In this webinar, Kirk Behnke explores ideas and strategies on how accessibility can be promoted through the framework of Universal Design for Learning (UDL). Learner variability and cognitive neuroscience, which which is a cornerstone of UDL, also supports accessible pedagogy and a framework for how faculty and staff can incorporate accessible design elements into their curriculum and learning environments. (Get the presentation slides here.)
- [Ana Maria] Good afternoon, it's four o'clock now so we're gonna get started. Thanks for joining CTD for our webinar, Universal Design for Learning and Accessibility in Higher Education. Today, we're pleased to welcome Kirk Behnke as our featured speaker. I won't take much more of your time, but I want to mention that at the end of the webinar, we'll share a survey link with you. If you can take a minute to give us your feedback, you can get your certificate of participation for the webinar. I'll go ahead and pass it on to Kirk now, thanks.
- [Kirk] Thank you, Anna Maria, this is great. Thank you so much. Welcome to today's webinar on Universal Design for Learning and Accessibility in Higher Education. The write up basically today was really to look at how to explore some ideas and some strategies, how accessibility can be promoted through the framework of UDL. So hopefully you all have a little bit of understanding of Universal Design for Learning. But if not, that's okay because we will be talking about the pillars around Universal Design for Learning, including learner variability, as well as some of the cognitive neuroscience around the UDL language.
We also wanna talk about the accessible pedagogy around the framework and how faculty and staff could incorporate accessible design elements within their curriculum, and also as well within their learning environments, whether that be a live classroom or in an online environment. We'll also have a time for a short question and answer period. I also have a few resources that I would like to share as well at the end. But if you do have a question, feel free to type it in the chat window and hopefully either myself or Ana Maria will be able to interject and we'll be able to address it at that particular time. So again, welcome to this webinar today and we look forward to hearing from you.
Again, my name is Kirk Behnke, and this is sort of my, I guess, splash page if you want just to give you pictorial information about who I am, what my experience is in the area of assistive technology, as well as accessibility. So, initially, I was working for United Cerebral Palsy of New Jersey, and then I went to the Temple University where I was a project manager there for the Pennsylvania Initiative on Assistive Technology, and I also ran a AAC training, two-week training camp at the university itself. Then I went to California State University, Northridge outside of beautiful Los Angeles right now, and my thoughts go out to the people in L.A. as we do this webinar, as the fires just continue to ravage that area, and I feel so bad for many of my friends that are out there, and hopefully everything will be fine, and those winds will die down, and the fires will die down as well.
Then what I did was at California State University was I worked and developed the assistive technology applications certificate program, which is a certificate program in the areas of assistive technology, 100 hours of online instruction, as well as providing face-to-face instruction. And I do see a few ATACP graduates in the participant list today, so a big shout out to those of you who are ATACP certificate grads. Then I went to the Region Four Education Service Center in Huston, Texas, and I was also a lead for the... Hey Mike. And I was also the lead for the Texas Assistive Technology Network where I led education service centers in the country of Texas, in the availability of assistive technology. Then I'm currently working at CAST and the National Center on Accessible Educational Materials. And I have done quite a bit in the area of providing Universal Design for Learning training, as well as AEM training.
And then I also privately have worked for Mada in Qatar in helping them develop their assistive technology center, and also around Universal Design for Learning in AT, and also in Singapore, as well as in Oman. And also, I am a graduate from the Harvard Graduate School of Education for their Universal Design for Learning course, back in 2009. So that's kinda me in a nutshell. But you're here to learn more about accessibility and Universal Design for Learning. The question is what is CAST? CAST is the Center for Applied Special Technology. They're the ones to kinda coin the term Universal Design for Learning, and I'll be referring to them as well. So, the agenda is really looking at some concepts of UDL, including learning variability, as well as cognitive neuroscience. Then I also want to go over the sort of federal definition of accessibility.
Then I would like to incorporate some accessible design in higher educational settings with a few examples that actually are examples from a great resource which is Online Higher Education that actually is sponsored by CAST. It's UDL on Campus. So if you have an open window, if you wanted to go on udlcampus.cast.org you're more than welcome to do so. And I know that some of you might not just like listening to my voice, and you need to do something else to occupy your time, I get that. That's part of Universal Design for Learning. So, feel free to know more about that, but we also will go over a few more resources at the end of this webinar. And then we'll have a question and answer, and then of course that resource sharing. So let's go over a few concepts of UDL.
