summer this is a perfect time to check the accessibility of content.   For 2018/19 our content accessibility score was 64% which is a great baseline to start from.  If you would like to check how accessible a course/module is get in touch with ltdsupport and we can provide the information & a summary of the top issues.  

It is essential that all department managers ensure that accessibility is high on the agenda for any departmental meetings so that all staff are aware of their obligation to make their course materials accessible.  

With just a few quick and simple steps you can vastly improve the content you upload to Learning Edge, so that all students are able to use it in a way that suites them and their needs.  We have put together a resource kit in our wiki pages containing lots of information on how to make your content accessible. 

Image shows the different sections of information that the Wiki covers. This includes documents, PDF documents, Slides, Ally & Inclusive Practice, Websites, wikis and blogs and Multimedia.

 

 

 

 

Leah WilsonOperations Coordinator

Staff Development in June

Turnitin & Electronic Marking Awareness with Adrian Cain
12th June 19

Following an overview of all the EMA (Electronic Management of Assessment) tools used at Edge Hill, the session will then concentrate on Turnitin Feedback Studio the most widely used of all the EMA tools. It will look at EHU Guidelines, consistency of set-up and practice, student formative use for academic writing development, and it will offer a hands-on practical where attendees can mimic some of the electronic submissions process from both a tutor and students’ perspective.

Academic Staff Development Fortnight

From the 17th to the 28th of June Library and Learning Services invite you to a fortnight of events designed to update your skills and knowledge of the support we offer – from Research Support to Student Engagement, and everything in between. The full event timetable is available here and sessions can be booked through My View.
The Learning Technology Development (LTD) Team will be running the below sessions:

Give Your Course a Digital MOT with Adrian Cain
17th June 1pm-2pm & 27th June 11am-12pm

Have you booked your MOT?

A supportive peer review session aimed at helping you audit and fine tune your Blackboard course area to maximise its effectiveness and impact on student learning. Gain an objective assessment against critical agendas, such as:
-Inclusion
-Baseline
-Electronic Marking of Assessments
-Consistency of students’ experience
-Retention
Members of the LTD team will help you develop an individual action plan to help enhance your course areas now and in the future.

 

Using Panopto and Ally with Martin Baxter & Mark Wilcock
26th June 11am – 12pm

This session will review and offer insight into Inclusive/Accessible learning and the tools availability within the institution. We will demonstrate the benefits of Blackboard Ally and Panopto to enhance the student learning experience.

  • Review the level of content accessibility and systematically prioritise where improvements can be made.
  • Auto generated ‘Alternative’ formats and how they can support different learning styles
  • Going beyond lecture capture with Panopto

Catalyst 1st Year Anniversary Celebration

On Wednesday 19th June we’ll be celebrating a full year of Catalyst (already!!) with a celebratory day of competitions, exhibitions, activities and more from all of the teams based in Catalyst.

The LTD garage and show room will be located behind the help desk – visit us and find out why LTD have all your motoring needs covered.

Build the ideal course car (involves lego!), race it and win a prize.

Catalyst Opening Day Picture advertising Date and time

 

 

 

Leah WilsonOperations Coordinator

Turnitin and Panopto Training

The Learning Technology team are running two new essential training sessions Turnitin & Electronic Marking Awareness and Panopto – Recording and Utilising Video for Learning.

Turnitin & Electronic Marking Awareness
Facilitator – Adrian Cain (LTDO)

Following an overview of all the EMA (Electronic Management of Assessment) tools used at Edge Hill, the session will then concentrate on Turnitin Feedback Studio the most widely used of all the EMA tools. It will look at EHU Guidelines, consistency of set-up and practice, student formative use for academic writing development, and it will offer a hands-on practical where attendees can mimic some of the electronic submissions process from both a tutor and students’ perspective.

21/05/19 13:00-14:00 & 13/06/17 13:00-14:00 in Catalyst Oak Room. 

Panopto – Recording and Utilising Video for Learning
Facilitators – Mark Wilcock (LTDO) & Andrea Wright (Senior Lecturer/CLT)

This session aims to go beyond the generic use of lecture capture, with focus on the other pedagogical ways to develop content that all students can access in a way that enables them to be more effective learners.  We will demonstrate the different ways in which Panopto can be used.  Specifically, around generating media for weekly round ups, general revision, student recordings and online video submission.

