Choosing Color for Accessibility

color palette from Coolors toolWhy we talk about color.

As we as a university acclimate to our new learning management system (LMS), Carmen Canvas, we now have the ability to alter the aesthetics of our courses, create custom content to insert, and make a variety of choices that were not possible in the old system. For some, this means adjusting the HTML code on “pages” or anywhere the Rich Content Editor is displayed. For others, it means creating videos and images to embed and display within the course. Creative use of the LMS spans all disciplines in appeal and utility: design is both a tool and an aesthetic, and we all want to convey our content in a way that is pleasing and effective. Overwhelmingly, we find that people universally want to affect the way their course looks. As we move toward more personal ability to make choices that ultimately affect the user experience, one of the key components that comes up both in terms of good design as well as universal design is color. Continue reading

Happy Labor Day 2015

If you were not aware, September is Accessibility Month. Quality Matters has at least 5 standards that addresses accessibility and Universal design. For example, General Standard 8 is solely dedicated to Accessibility and Usability in the course design.

During this month ODEE and OCIO will be hosting an Accessibility Roadshow. As part of this roadshow, you will get suggestions for integrating principles of accessibility into current procedures. You can find more information about the Roadshow from the Distance Education Blog post.

It is amazing the little changes you can make to your course to make it more accessible and universally designed. Below is a list of blog post with QM and ODEE Resources on Accessibility and Universal Design that you may find helpful.

ODEE QM Blog Posts

Standard: 7.2 Course instructions articulate or link to the institution’s accessibility policies and services.

http://u.osu.edu/qualitymatters/2015/02/23/standards-for-design-part-37-accessibility-policies/

Standard: 8.1 Course navigation facilitates ease of use.

http://u.osu.edu/qualitymatters/2015/03/16/standards-for-design-part-40-course-navigation/

Standard: 8.2 Information is provided about the accessibility of all technologies required in the course.

http://u.osu.edu/qualitymatters/2015/03/23/standards-for-design-part-41-accessibility-information-of-all-technologies/

Standard: 8.3 The course provides alternative means of access to course materials in formats that meet the needs of diverse learners.

http://u.osu.edu/qualitymatters/2015/03/30/standards-for-design-part-42-alternative-means-of-access-to-course-materials/

Standard: 8.4 The course design facilitates readability.

http://u.osu.edu/qualitymatters/2015/04/06/standards-for-design-part-43-readability-in-the-course-design/

Standard: 8.5 Course multimedia facilitate ease of use.

http://u.osu.edu/qualitymatters/2015/04/13/standards-for-design-part-44-requirements-for-learner-interaction/

ODEE Resources

ODEE Center for Universal Design and Accessibility Blog – http://u.osu.edu/universaldesign/

Accessibility Resources – http://resourcecenter.odee.osu.edu/accessibility

Have a great Labor Day!

Contact The Ohio State University Quality Matter Coordinator, Tim Lombardo at lombardo.89@osu.edu to learn more about Quality Matters and learn more how OSU faculty and staff can be compensated for the cost of training through the ODEE Quality Matters Grants.

All Quality Matters related ODEE Distance Education blog posts can be found at the Quality Matters category of the ODEE Distance Education Blog

Citations

Adapted from the Fifth Edition, 2014 Quality MattersTM Rubric © by The Ohio State University

Quality MattersTM © 2008 MarylandOnline, Inc. Reprinted with permission by Grace Hall. Please contact MarylandOnline, Inc. for information or reprint permission.

Standards for Design: Part 44 – Ease of Using Course Multimedia

Welcome to the forty-fourth and final blog post in a forty-four week series walking through and explaining the Quality Matters standards.

I want to thank the readers of this blog for taking the time to tweet, retweet, share and peruse what I had to write about.  Thank you to Rob Griffiths who suggested the ODEE Distance Education staff write a blog and that I had 44 blog post topics.  Finally, thank you to Quality Matters for letting write about all of their standards.  They have been great to work with and thank you for the tweets, retweets, and sharing of this blog. It was on April 18, 2014 when Standards for Design: Part 1 ran and here almost one year later to the day with this last blog post of this series.

This is the fifth and final standard in the eighth general standard of the Fifth Edition, 2014, Quality MattersTM Higher Education Rubric focusing on Accessibility and Usability.  This post finishes our discussion about what to consider to assist learners and to make your course start to meet accessibility standards.

Standard: 8.5 Course multimedia facilitate ease of use.

This standard talks about all aspects of multimedia use in the course.