Oh, first of all, I think there was a poll. Ana Maria, did you have a poll of who is actually here on the webinar? If you could bring that up, great. So, basically, who are you? If you're a teacher, a faculty, or higher ed admin we'd like to know who's actually here So thank you for filling that out and I'll take a few seconds to do that. Okay. It looks like we have... Most of you are faculty in higher education, and you're also higher ed admin, which is perfect because that's what this webinar is about. But some of a good percentage of you are also service providers. So I'm gonna end the poll. I do appreciate that, for your input, so that helps me out a lot.
Alright, so let's look at the concepts of UDL. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Universal Design for Learning, let's take a step back and just kinda look at the history, if you will, of Access, Universal Design, and of course Universal Design for Learning. So, in 1975, there was this thing called EHA, which is the Education of the Handicapped Act. And that basically gave students attending public schools access to their neighborhood schools. So kids with disabilities weren't shipped away anymore to either residential facilities or things like that. They were actually given opportunities to attend their neighborhood schools way back in 1975. That was sort of like the birthplace of inclusion, if you will, within the school system. Then IDEA came along in 1990. If any of you remember 1990, that really was a huge legislation in looking at Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and looking at how kids with disabilities would be given not only access to schools, to their neighboring schools, but also access to their peer classrooms.
So in other words, really not having all of our kids who happen to have special need out in the temporary shelter next to the field, the playing field, outside of the campus, but actually within the classrooms itself. And then in 1997, IDEA would reauthorize. We're looking at how we could provide access to general education curriculum. So it wasn't so much that anyone else was going to have access to the classrooms, but also access to the general education curriculum, so what the kids were looking at in the classrooms that we had kids all the way in the back just with a personal care attendant or a paraprofessional, but they weren't doing the same thing as everyone else was doing within the classroom itself.
So that's why IDEA reauthorized giving access to the general ed curriculum. And then in 2004, the whole idea around access to instructional materials. So, sometimes there was the problem where kids were given access to the general education curriculum, but there was not the alternate formats that were needed, or the technologies, and/or digital materials that were available to the students in order to gain access to them. And then in 2008, and this is kind of imperative to this particular group, is the Higher Education Act, and looking at how the Higher Education Act not only provided access to UDL, but also the definition, and then some universal design provisioned. And we're gonna go a little bit over that in more detail in just a second. Then also, we had the ESSA in 2015, which was access to Universal Design for Leaning. And that was imperative because it was around how UDL has been actually in a lot of policy, and being regarded as an instructional process, and also the actually definition of what is universal design, and also looking at it from its four pillars of materials, methods, assessments, as well as of course goals.
So, that's a little history in regards to access, but universal design is looking at architectural design. And then Universal Design for Leaning is applying that UD principles to actually education and learning. So, UDL, from the CAST perspective, from their definition in 2019, is a framework. So it's a framework for proactively designing flexible learning experiences, so that from the beginning, that enable all students to gain knowledge, skills, and enthusiasm for learning needed to be expert lifelong learners. So that's sort of like the capture elevator statement of what is UDL. So when we look at Universal Design for Learning, we're not just looking at kids with special needs. We're looking at all learners. And specifically, is including those marginalized learners that may or may not be in our classrooms. So, those who are maybe from a special education point of view, or even some just struggling readers and writing students with their classrooms, that the framework can apply to them, as well, as from the other side, those gifted and talented students. And again, we're gonna find these students that may exceed in some content areas, and may need supports in other content areas as well.
So we are all not proficient in all areas of our content as we move forward. So, UDL is really a framework which encourage proactive design in curriculum and learning environment. So here's a picture that I have a up here on the slide, which is basically a building, school building that has a ramp and a set of stairs, and there's a maintenance on the set of stairs, and a bunch of students at the bottom of the picture. The maintenance person has a shovel in his hand, and he is actually shoveling away snow off of the set of stairs. There's a kid in the wheelchair in the bottom-left hand corner, which asks could you please shovel the ramp. The maintenance worker says, "All these kids are waiting to use the stairs. "When I get through shoveling them off, "then I will clear the ramp for you." And the kid in the wheel chair says, "but if you shovel the ramp, we can all get in." and this is a great metaphor for what is a Universal Design for Learning.