Ideally your will have prior experience of setting up and using Panopto to benefit from this session.

20/05/19 10:00-11:00 in Catalyst Oak Room

Book through MyView (can be found under Learning & Teaching Technologies)

Email ltdsupport@edgehill.ac.uk for more information or to inquire about specific training for your Department.

 

 

 

Leah WilsonOperations Coordinator

The 8th Student Digital Learning Survey (and Amazon Prize Draw)

The 8th Student Digital Learning Survey is now live.  Tell us about your experience, expectations and use of technology-enhanced teaching and learning at Edge Hill.

This is your chance to have your say and make a difference.  We will use your responses to continue to improve existing services and inform new developments.

Over the last 10 years we have listened to your feedback, good, bad & ugly and made positive improvements.  We will publish a report of our findings & recommendations based on the analysis of the survey’s results later in the year.

If you are an Edge Hill student, please complete our survey. We realise that your time is precious – it will take no more than 10 minutes to complete and we have added an incentive of a prize draw of £100, £50 and £25 Amazon vouchers.

You can access the survey via your Blackboard course homepage, or from ehu.ac.uk/LSDigitalSurvey2019

We plan to close the survey on 30th April 2019.

 

 

 

Leah WilsonOperations Coordinator

Ally for Students

“Ally for Students” is a marketing campaign aimed at reminding students what Blackboard Ally means for them. The campaign runs alongside support for staff, helping them fine-tune skills to improve their content so that all students can use that content in a way that meets their needs and in ways they prefer to access it.

Ally for Students digital sign

Ally’s alternative versions mean students can go to Learning Edge, access instructor generated content in their Blackboard modules, in a format they want it. Students are often on the go and may require a version of a document that they can listen to.

The audio version means students can download an audio file (MP3), that they can then playback on a mobile device.

The HTML version allows them to access content through a browser and on their mobile device.

ePub files are supported by many e-readers, and compatible software is available for most smartphones, tablets, and computers.

The “Ally for Students” campaign will run for two months beginning March through to May 2019. Students will start to see information about Ally via the Student Portal and digital display screens across campus, explaining what can be downloaded and how they can download it.

Edge Hill University investment in Blackboard Ally is, in part, to help fulfil its obligation and government accessibility requirements in line with level AA of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1). GOV.UK Digital inclusion and accessibility.

If you would like any further information about Blackboard Ally, and other learning technologies, please contact your Technologist via Ask LTD.

Martin Baxter

 

 

Martin Baxter
Learning Technology Development Officer

 

Lynda.com is Becoming LinkedIn Learning

Computer UserMany of you have used the Lynda.com video library to help you learn how to use new software, or perhaps to help you develop other skills.

You might also know that Lynda.com is owned by LinkedIn, who have been developing LinkedIn Learning as a new place to access the video courses.

Edge Hill University will be upgrading from Lynda.com to LinkedIn Learning on Sunday the 20th of January. You will still have access to the same resources, and LinkedIn Learning will look very similar to what you are used to. Following the upgrade you will be asked to agree to set-up a new account on LinkedIn Learning, and you can even link this to an existing LinkedIn account.

Things to remember:

  • The resources will be unavailable on Sunday 20th January 2019, while the upgrade occurs.
  • When logging in after the upgrade, you will be prompted to upgrade your account.
  • Any web links pointing to Lynda.com, will redirect to LinkedIn Learning, however we would recommend updating your links as soon as you have time.
  • Improvements following the upgrade include the ability to add links to external resources to playlists, and we will promote these developments in more detail after the upgrade.

Please get in contact with me if you have any questions.

Thanks


beaumont_smaller

Peter Beaumont
Learning Technology Development Officer

Blackboard Ally is being rolled out January 2019

Blackboard Ally Banner

To support our commitment to a more inclusive campus, we’re introducing a new tool called Ally!

What is Blackboard Ally

Ally helps your students get the most from their course resources, and help you make your Blackboard space inclusive for all. Blackboard Ally automatically converts course resources into a variety of formats, from HTML and e-book for reading on mobile devices, to Electronic Braille for the visually impaired, and audio for learning on the go.

Ally also helps you make small changes to resources you upload to make them more accessible, in easy-to-follow steps.

