Thursday, March 05, 2015

Remotely Participating in SITE Panels

This week the SITE conference is happening in Las Vegas.  I was asked to be on two panels both related to equity. Unfortunately the website doesn't seem to have a full schedule and agenda for me to reference.

One panel, The Changing Landscape of the Digital Divide: Opportunities and Challenges for Teacher Education was organized and led by Paul Resta from UT. Bonnie Bracey Sutton was on site with Paul while Robert McLaughlin and I were connected via Google Hangout.  

The second panel:  Research Panel on Supporting Teachers and Accessibility in K-12 Online and Blended Learning Contexts was organized by Leanna Archambault. You can read about the other panelists on Michael Barbour's Virtual School Meanderings blog.

As I was preparing for the second panel -- where I was talking about the research done for the Access and Equity for All Learners in Blended and Online Learning  I thought that talking about the access issues in K-12, to an audience of predominantly teacher educators would make the issue too abstract.  I wanted them to connect with and take some responsibility for access, so rather than talking about the K-12 research, I presented the findings from the U. Cincinnati and Youngstown State University OCR reports. (see 1/5 Post)  I don't know how it was received, but based on conversations with a variety of higher ed folks, I believe many online courses are not fully accessible.

Leanna was concerned we might not have good internet access to I put together a brief PowerPoint slide show with narration. (not included in the link below)   I was listening to the entire panel on Skype.  I only used the first five slides for my presentation, thinking the others might be useful if there were relevant questions.  (There were no questions.)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Brown Bag Presentation at TAMU-Corpus Christi

I did a presentation today for the Office of Distance Education and Learning Technologies at TAMU-CC.  We had a pool about how many folks would show, I had opted for a dozen.  Wrong by an order of 3.  The room was full, and there was a representative from every college on campus.   It was a fun session and allowed me to test out the December OCR findings against the two Ohio Universities.

Here and on Slideshare, are the slides for the session

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Harvard and MIT are sued because their MOOCs are not accessible

It was going to happen, the question was when?

National Federation for the Blind,(NFB) in conjunction with some other advocacy groups has gone after the MOOCs.

"Much of Harvard's online content is either not captioned or is inaccurately or unintelligible captioned, making it inaccessible for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing."  the complaint says.

A spokes person for Harvard says that Harvard expected the Department of Justice (DoJ) to provide "much needed guidance" on the issue this year.  I think that's initial excuse for why they aren't yet in compliance.  I don't know if he realizes that this case will become the "much needed guidance."

I expect DoJ will join with NFB on this.

This will be fun to watch.

I think the suit is using ADA because many of the courses don't carry credit and are outside an education program, so may not be covered by Section 504.  Dealing with this as an ADA issue also brings in DoJ and they have bigger sticks than OCR would under Section 504.

NFB has won suits against Netflix to require captioning of all videos in their service.  They also won on accessibility of H&R Block's website.  And of course, they won against Penn State.  I don't think they'll loose this.

Links to news coverage:

New York Times

PR Newswire from National Federation of the Deaf -- one of the other complainants.


Monday, February 09, 2015

If You Are In the Area February 25th....

I'll be talking about access in online education at Texas A&M Corpus Christi.  You've seen here the latest OCR actions, so I'm putting those together into a presentation, and testing it on February 25th.

If you're in the area, come by.