Whereas, it's is more access to the curriculum, to a ramp situation, as opposed to having a set of stairs and also a ramp. If you build it from the beginning with good design in mind, then every one can get in through the doors with minimal effort. So that you can have a set of stairs and a ramp, but why have both when a ramp that's designed from the beginning can give access to everyone upfront? So, when we talk about Universal Design for learning, we really wanna talk of another concept about using and designing flexible learning experiences. So, as we look at learning experiences, I'm detecting three pictures up here, involving a building and earthquake. So, when we design flexible buildings to remain standing during an earthquake, we can look at the first picture which actually is a rigid-framed building that has no support structures. And when the earth shatters, or the foundation pieces start to shake, it crumbles.
In the second picture, when we have the earthquake adapting, the building is flexible in design, so it actually waves in the area up and down. And then on the third, we have actually pillars on the bottom of underneath the building itself where the building will actually roll. And so this is a great metaphor of designing flexible options within the design of the building and/or curriculum itself. And that way you have flexible options for everyone. Another metaphor here is I have a picture of a storefront that says One Size Fits All Store, and there are for animals in front looking in the window. We have a large element, a tall ostrich, a smaller turtle, and a snake looking in to the building, into the window of the storefront. So, the whole premise here is that one size really doesn't fit anybody. So when we look at UDL, we wanna help educators consider that learner variability, proactively, can really help influence design curriculum and lesson plan.
So again, if you plan for those kids or students within the margins, you're planning for all students. One of the last slides that I like talk about is this equality versus equity images. And in the first image, we have three different height boys standing on the same box looking over a wooden fence to a baseball game. So in the first image, we assume that everyone will benefit from the same support of the one box to see over the fence and they are being treated equally. So the tall boy of course with the one box is really looking over the fence. The mid-sized boy with one box is just looking over the fence, where the shorter boy with one-sized box is not seeing anything, where he's not actually reaching his goal of seeing over the fence. In the second image, we see that individuals are given different supports to make it possible for all of them to have equal access to the game. So the tall boy Is not given any supports or boxes.
The middle boy, the middle-sized boy is actually given the one box. And then the third shortest boy is actually given two boxes to stand on, so that they all can reach their goals, and they are being treated equitably. And this is a very great similar case of special education now, as we look at accommodating those with specific needs, where we supply the needs and our supports for those who have an IEP, or for those who have an education plan, or whatever the course might be, that we sort of retrofit everything so that the boys, or the students, or whomever can reach their goal, and we supply that. But Universal Design for Learning actually looks at it different. We look at reducing barriers.
So why don't we just take the wooden fence away, put up a chain-link fence which actually does the same thing of safety, if you will, that's the major goal of that, but we don't have to provide any supports to any of the students because they're not needed, because the barrier is actually taken away. So what I'm saying and what Universal Design for Learning is saying is that we need to look at our environments and our curriculum, and try to identify barriers that exist within the curriculum or environment itself, rather than concentrate on the students and accommodating the students first. We can see that, that sort of definitely a change in shift of how we look at education where it's really the, the onus is on the learning environment and the professor and/or lecturer to really look at how they can provide and design different ways of access to the curriculum and providing flexible options to those goals.
In summary, we wanna look at Universal Design for Learning through these four pictures if you will. Reducing unnecessary barriers in instructions, encouraging proactive design within curriculum development, how we can afford flexible options for students to learn mastery of that content, and also, we want to assume learner variability. Now I call about learner variability in that instance, and really look at how, what do we talk about when we talk about learner variability. So let's go to our next slide. Are there any questions? Okay, not seeing any. Okay. So let's look at some cognitive neuroscience, around Universal Design for Learning. I wanna reference Vygotsky's three prerequisite for learning, which is actually the basis of Universal Design for Learning, looking at the three areas of how individuals learn. And how individuals learn is really around their brain networks of learning, the affective network, the recognition network, and the strategic network.
So what I have here on the slide is three columns with those titles in each of the column. So the affective network is really about the why of learning. How can we engage students in that why? The purposeful motivated learners, how can they stimulate interest and motivation for learning? And that's our overall goal, is looking at how we can get learners to be, to be motivated in their learning. So when we talk about the affective network, at the core of the brain, lies networks that are responsible for that emotion and effect. So this core neither recognizes nor generates those patterns per se, but, however, these networks determine whether the patterns we perceive matter to us, and whether they are important. They also help us decide which actions and strategies to also pursue. They're not so critical in knowing how to recognize a cup of coffee, but knowing whether the coffee is important to us at the moment is part of the affective network.
