There are currently 209* students at UWC, who have disclosed having a disability. These disabilities include being blind or visually impaired; deaf or hard of hearing; mobility impaired; psychologically impaired; vertically challenged and several others.
Some students with disabilities make use of assistive technologies to give them access to online content. As a lecturer, it is therefore important to familiarise yourself with these technologies to ensure your content is accessible:
1) Do not embed text in an image or as a locked PDF; instead, upload Word files or unencrypted PDF files
2) Provide students with the same content in multiple formats such as, text, audio, and videos to cater to students with a range of disabilities and learning styles
3) When content is presented in video format, ensure that transcripts and subtitles accompany the video
*This number is according to the records of the Office for Students with Disabilities at UWC
For further assistance in creating accessible online content, contact CIECT at: firstname.lastname@example.org
**CIECT entails digital media facilities – in order to assist staff with creating audio-visual material for online and off-line purposes.
EMS ‘Fully-online’ Module: Distance learners make use of weekly podcasts for planning and reflection
Lecturers Lemay Quesada and Rodrique George, created podcasts for their weekly lessons (seven weeks) – within the ‘fully-online’ EMD 611 (Business Communication) module.
Podcasts were used to introduce weekly activities and expectations. Students from different geographical locations were able to listen to the recordings and prepare their weekly activities. At the end of each week the lecturers posted an additional reflective podcast, summarising the weekly activities which assisted students to reflect on their learning and progress.
Using podcasts in an online environment includes the following educational purposes:
- The use of podcasts caters for various learning styles, especially the auditory learners;
- Podcasts are great alternatives for delivering content or lessons to students who need remedial or extended support and;
- Teachers can audio record (podcast) specific learning material for reinforcement and revision
- Students are able to easily access and listen to podcasts from wherever they are, via their mobile devices.(https://www.educatorstechnology.com/2012/12/teachers-guide-on-use-of-podcasting-in.html)
Virtual Reality (VR) can enhance practical sessions, whereby the user can be immersed within an environment to conduct experiments (e.g. Chemical Reaction, Frog Lobotomy, etc).
Other VR technologies such as interactive 360 videos can be used to illustrate lessons. Students can view these 360 videos through their personal smartphones.
Here is an example from Google Labs in simple virtual reality: