Tag Archives: H810

Notes on Ch. 12

Seale identifies six potential areas for conflict or contradiction within an organisation or activity system. What potential contradictions exist in your organisation and why?

I have observed a number of conflicts and contradictions within the FE community these include investing time, money and resources to ensure content is accessable for all or the bulk of accessibility resources are focused on those regocnised as disabled.

How helpful is it to conceptualise the development of accessibility within your organisation as an activity system?

I found the activity system model to be overly complex and confusing when applied to the accessibility of elearning within an FE environment. I feel a simpler and clearer model could be useful for analysing components and relationships related to elearning which incorpeated accessibility.
Identify three issues that are of most relevance or of most interest to you
  • Novice and expert behaviour
  • Division of labour
  • Contradictions in the elearning system
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Notes on Ch.11 Game Playing

Game Playing
As part of my role as an elearning advisor, I work as part of a team to interview students and staff from colleges in order to produce a report for them outlining their “eprogress” and suggesting how they can move forward with their elearning agenda.  This report is generally used for the purpose with which it was intended, however there as been one occasion where it was clear that staff had been hand picked and prompted to only tell us the “good stuff” in order for them to receive a glowing report on how much progress the college had made.  I assume that the purpose of this was to use the glowing report as either external marketing or internally to promote the achievements of individuals to senior members of staff.  I feel that this is an example of the lengths some will go to play games.

Notes on Ch.11 Opportunities and incentives

Opportunities and incentives

Seale suggests that insentives to developing accessible elearning are in some cases a stronger driver than the stick of avoiding prosiucution.  These intensives include capturing an increased market and minimising expencies.  In the UK FE community there are a number of other intensives for developing elearning and accessible elearning.  These include better qualification results for learners, access to government funding (MoleNet, LLW) and increased independence of learners.

Week 16- Notes on Seale Ch. 11 -Rule Enforcement

Rule Enforcement

The drivers for institutional change outlined in chapter 11 can be devided into “carrots” or Sticks”.  Seale suggests that the “stick” approch of useing legislation against institutions that fail to meet accessibility reuirements is not working for a number of reasons, including a lack of institutions being prosicuted and confusion over the interpretation of rules.  I feel there is a danger that a spate of prosecutions against inaccessable elearning would lead to a barrier to the overall development of elearning within the FE community.  The fear of being prosecuted could stop teaching staff from getting started with relearning, particularly if they are not comfortable with developing their own Information Learning Technology (ILT) skills.  On the other end of the spectrum, experienced learning technologists may not be willing to develop and exploit technologies such as web 2.0, which have not been proved to meet legislation.  
At an institutional level there could be a reluctance to invest time and money in developing elearning if the potential damage of getting it wrong is worse`than doing nothing at all.
If organisations such as the RNIB and DRC are given the role of prosecuting bad elearning, this could lead to a breakdown in relationships with those institutions which most need their advice and support.

Week 15 Activity 2.1 Mobile learning

Over £7 million was made avalable for mobile learning projects in UK FE colleges in 2007-08 via the LSC MoleNet Project.  The publication GoMobile! http://www.molenet.org.uk/search/resource-30492.aspx highlights the impact these reasources have had on learniers with dissabilities. The following extract identifies some of the oportunities and problems:

  • The easy portability of mobile devices such as smartphones and handheld media players, and now also slimline mobile PCs, means that learners with learning difficulties can have access to reminders and ‘how-to’ tutorials at the point of need. Care has to be taken, however, to ensure that the device suits the capabilities of the user – in some instances,high-spec smartphones have been found to be too complex or ‘fiddly’ forsome learners.
  • Mobile devices can be discreet ways of compensating for learning difficulties, thus maintaining learners’ motivation. Learners struggling with personal organisation – for example, arriving in class on time, following directions and managing learning activities beyond face-to-face sessions – have found devices such as PDAs and smartphones helpful. They also respond well to being entrusted with a ‘cool’ piece of kit. However, loan of mobile devices involves risk assessment since vulnerable learners may be the target of bullying or theft.
  • Instructional videos that can be played in learners’ own time and in different locations have proved transformational, with learners mastering independent living skills faster and with greater confidence. This success depends, however, on the availability of learning resources that are fit for purpose and possibly on the involvement of a familiar tutor – would an off the- shelf tutorial achieve the same effect?
  • The introduction of mobile technologies into a classroom environment can have unforeseen benefits. Learners with communication difficulties who are adept with modern  technologies become more willing to interact with their peers and even share their skills with tutors. Provided their new status is recognised by their tutors, willingness to engage in other forms of learning can ensue.
  • Learners may initially find difficulty in using mobile devices, but experimentation makes it easier to master complex technologies. The opportunity to ‘play with’ a device also engenders a sense of fun which can motivate learners to push beyond previously fixed boundaries.
  • Continuing use of a mobile technology has been shown to improve learners’ self-image and even develop skills valuable in the workplace. Maintenance of contracts with mobile phone companies, replacement costs in the event of damage, and even gifts of personal devices on enrolment, will need to be considered to enable this to become a long-term benefit.

Week 15 Activity 1. 2 – Positive features of web 2.0

Although I have my own ideas on why web 2.0 resources can be beneficial for diabled people, I have had some difficulty finding supporting

RSS Feeds/Blogs

Rss feeds and blogs have made it possible to easily collate accessibility related information from a wide range of sources. http://www.webaim.org/blog/blog-roundup/ . the RSS feeds can be used in a wide range of rss readers which meet the needs of the user, these include Accessible RSS from webbIE (http://www.webbie.org.uk/accessiblerss/) or Netvibes.

Comunity

“In many ways, social-networking sites can be a boon for disabled people, because they remove some of the barriers faced by disabled people who want to socialise and network,” Paul Carter as cited on http://resources.zdnet.co.uk/articles/features/0,1000002000,39290559-1,00.htm However accessibility issues with mainstream social networks have led to an increase in specialized social networks and online communities for disabled people including http://www.disaboom.com/, http://www.tagdeaf.com/ and http://www.blindspots.net. Web 2.0: hype or happiness (http://delivery.acm.org/10.1145/1250000/1243453/p35-zajicek.pdf?key1=1243453&key2=1864599221&coll=GUIDE&dl=GUIDE&CFID=15446432&CFTOKEN=93539418) highlights the benefits of the BCAB mailing list as a community.

week 14 Activity 1.2 Guidelines for Accessible Testing and Assessment

The guidelines for accessible testing and Assesment builld on the guidelines previously mentioned.  It provides clarification of terminology i.e.citingWillingham and Cole “Validity is the all-encompassing technical standard for judging the quality of the assessment process. Validity includes, for example, the accuracy with which a test measures what it purports to measure, how well it serves its intended function, other consequences of test use, and comparability of the assessment process for different examinees.”

It highlinghts general good practice of accessible desighn “From the earliest design stages, test developers consider accessibility standards.” and it makes good use of examples “But sometimes an accessibility feature can diminish validity. Suppose, for example, that an art test that is intended to measure a student’s ability to write descriptions of artwork (such as paintings), and that the questions present visually displayed pictorial images of the artwork as prompts. Standards for accessibility might require that text descriptions of the artwork be made available to the test taker. However, to do so would make it virtually impossible to detect the test taker’s proficiency in producing the text descriptions, thereby posing a threat to validity.”

I suggest that all the guidelines mentioned in previous activities are relevent to assesment, however the additional requirements and validity required for assesment must also be considered.