The recognition network or the middle column of what we're talking about today is looking at how we represent or providing multiple means of representation, how do we recognize that material. So, within the recognition network, we look at the posterior back of the brain's cortex, and that's devoted to really recognizing patterns, and recognition makes it possible to identify those objects and events in the world that are basis of the visual, the auditory, the tactile, olfactory, all that type of stimuli that reach our receptors. So for example, through these networks, we learn the distinctive patterns that constitutes a cup of coffee, a book, a dog's bark, or the smell of burning leaves, or the smell of smoke for that matter as we talked about LA. So that's kinda like the recognition network. And then the strategic network is, again, the how of learning. These are areas of the brain that underlie our ability to plan, to execute, to monitor all those skills, and also those actions. And so they include those areas often referred to sort of as executive functioning. And for those of you in special education and have served students with special needs, you know that this is a huge part of executive functioning.
It's a huge barrier, if you will, for some of our students. So really the anterior part of the brain, the frontal lobes, primarily comprises the networks responsible for knowing how to do things, such as holding a pencil, riding a bicycle, reading a book, reading instructions, planning or a tip, or, in this example again, brewing coffee, maybe brewing coffee or how to get a cup of coffee. Do we go to our local barista or do we ask somebody else for a cup of coffee, whatever. So those action skills and plans are highly patterned activities, and that required frontal brain systems to really generate those patterns as well. So as you can tell, with cognitive neuro science, not only it's the matter of the anatomy of the brain, but also how these networks interact with each other in order to do what they need to do in order to learn.
So that's the cognitive neuroscience behind Universal Design for Learning. When we look at the Universal Design for Learning guidelines, we break up these particular principles, which are multiple means of engagement, multiple means of representation, and then multiple means of action and expression. And under each one of those principles, we have those goals of engagement. We want to produce purposeful and motivated learners. Under representation, we wanna produce resourceful and knowledgeable learners. And under action and expression, we want to produce strategic and goal directive learners. Within each of these principles of Universal Design for Learning, we also have guidelines that support each one of those principles.
So for example, under providing multiple means of engagement, and I'm working up from the bottom here, is provide options for recruiting interest, providing options for sustaining effort and persistence, and then providing options for self-regulation. So in that UDL principle of engagement, those are the guidelines, made guidelines, that support that effort. Now, as we look at these guidelines, they are directed in a way that from the bottom, from the bottom, I guess, column when you look at this infographic, you wanna look at what is teacher-directed, which is the bottom row. And then the middle row is really looking at teacher and student learner interaction. And then at the top is really about learners, how they can provide, let's say, for example, an engagement, provide options for how they can self-regulate, or under representation, how they can provide options for comprehension.
So, this is how the Universal Design for Learning guidelines work and how they're used. So that's enough around UDL. Let's talk about accessibility. So, when we talk about the term of accessibility, we're really looking at the term that is defined by the Office of Civil Rights, the US Office of Education. When a person with a disability is afforded the opportunity to acquire the same information, engage in the same interactions, and also enjoy the same services as a person without a disability in an equality effective and equally integrated manner, and substantially equivalent ease of use. So that definitely our definition here around accessibility, is looking at how we can afford those opportunities. And I'm gonna go to the next slide to give you another option, because in providing good Universal Design for Learning, I want to provide you with multiple means of representation.
So when you look at that first slide that I just read off of, now you can see in a more graphical interface is what is the function and definition of accessibility, and then it provides the students the opportunity too in those three areas of acquiring the same information, engaging the same interactions, and enjoying the same services, again, as a student without disability, with a substantially equivalent ease of use. So, for some of you, there's a way that you can methodically get that through written language, and then others might need to have some supports in looking at that in a different way visually. When we look at UDL and accessibility, we really look at how these guidelines can work themselves together and provide flexible options and support for all users. And as we know, when we look at accessibility and basically that definition of accessibility, it really depends on what is accessible to you in that particular arena or venue, or what's your specific task that you need to do. I'll go over a little information about that.