First, if you are using images in a course they should be used to enhance the materials being presented.  While we all love cat MEMEs, you wouldn’t use this picture in your course about pharmacology:

Picture of a grey surprised cat saying Owner said meow, he understands my language

Conspiracy Cat Meme. (2012, March 6). Retrieved April 12, 2015, from http://weknowmemes.com/2012/03/conspiracy-cat-meme/

However if you are talking about anti-inflammatory drugs, you may want to have a picture like this:

Bottle of Ibuprofen tablets with cap removed and tablets in front

By Derrick Coetzee (User:Dcoetzee) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Also, when recording audio you want to make certain it is clear and easy to understand.  One of the best ways to record is with an external microphone.  USB headsets with Microphones are inexpensive and help create better audio quality than the built in microphones on a computer.

Finally, one of the most important takeaways from this standard is the idea that a video shouldn’t be longer than about 15 minutes.  Why is this important?  This benefits both the instructor and the student.  As the instructor, you may need to make edits to a video. It is easier to make changes to a 15 minute video over an hour long lecture.  For the students, short videos help with retaining the information.  The concept is called “Cognitive Load Theory”.  In short, Cognitive Load Theory talks about being able to transfer information from short term memory to long term memory.  There is a finite amount of information that a student can learn before they need time to process the information into long term memory.  A good video that I found was this, “Introduction to Cognitive Load Theory” on YouTube.

Introduction to Cognitive Load Theory. (n.d.). Retrieved April 12, 2015, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ZcjWzXTHng

Contact The Ohio State University Quality Matter Coordinator, Tim Lombardo at lombardo.89@osu.edu to learn more about Quality Matters and learn more how OSU faculty and staff can be compensated for the cost of training through the ODEE Quality Matters Grants.

All Quality Matters related ODEE Distance Education blog posts can be found at the Quality Matters category of the ODEE Distance Education Blog

Citations

Adapted from the Fifth Edition, 2014 Quality MattersTM Rubric © by The Ohio State University

Quality MattersTM © 2008 MarylandOnline, Inc. Reprinted with permission by Grace Hall. Please contact MarylandOnline, Inc. for information or reprint permission.

Standards for Design: Part 43 – Readability in the Course Design

Welcome to the forty-third blog post in a forty-four week series walking through and explaining the Quality Matters standards.

This is the fourth standard in the eighth general standard of the Fifth Edition, 2014, Quality MattersTM Higher Education Rubric focusing on Accessibility and Usability. This post continues our discussion about what to consider to assist learners and to make your course start to meet accessibility standards.

Standard: 8.4 The course design facilitates readability.

This standard focuses on the display layout of your course. You should group like ideas together, use readable and standard web fonts and, most importantly, choose the correct colors in your course. When you want to emphasize a word in your course, you should use bold or italics and avoid any other colors besides black. This is important especially if the learners have a form of color blindness.

One of the design aspects that you should keep in mind is the idea of C.A.R.P., which stands for Contrast, Alignment, Repetition, and Proximity.

It is also important to proofread all instructional materials to check for grammar mistakes.

A great resource at the Office of Distance Education and eLearning to use when we talk about Universal Design and Accessibility is the ODEE Community for Universal Design and Accessibility Blog and the Accessibility section of ODEE Resource Center. This is not only is this an essential QM standard and a great course design practice, but it is also starting to become the law!

Contact The Ohio State University Quality Matter Coordinator, Tim Lombardo at lombardo.89@osu.edu to learn more about Quality Matters and learn more how OSU faculty and staff can be compensated for the cost of training through the ODEE Quality Matters Grants.

All Quality Matters related ODEE Distance Education blog posts can be found at the Quality Matters category of the ODEE Distance Education Blog

Citations

Adapted from the Fifth Edition, 2014 Quality MattersTM Rubric © by The Ohio State University

Quality MattersTM © 2008 MarylandOnline, Inc. Reprinted with permission by Grace Hall. Please contact MarylandOnline, Inc. for information or reprint permission.

Standards for Design: Part 42 – Alternative Means of Access to Course Materials

Welcome to the forty-second blog post in a forty-four week series walking through and explaining the Quality Matters standards.

This is the third standard in the eighth general standard of the Fifth Edition, 2014, Quality MattersTM Higher Education Rubric focusing on Accessibility and Usability.  This post continues our discussion about what to consider to assist learners and to make your course start to meet accessibility standards.

Standard: 8.3 The course provides alternative means of access to course materials in formats that meet the needs of diverse learners.