Instructors will see a small dial icon next to any uploaded content giving an indication of how accessible it is. Clicking this icon will detail issues along with helpful guidance and a simple interface to fix them. Students do not see these accessibility indicators, the only interaction they have with Ally is downloading automatically generated alternative formats.

Ally accessible score icons.

Ally is being rolled out in the New Year (January 2019): to find out more, explore these quick guides from Blackboard to get you started.

For Instructors – get to know Ally

For Students – How to access usable resources

Twitter users can also follow #BbAlly to see how others across the HE sector are using Ally.

If you would like any further information about Blackboard Ally, and other learning technologies, please contact your Technologist via Ask LTD

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Mark Wilcock
Learning Technologist

 

 

Inclusive by Design

International Day of Persons with Disabilities

As part of Learning Service’s “Inclusive by Design” initiative and on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Learning Technology Development (LTD) want to mention some of the things we are doing to support staff to generate content and resources that are usable for all.  The team are working with others to improve content across all areas but more importantly for students to be able to use resources in a way that suites them and their needs.

Introducing Blackboard Ally (coming January 2019).

  • Ally provides you guidance on how to correct accessibility issues with your digital course content. Students are able to download a version of the file most appropriate for their device and need.

Social Sites – VLE Skip Link option.

  • Important for keyboard-only users to navigate VLE content without getting bogged down in a seemingly never ending series of clicks before they are able to move on to the next item.

Transcripts and Closed Captions.

  • The latest LTD video productions contain transcripts for those who prefer to follow the action in word form.  Closed captions offer everyone the ability to follow what is being said, especially good for those when English isn’t their first language.

Our Staff Development Programme.

  • Aims to support staff in the production of content that means all students can benefit from your content, in a way they prefer and suites their learning style.

Want to learn more about these and how they and other technologies can support student learning, contact your Learning Technology Development Officer.

Summer Upgrade (Blackboard)

The summer 2018 upgrade has been quite a big deal for the Learning Technology Team.  We have been months in planning for the latest upgrade with the idea in mind that if we do it right then you shouldn’t see any difference!  It does make sense… honestly… let us briefly explain;

For a number of years Blackboard Learning Edge has been provided from a ‘hosted service’ but we have now moved to a SaaS (Software as a Service) model.  This means that, whereas before we had to carefully manage modifications, updates, bug fixes and upgrades this is now handled at the core by Blackboard and so we will have significantly less downtime in the future as updates and upgrades can happen subtly with less end-user inconvenience.

So as mentioned, you shouldn’t actually see any difference but what this will allow us to do is introduce more interesting features and functions over the next year or so rather than one big summer bang!

So what is there to come?

We’re aiming to bring in an improved way of managing content within Learning Edge which should make it easier to manage files and share them across courses and modules.  Also on the timeline are tools such as Panopto quizzes, improvements to Qwickly (with Qwickly Attendance Pro) and also the potential for a (basic) portfolio tool within Blackboard.  We are also beginning pilots with a few users to try out some new accessibility tools to give students the best possible experience when studying in your course areas and modules.

What can I use now?

There have been a few noticeable changes, like you now have access to an improved Grade Centre view including:

  • An ‘expand‘ button in the top right-hand corner so you can see more Grade Centre ‘real-estate’:

  • also responsive column headers so that they will stack if they are long and need to go onto two lines or more:

  • and a tool that we think will come in very handy is the new ‘Availability‘ button for quick on/off access to the course or module.

If you would like any further help or advice on your use of Learning Edge, Blackboard or any other learning technologies then please get in touch with your departmental Learning Technologist.  Details can be found within the Staff and/or Help tabs within Blackboard:

…or you can drop a line to ltdsupport@edgehill.ac.uk

Hosting all around – 360° video content.

360° content is increasing in popularity.

360 video on smart phoneThe production of 360 degree content couldn’t be easier; most of us have access to devices capable of capturing images that software or apps can stitch together to give an immersive viewing experience.

Lecturers across the university continue to explore this technology, generating good quality content for students to access through their devices whilst studying a module.

However, our own Media Production Team have invested Sample of 360° video camerasin the latest Insta360 Pro 360º professional camera, which they explain, presents a whole range of new possibilities when filming around campus. To learn more about the Media Production Team and the Insta360, visit the Learning Services wiki pages.

