SmartClassroom :: Wednesday, October 4, 2006


A Public Consortium Emphasizes the Importance of LMS Accessibility

By Rebecca André, Ohio State University (OSU) Technology Enhanced Learning and Research, Mark Felix, University of Arizona, Tucson, Alan Foley, University of Wisconsin System Administration, Dawn Hunziker, University of Arizona, Tucson, and Ken Petri, OSU Web Accessibility Center

In this article we explore the state of LMS accessibility and provide both a broad review of LMS accessibility and the practice of site and tool design, and attend to the successes and challenges of LMS accessibility.

Changing Design Practices

Yogi Berra once said, “In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice, in practice there is.”

From a sociological perspective, accessibility is not a practice in theory but a practice of individuals with a specific set of ideas about design that come from their training and cultural position. Their notions of design and what makes it good design are long held. Changing this requires a challenge to design at its core. We must encourage designers and developers to change their practices and incorporate accessibility, but we also need to appeal to the core passions that draw designers to their profession in the first place.

An interesting way to think about this views computers as theater – an experience that varies from viewer to viewer and that is dependent on varying experience, attitudes, and ideas. Brenda Laurel suggests that humans working with computers are not merely “users,” but human agents. The potential that a person has, not as merely a computer user, but as a person acting with agency to shape her/his own experience adds endless possibly to the conception of Web-based tools. This notion of the agent also forces Web designers to think about the people who will be using their Web site – what experiences, background, learning styles, and abilities they bring to the experience. Web designers often do not make these considerations for a variety of reasons...

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News & Product Updates

Desire2Learn Strikes Back

Desire2Learn has filed a response to Blackboard’s infringement suit...

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States Offer One-Stop Shop for College Aps

Georgia is now among about 35 states with Web sites that serve as a one-stop shop for applying to state colleges and requesting financial aid...

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KSU Claims World’s Largest Course Podcasting Initiative

Kansas State University said it would convert 6,000 recorded classes to an enhanced podcast format this year, which it said would result in the largest educational podcast implementation ever...

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Case Study

The Evolving Growth of LON-CAPA

By Gerd Kortemeyer, Michigan State University

As educational institutions establish an online presence, initial successes are often due to individual faculty members (“early adopters” of this new technology), working long hours to develop material more or less single-handedly. Frequently, they are leaving behind scattered projects, which are of intrinsic value, but of little use for the institution and far less for the larger academic community. The same is frequently true for content developed in externally funding curriculum development projects, where stewardship for the materials oftentimes ends with the end of the funding period, and little or no sustainable dissemination strategy is in place. “Late adopters” of technology in education might altogether refuse to venture into creating new online educational resources, since the task of creating comprehensive material appears overwhelming in isolation.

To address these problems, an infrastructure to provide a course and learning content management system was created, which has resource sharing at the base of its architecture: the LearningOnline Network with Computer-Assisted Personalized Approach (LON-CAPA)...

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Tech Notes

Technology & Campus Services: The Changing Face of Auxiliary Services

By Matt Villano

Can auxiliary services be mission-critical? You bet they can. With tuition on the rise, Auxiliary Services departments at a variety of colleges and universities are proving that they can innovate and still save their parent institutions cash. First in auxiliary services innovation: With advancements in technology, a handful of institutions are moving campus purchasing programs into the wireless space. Second: With the proliferation of junk mail, learning centers are finding new ways to eliminate paper waste and improve efficiency across the board. Finally: As environmental conservation becomes a bigger concern, schools are embracing buildings that don’t harm the Earth, and many of the services involved in those efforts make use of “green” approaches and innovative technologies. Put simply, auxiliary services aren’t so auxiliary anymore... (Campus Technology)

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Reader Response

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