This standard is quite simple: can students access the course materials in a variety of formats?  If you include a video, are captions and a transcript available?  If you have an image, do you have descriptive “alt” text to correspond with the image?  The “alt” next to the image should have an equivalent text description of what the image represents.  Are you using headers in your tables and headings for text?  You should be using them both in the HTML and Word Documents, PowerPoints, PDFs, etc.  When you use PDFs, are the text searchable and readable and not just a scanned image?

The main idea behind this standard is to make documents available and understandable for all kinds of learning styles.  I will use myself as an example.  I will admit that I am not a strong reader.  I learn better by listening and “doing”.  So in a class I am currently taking, I have a lot of readings.  While just reading the text doesn’t help me, I found an app on the iTunes Store that will read eBooks and PDFs aloud. Because the PDFs have searchable and selectable text, the app is able to read the articles to me.  What I have been struggling with all semester now takes me significantly less time to get through, and better compression of the material.

Not only is this important to accomplish because it helps different learning styles, it can also help avoid potential lawsuits.

A great resource at the Office of Distance Education and eLearning to use when we talk about Universal Design and Accessibility is the ODEE Community for Universal Design and Accessibility Blog and the Accessibility section of ODEE Resource Center. This is not only is this an essential QM standard and a great course design practice, but it is also starting to become the law!

Contact The Ohio State University Quality Matter Coordinator, Tim Lombardo at lombardo.89@osu.edu to learn more about Quality Matters and learn more how OSU faculty and staff can be compensated for the cost of training through the ODEE Quality Matters Grants.

All Quality Matters related ODEE Distance Education blog posts can be found at the Quality Matters category of the ODEE Distance Education Blog

Citations

Adapted from the Fifth Edition, 2014 Quality MattersTM Rubric © by The Ohio State University

Quality MattersTM © 2008 MarylandOnline, Inc. Reprinted with permission by Grace Hall. Please contact MarylandOnline, Inc. for information or reprint permission.

Standards for Design: Part 41 – Accessibility information of all technologies

Welcome to the forty-first blog post in a forty-four week series walking through and explaining the Quality Matters standards.

This is the second standard in the eighth general standard of the Fifth Edition, 2014, Quality MattersTM Higher Education Rubric focusing on Accessibility and Usability.  This post continues our discussion about what to consider to assist learners and to make your course start to meet accessibility standards.

Standard: 8.2 Information is provided about the accessibility of all technologies required in the course.

Much like some of the other QM Standards, this week’s standard is also very straight forward.  It is important for the course to provide information about the accessibility information for all of the technologies used in the course.  This includes the LMS, any lecture capture you are creating, your synchronous session tools, word processing software required, etc.  A good place for this information in the syllabus is the “Start Here” section of course.

An example of what is could look like is:



Syllabus

Accessibility of course technology

This online course requires use of Carmen (Ohio State’s learning management system) and other online communication and multimedia tools. If you need additional services to use these technologies, please request accommodations with your instructor.


Carmen (Desire2Learn) Accessibility Statement

At Desire2Learn they believe that learning technologies should never limit learning opportunities. Our accessibility program is tightly integrated with our research and development lifecycle to ensure our tools are standards compliant and easy for people to navigate and understand using the assistive technologies and devices that support their needs.


Synchronous Course Tools

CarmenConnect (Adobe Connect) accessibility

This course may implement the use of CarmenConnect (Adobe Connect) web conferencing and / or other Synchronous Course Tools. If you require special services to view the Synchronous Course sessions, first contact the professor and then contact The Ohio State University Office for Disability Services.


Accessibility in Microsoft Office 2007

Accessibility in Microsoft Office 2010


Streaming Media / Video
This course may implement the use of webcasting, lecture capture systems, Youtube, other streaming media services and / or DVD use. If you require special services to view the Mediasite lectures, first contact the professor and then contact The Ohio State University Office for Disability Services



What do you do if the technology doesn’t have an accessibility statement?  First, state in the same place as your other technologies that this particular tool does not have an accessibility statement.

Secondly, plan ahead.  Imagine you do have a student that enrolls in your course that needs accommodations. Is there an equivalent assignment that the student can partake in that does include a technology that is accessible?  Why do this for just students that need accommodations?  Good Universal Design practices would state that you give students options to meet the needs of all learning styles.

A great resource at the Office of Distance Education and eLearning to use when we talk about Universal Design and Accessibility is the ODEE Community for Universal Design and Accessibility Blog and the Accessibility section of ODEE Resource Center. This is not only is this an essential QM standard and a great course design practice, but it is also starting to become the law!

Contact The Ohio State University Quality Matter Coordinator, Tim Lombardo at lombardo.89@osu.edu to learn more about Quality Matters and learn more how OSU faculty and staff can be compensated for the cost of training through the ODEE Quality Matters Grants.

All Quality Matters related ODEE Distance Education blog posts can be found at the Quality Matters category of the ODEE Distance Education Blog

Citations

Adapted from the Fifth Edition, 2014 Quality MattersTM Rubric © by The Ohio State University

Quality MattersTM © 2008 MarylandOnline, Inc. Reprinted with permission by Grace Hall. Please contact MarylandOnline, Inc. for information or reprint permission.

Standards for Design: Part 40 – Course Navigation

Welcome to the fortieth blog post in a forty-four week series walking through and explaining the Quality Matters standards.

This is the first standard in the eighth general standard of the Fifth Edition, 2014, Quality MattersTM Higher Education Rubric focusing on Accessibility and Usability.  This post starts our discussion about what to consider to assist all learners and to make your course start to meet accessibility standards..

Standard: 8.1 Course navigation facilitates ease of use.

First I want to point out why I have the “all” underlined. This standard talks about Accessibility and Usability, which isn’t just for students with hearing or visual impairments. We want to think universally when we create online and hybrid courses. This creates content that keeps in mind all students, from example those who have different learning styles to students who English may not be their first language.

This standard is the first to help any student be successful in an online or hybrid course. First, you want to make certain that navigation throughout the course is consistent. No matter how you teach your course, students should be to easily make their way through the course from week to week or module to module. Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t create varied types of assessment, just keep in mind the importance of consistency.

Second, it is important to name the links in the course something meaningful. I am not talking solely about links to websites, but also links to files within the course, or links to assessments in the course. An example would be the difference between a pdf named “ff02015” and “Lecture 1 PDF”. Also, when creating links to websites, avoid the “Click Here” text that is used a lot of time. Make the hyperlink text meaningful. An example would be, instead of having, “For more information click here” use something more descriptive such as: “For more information navigate to Google and type in “OSU” into the search.

Finally, make sure to use headings in tables and headers. Tables should have header rows to assist with accessibility and to let the students know what information they are looking at. Colorado State University has a great resource on how to make headers in Microsoft Word. Websites like Accessify has tools to help making Accessible HTML tables.

A great resource at the Office of Distance Education and eLearning to use when we talk about Universal Design and Accessibility is the ODEE Community for Universal Design and Accessibility Blog and the Accessibility section of ODEE Resource Center. This is not only is this an essential QM standard and a great course design practice, but it is also starting to become the law!

Contact The Ohio State University Quality Matter Coordinator, Tim Lombardo at lombardo.89@osu.edu to learn more about Quality Matters and learn more how OSU faculty and staff can be compensated for the cost of training through the ODEE Quality Matters Grants.

All Quality Matters related ODEE Distance Education blog posts can be found at the Quality Matters category of the ODEE Distance Education Blog

Citations

Adapted from the Fifth Edition, 2014 Quality MattersTM Rubric © by The Ohio State University

Quality MattersTM © 2008 MarylandOnline, Inc. Reprinted with permission by Grace Hall. Please contact MarylandOnline, Inc. for information or reprint permission.

Standards for Design: Part 39 – Additional Student Support Resources

Welcome to the thirty-ninth blog post in a forty-four week series walking through and explaining the Quality Matters standards.

This is the fourth and final standard in the seventh general standard of the Fifth Edition, 2014, Quality MattersTM Higher Education Rubric focusing on Learner Support. This post continues our discussion about where students can get support for their online or hybrid course.

Standard: 7.4 Course instructions articulate or link to an explanation of how the institution’s student services and resources can help learners succeed and how learners can obtain them.

This standard is very similar to standard 7.3, which talks about Student Academic Support Resources. This week we are talking about how it is important for the course to have instructions or link to an explanation of other institutional support services and resources.

What is the difference with this standard compared to 7.3? The academic support resources directly affect class performance and student needs for a course assignment. In comparison, this standard is looking at the resources that students need to successfully navigate the complexities of the university. An example of this would be where do students go for academic advising? Or where do they turn to for financial aid questions? These services are extremely important for the student, but do not directly affect their course work.

Contact The Ohio State University Quality Matter Coordinator, Tim Lombardo at lombardo.89@osu.edu to learn more about Quality Matters and learn more how OSU faculty and staff can be compensated for the cost of training through the ODEE Quality Matters Grants.

All Quality Matters related ODEE Distance Education blog posts can be found at the Quality Matters category of the ODEE Distance Education Blog

Citations

Adapted from the Fifth Edition, 2014 Quality MattersTM Rubric © by The Ohio State University

Quality MattersTM © 2008 MarylandOnline, Inc. Reprinted with permission by Grace Hall. Please contact MarylandOnline, Inc. for information or reprint permission.

Standards for Design: Part 38 – Student support Resources

Welcome to the thirty-eighth blog post in a forty-four week series walking through and explaining the Quality Matters standards.

This is the third standard in the seventh general standard of the Fifth Edition, 2014, Quality MattersTM Higher Education Rubric focusing on Learner Support.  This post continues our discussion about where students can get support for their online or hybrid course.

Standard: 7.3 Course instructions articulate or link to an explanation of how the institution’s academic support services and resources can help learners succeed in the course and how learners can obtain them.

Much like last couple week’s blogs about having instructions or link to a clear description of the technical support and accessibility policy offered and how to obtain it, this week’s standard is also very straight forward.  It is important for the course to have instructions or link to an explanation of how the institution’s academic support services and resources can help learners succeed in the course and how learners can obtain them.

Why is this important?  If your course has a lot of written assignments, it helps to have a link to the Writing Center.  If there is a research component, it help to have information and links the library and citation services.  If students need support with English as a Second Language, where do they get the information?  These are very easy considerations to keep in mind.  The student services aren’t limited to the ones I listed.  There are many more at OSU that may be applicable to your students.  Instead of waiting until you have a student in your course that needs that information, it is best to list as many as possible and create a section in your course for this information.

One caveat that I will mention is that sometimes the web addresses to these services change.  It is always a good idea to go through your course and make certain that the web addresses are current and work.

Contact The Ohio State University Quality Matter Coordinator, Tim Lombardo at lombardo.89@osu.edu to learn more about Quality Matters and learn more how OSU faculty and staff can be compensated for the cost of training through the ODEE Quality Matters Grants.

All Quality Matters related ODEE Distance Education blog posts can be found at the Quality Matters category of the ODEE Distance Education Blog

Citations

Adapted from the Fifth Edition, 2014 Quality MattersTM Rubric © by The Ohio State University

Quality MattersTM © 2008 MarylandOnline, Inc. Reprinted with permission by Grace Hall. Please contact MarylandOnline, Inc. for information or reprint permission.

Standards for Design: Part 37 – Accessibility Policies

Welcome to the thirty-seventh blog post in a forty-four week series walking through and explaining the Quality Matters standards.

This is the second standard in the seventh general standard of the Fifth Edition, 2014, Quality MattersTM Higher Education Rubric focusing on Learner Support. This post continues our discussion about where students can get support for their online or hybrid course.

Standard: 7.2 Course instructions articulate or link to the institution’s accessibility policies and services.

Much like last week’s blog about having instructions or link to a clear description of the technical support offered and how to obtain it, this week’s standard is very straight forward.  The accessibility policy needs to be in the syllabus, as well as a link and other instructions to those services.  Please keep in mind that while this achieves the QM standard, it should not be where disability accommodations end in the course.

General standard 8 will discuss “Accessibility and Usability”.  This is where we will go more in depth about making certain your course is designed in a manner that is not only accessible for students with disability, but also universally designed for all students.

To get prepared for the importance to Accessibility and universally designed courses, please take a moment at the legal side of universally designed courses.

Harvard and M.I.T. Are Sued Over Lack of Closed Captions” – Looks at accessibility of open courses like iTunes U and MOOCs.

Higher Ed Accessibility Lawsuits” – A rundown of Higher Education Accessibility Lawsuits.  This only goes up to 2013, there have been more since.  It is not just about captioning, but also the tools that are used in the course!

Contact The Ohio State University Quality Matter Coordinator, Tim Lombardo at lombardo.89@osu.edu to learn more about Quality Matters and learn more how OSU faculty and staff can be compensated for the cost of training through the ODEE Quality Matters Grants.

All Quality Matters related ODEE Distance Education blog posts can be found at the Quality Matters category of the ODEE Distance Education Blog

Citations

Adapted from the Fifth Edition, 2014 Quality MattersTM Rubric © by The Ohio State University

Quality MattersTM © 2008 MarylandOnline, Inc. Reprinted with permission by Grace Hall. Please contact MarylandOnline, Inc. for information or reprint permission.