Examples of use: Areas across campus where 360° video is being used and generating interest:

  • Faculty of Health and Social Care – Paramedics and the 360° Experience. An ambitious project which aims to expose students to a variety of environments, giving them a sense of being present at a scene without actually being there in person (virtual practitioner).  Barry Mathews (Lecturer in Paramedic Practice and Pre-hospital Care) is exploring the potential of 360° images to simulate hazardous and clinical settings. Students will practice their observational skills and identify individual hazards and use this to influence their dynamic operational risk assessment.
  • Whilst on field trips with her students, Susan Jones (Lecturer – Geographical Information Systems) produced a series of 360° photographs of locations visited along the Northwest Coastline of scientific interest.  For Sue, who is keen to start using immersive content on her modules, this was an exciting time to (metaphorically speaking), tentatively dip a toe into the immersive water. Initial thoughts suggest there is value in producing content that students can use for revision, that gives them the means to study and explore areas of interest and identify points of reference.
  • The University Library, as part of its introduction to staff and students, has produced a 360° tour. People can take a virtual look around the different spaces and facilities before actually visiting in person. Interactive hot-spots provide information whilst red target-like buttons make it possible to move from room to room and between floors.

Other uses of 360 content:

  • Capital Projects site walk-through (CATALYST). Experience Edge Hill University’s newest £26m building, go on a tour with others and see how the building looks during its construction.
  • Aintree Library IT Suite and Issue Desk 360° Images. Never visited Edge Hill University’s Aintree Library? These photosphere images give you an all-round view of the IT Suite, Issue Desk, study space and shelf stock.

Plans for future use:

  • Paul Ward’s (Head of English and History) interest in 360 content, to make resources that are fun and interactive.  It also enables the department to address all the disciplines; so for example, a virtual fieldtrip using 360 would allow historians to look at developments across time, linguists to look at language use in different contexts, creative writers to visit new settings for fiction, and literary critics to explore literary connections or literary settings.  Paul goes on to say, “It also shows students how digital technologies that they are familiar with are learning and research tools”.

Options for hosting your 360° video content.

There are many hosting options around, the trouble is most offer hosting at a price, via a subscription, or they have free versions that are limited in features or for a limited time.

Here, we look at three of the most popular services used by staff at Edge Hill University.

About each platform

Online option: YouTube

YouTube Logo

A free video sharing/social website where anyone with an account can view, upload and share content.

If you need your content to be shared worldwide, YouTube is the second largest search engine. However, if you wish to target your audience, for instance within a module, by hosting your videos on YouTube, you are sending your audience to a third party site. This means that YouTube videos will be more visible within Google, compared to the videos embedded on your modules.

Unwanted content, clutter can be distracting for some, particularly those with a Specific Learning Difficulty (SpLD). YouTube’s auto play function means students may view unrelated content based on their own search criteria and pattern.

Online option: Vimeo

Vimeo Logo

Aimed at giving filmmakers a platform to present and promote their work.

Unlike YouTube, Vimeo doesn’t rely on funding from ads, preferring to offer a service which has less clutter, charging a membership fee for 500MB of space per month. Unless you opt for Pro membership, Vimeo’s video player incorporates its logo alongside your content.

Institution option: Panopto

Panopto LogoInstitutional platform to manage, live stream, record, and share videos across an organisation and/or a specific module in Learning Edge.

A secure platform for educational content, you manage access and take control of what your audience can see, no adverts, or suggested videos and no more clutter.  Unlimited space, full feature and no additional cost implications.

The University offers dedicated support and staff training. Guides and FAQs provide just-in-time resources at the point of need. Students can benefit from using assistive tools, with Panopto’s playback viewer, such as:

  • A graphical and textual index of PowerPoint slides.
  • The ability to slow down or speed up the recording.
  • The ability to make time-stamped typed notes and bookmarks.
  • A search tool that indexes on-screen text as well as spoken audio.

For a comparative view of the three services covered in this post, click the image below:

360 video hosting comparison matrix

Alternatively, download a PDF version: 360° Video Platform Comparison Matrix.

If you are interested in finding out more about creating your own 360° content and hosting options, contact Learning Technology Development Team via ext.7754, ltdsupport@edgehill.ac.uk or Ask LTD knowledge base.

Martin Baxter

 

 

Martin Baxter
Learning Technology Development Officer