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  • Auston Stamm

Reflections On Building An Online Course

This was a very rewarding experience for me because I am very passionate about the subject of digital accessibility. I began creating an online professional development course focused on digital accessibility when I was taking EDTECH 512. I solicited feedback from different digital accessibility listservs to receive feedback from experts and stakeholders. An important theme that came up was the need for a learning module focused on incorporating accessibility into the software procurement process. This was the inspiration for the course that I developed for this class.

I feel I was able to leverage backwards design into the planning phase because the feedback I received helped shape the learning goals of the procurement module. I really enjoyed the Grant Wiggins (2013) YouTube videos on backwards design. Wiggins emphasized the need to have a long-term goal in mind before designing the learning exercises for a course. The long-term goal I have is for the students to be able to apply accessibility strategies to their organization’s procurement process. I tried to provide exercises highlight important characteristics of software accessibility and voluntary product accessibility templates (VPATs), which can provide students with the knowledge needed to successfully screen the accessibility of software or web applications.

Chapter 3 of Ko & Rossen (2017) highlights the importance of scaffolding and allowing adult learners to share and leverage their own experiences. I elected to use a video and quiz to start the learning module to provide students with foundational knowledge about incorporating accessibility into the procurement process. The module’s later learning activities are more self-directed and allow the students to choose to evaluate software that is most relevant to their organization. The discussions are designed to encourage reflection and to allow students to share their experiences, which connects with Ko & Rossen’s (2017) advice regarding how to engage adult learners.

I feel like an aspect I’d like to develop further is the expectations regarding the design documents and how to participate in the discussions effectively. Ideally, I would have examples of the projects and expected discussion interactions. Stavredes (2011) highlights the Paul-Elder Model of Critical Thinking, which provides helpful questions to help students think critically about a subject. I can see incorporating some of these questions into a discussion guide that connects with digital accessibility. I think this would help encourage critical thinking for each of the discussion activities.

I tried to build upon the community of inquiry model, which was summarized well by Jared Borup’s (2014) YouTube video. I tried to incorporate a lot of opportunities for exchanging ideas through the different discussions to foster cognitive presence. Students are encouraged to share their experiences too, which should help build social presence as well. I think the opening video allows me to share some examples of using VPATs and digital accessibility strategies. I think I can build upon this more in the module by providing some specific examples from my work experiences to provide students with real world applications of integrating accessibility into procurement.

Overall, I feel that I have built a good foundational module that I can continue to expand and improve upon into the future. I have a goal of eventually building this into a successful professional development course relating to digital accessibility.

Borup, J. (2014, June 20). Community of inquiry [Video]. YouTube.

Ko, S., & Rossen, S. Teaching online: A practical guide. Routledge.

Stavredes, T. (2011). Effective online teaching: Foundations and strategies for student success. Jossey-Bass.

Wiggins, G. (2013, February 28). Grant Wiggins - Understanding by design (1 of 2) [Video]. YouTube.

Wiggins, G. (2013, March 7). Grant Wiggins - Understanding by design (2 of 2) [Video]. YouTube.

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