So, really, the purpose of education is not to make information accessible, but rather to teach learners how to transform accessible information into usable knowledge. So, as post-second institutions, we are obligated to provide that accessibility learning materials and technologies for students with disabilities, but UDL is more than simply providing information in accessible ways. And I hope you kinda get that through at least the three major principles of Universal Design for Learning which I shared earlier, but there's definitely more information coming that will help you with your application of this knowledge. Okay, so let's go ahead and start. I'd like to show you a video from UDL On Campus, which is available at udloncampus.cast.org. And I have the actually website down there in the bottom, but I'm just gonna show you the video and I will, hopefully, the audio will come through, and I believe it has captions on it, but I think it does, and one second, and we will get going.
- The accessibility is one of the key foundational principles of Universal Design for Learning, and it's a component of Universal Design for Learning, but it's not by itself Universal Design for Learning. The way we sometimes phrase it is that accessibility is essential, but insufficient on its own to be Universal Design for Learning. And accessibility is really captured in the first principle of UDL, which is multiple representation of information. And from an instructional perspective, it's the whole mantra of if you can't reach them, you can't teach them. That information needs to be accessible and presented in a variety of ways, audio, print, tactile graphically, by video, as many possible ways there are to make sure that people can get the information they need. UDL really expands beyond that, and talks about action and expression, how people exhibit mastery, how they can express their achievement, how they can really articulate well what it is they know, and the third principle, really thinking about engagement, how we engage learners to enforce and enhance their persistence in ways that really can support them in the face of challenges.
- [Kirk] So that was Skip Stahl talking about the intersection of accessibility and Universal Design for Learning. In the chatroom, I did put in the link to that video directly, which also has a transcript. And then if you also wanted to go on YouTube on UDL On Campus, there is a captioned version as well as you look. I saw that some of you had echoing, et cetera, and some of you that worked just fine, so I'm sorry that you had some audio issues, but let me just recap what was said. Stop sharing that. Sorry. Okay, so if we could... Here are some of the key things that Skip Stahl, one of the founders of CAST, talked about, is that accessibility is the key to foundations for UDL. And he also said that accessibility materials, accessibility of materials are captured in multiple means of representation in that particular guidelines, which happens to be the middle guideline on this page, and the purple guidelines.
I know that UDL also expands accessibility in also the multiple means of action and expression, the blue column, and also multiple means of engagement, the green column. And I'm gonna be giving you a few examples of how that has worked for in particular case study that has been available on UDL On Campus. So, let's look at accessible educational materials. First of all, what's being given in class or what's being handed out to students? Is it the worksheet, or is it the syllabus, or the whatever the things might be given out in class. Accessibility is not one thing, or even a set of things. It's a matter of looking at accessibility within your own learning environment. Usually, when I have done this type of presentation in a face-to-face learning environment such as Harvard or at different types of higher educations institutions.
I kinda asked the students in the beginning, "First of all, how did you get here to this class? "What are some of the ways that you got to class?" Well, some of them drove their own car, some took a bus, some of them walked from their dormitories or from the student center. And then I ask, "If you have different abilities, "how did you get here? "Did you take a whole accessible "pathway to this classroom? "Did you take stairs, "and were there other options available for you "if you had a mobility impairment? "Were you able to get into this classroom?" And then once you got into the classroom, is it about... Well, if you're in the classroom, is it still like a stadium-style seating so that you, if you have a mobility impairment, you're only allowed to have access to some part of the classroom, or were you given access to all of the classroom? Or if you have a visual disability where you're sitting by the window, and the sun coming into that window is actually impeding your view of either the board or what's being presented in the classroom.
Again, that accessibility is really a moving target. It's a moving target for all of us. Not just a matter of preference, but it's also a matter of accessibility. So for some of us that had different types of disabilities or conditional disabilities, we do have to take that into consideration. Our faculty and administration of higher educational settings, they need to understand that too, that we need to build in more flexible options, and feeding in materials that we need to then apply for our students. And then again, is it accessible to whom? In other words, if somebody has a disability that they cannot see black print on white paper, but if they are able to use some type of lens or colored paper by the colored background and that's available to them, why couldn't it be just available to everyone? And I've seen actually under K to 12 settings actually do color coding within grades to say that, "Okay, all math sheets will be on yellow paper, "all English pieces will be on green paper."
And that's just helping with not only executive functioning, but it also helps with getting kids a little bit more organized from a very young age. And then is it accessible where? For example, if you have some students who might not be able to attend class, a classroom environment on a campus, are they able to zoom in or see the lecture remotely. We have that technology. It's just a matter of how we can get into play, and how we can utilize that in an effective and efficient manner. And then it's accessible for what? Again, taking that, some of you probably heard about this, but the set framework which is by Joy Zabala. Looking at the students needs first and foremost in that environment for that specific task, and then you look at the tool. So how can these types of accessible educational materials be available and then be produced and designed for each individual within your classroom. It takes a lot of work.
But once you figured it out upfront, more than likely, you're reducing a whole ton of barriers for a whole bunch of other students within your classroom. To know more about accessible educational materials, you can always go to AEM, A-E-M, .cast, C-A-S-T, .org. And you can find out more information and resources on how to getting things more accessible around materials. So, what I like to talk about now is this blog post that was on June 4, of 2017 from Access Lab. And basically it was from a tweet that actually was sent out by someone where they asked specifically, "If you had a disability, "what's the hardest thing about browsing the web?" Okay, so real generic question that was asked. And what happened is that the Access Lab did a little research and had some responses. And the article there is in that, is in the window itself, but I'm also gonna put that in the chat window. So if you wanted to view this research, you can. But I'm gonna sum it up here, is that a lot of the people who responded to this tweet were... Some of the top accessibility concerns were lack of captions on video, and that's not only open and closed, but also audio descriptions.
How can audio-describe videos be pretty effective for a lot of our students who are blind or visually impairment. Another point was motion, animation, and cluttered pages. Looking at things with too much information or cluttered, or animation that scoots across. This can be very distracting. And also just walls of text, just looking at text and not any white space, or any margins, or things like that, that's very obtrusive to someone learning. Small font size on the web is also sort of an obstruction for many people. Zooming problems or the laying out of materials. There's also the low color contrast and images of text, and then small targets within the websites theme selves. And all of these different types of top accessibility concerns are interesting because many of the technologies that exist today can alleviate 90% of these accessibility concerns if it's designed within the webpage itself. So there's some plenty of great examples that have screen readers within their websites them selves and also zoom capability.
Also, looking at different ways of using web browsers to help with color contrast and changing filters of webpages, looking at how we can reduce motion and animation. So, there's a lot of technologies that are out there right now to address quite a number of these problems that students have become more aware of. So I'd like to give you a couple of examples around Universal Design for Learning, and how educators have used the UDL lens to help support all of their students within their classrooms. So this is from East Carolina University, and of course it's Instructional Leadership for Teaching and Learning, and the professors Dr.Marjorie Ringler. And she identified challenges within that face-to-face classroom.
These are three challenges that she came up with. One is unable to understand how theory translates into that practice. So how does she take theory and then how does she incorporate that into a practice model for her leadership class. Then also the lack of opportunities to practice those leadership skills needed to become an effective principle. So it's not just a matter of giving homework to the students, but how can she provide different opportunities to practice those leadership skills. And then the third one was lack of student engagement and lecture-style classroom. Well, because of her lectures and what she was doing, there wasn't so much engagement from her participants, from her learners within the classroom.
So, she really wanted to look at UDL and how that could address the three of these issues. Excuse me one second. Okay, so UDL strategies, when addressed, these challenges could be under the affective network, again, looking a that emotional side of how we learned the why of learning. We can provide multiple means of engagements through heightening interest and support and progress monitoring. What she did was she used service learning projects and group work that would enable more engagement among the students to sort of have their own projects and work together, group work, learn from each other. She also asked students to provide feedback for every class and have them complete weekly personal reflections, so about their learning. I think that they could do, every time that they meet, if it's a weekly professional reflections, even through the process of providing information, personal reflections are so essential to learning because that's when the rubber hits the road. That's when you apply the knowledge that you've gained, and how will they use that information to their benefit and actually include that within their next ideas or strategies of that. She also took physical space.
Within her lecture room which was set up as a lecture hall, she was able to find another room on campus that actually afforded this type of group work. So she had three sets of pods with six people at pod, and then she also had smaller pods of two and three individuals that wanted to work together. And what she found out was that when she implemented sort of just this physical arrangement of space where students were looking at each other, that, that actually helped with the behavior of their not only the students, but also the instructor, in how they interacted with each other. So, she was even surprised by being unable to keep that, by keeping that classroom arrangement that she was able to them become less lecture and become more interactive within that physical space.
So, she says when she moved from a traditional room to one room with those round tables, she lectured less and walked around the tables more, and got feedback from individual students. And what she said is that she thought that space was just neutral. That wasn't really a meaningful part of information, but yeah, it's about that it can really affect the way that students are engaged within the material and the curriculum, but it's not just the space, but you also have to have good information, and strategies, reflections, posing questions, information activities, all of those things that, as good teaching, we should do. Someone said a U-shape is great. Just again, the U shape is good, but this all focuses again more on the middle of the room and the lecture, and the person presenting or the facilitator. I'm not saying that's a bad idea. What I'm saying is that it also depend upon your activity and your lesson, what you're trying to do.
So it could be a U-shape at one point in time. It could be pods. It could be everybody sitting on the floor. It could be a great field trip to do something in regards to supporting a lesson. Another UDL strategy that she addressed was through multiple means of representation, again, looking at that recognition network, the what of learning, and how do we provide multiple means of representation. She provided, in order to support the processing of information, she used multiple forms of media, including captions and audio-describe videos and simulations. So she was able to find some videos, other videos that she used that actually worked out better on her behalf when it talked about teacher leadership that happened to be captioned, but then she also found some that were closed captioned. I'm sorry, that were audio described captions as well. Whereas, they were able to then describe, a narrator was able to describe what was happening on the screen. And this was sort of an eye-opening moment for many of their students.
Because again, in teaching and leadership, is that they felt that the audio description was actually very beneficial for them to know what was actually happening on the screen. Because one of the videos was talking about the particular practice they were doing within teacher leadership, and the audio description was able to support their learning by telling them exactly what was happening within the room. And then UDL strategies to address the challenges. She looked at providing multiple means of action and expression. Again, that's the strategic network of the how of learning. And so to support student planning and that composition, she wanted to share weekly learning objectives. She also shared her guided notes, notes that she had given out to students.
So that if she had more guided notes than they did, she understood what were the main key points that she was trying to do within her lecture or also within her lesson. She also found some graphic organizers from previous students that were in her class, that use those graphic organizers to help solidify the information within the lesson. So previous students... She was afforded that because she was in a teaching leadership. She was afforded access to those previous students, which is very helpful. And then the students also shared their ways of how they captured some information as well. Alice is asking who assisted Dr. Ringler obtaining caption and describe materials. She kinda took it upon herself to do that, but she also has a graduate assistant I helping her with that. We love graduate assistants, don't we? And she gave them option for the graduate student, because the graduate student was looking at teaching and learning within her curriculum and decided that maybe we need to beef up our media products in here. And so she found some audio described materials online. A good example, a good resource, and I'm not sure if I had this on the back is if you do, if you do a Google search on audio description...
Sorry, I'm gonna do that right now because I think it's important. Yeah, there's the... There's a few resources on here. And if somebody would wanna take this on, they can do that. Here it is, The Audio Description Project from the American Council for the Blind. They have some audio description libraries and also some described titles of either movies. I'm gonna put that in the chat room so you can have that as a resource for you to look at. And lastly, this is specifically with an online course. I pulled this out because I think that classroom and online, you are hybrids. But then when you're also just teaching an online course, I think it's important that you add that personal touch to your courses and providing, in this way, providing multiple means of action and expression is, you use that syllabus to communicate regular routines, establish expectations, timing if you have synchronous or a synchronous types of classroom activities, how do you format assessment of things.
What this individual did was she did a video tour of critical features within that course, online course, including support. So she used different types of web showing tools. Excuse me. Web showing tools to help with orientation within her classroom, but then she also did a video in her home, did a few things personal about her, just to kinda make that personal connection. And I think sometimes we do use that, use that as often as we should. And not only did that actually provide multiple means of action expression within the online curriculum, but also shows a little of engagement. So the professor or the instructor facilitator is able to do a personal video, maybe one of the interactions could be that they also ask the students to make a personal video so that people can know exactly who is in their class et cetera, or whatever. It doesn't have to be video. It could be a recording or something of that nature.
Thank you for these resources within the chatroom, to Diana and Chris. Great, and so, Marvin, thank you. The few of have a contract with CaptionSync for closed captions. Great. I know that the CSU has a huge ATI effort, the accessible technology initiative to support those pieces. So, I come to the question and answer time of our webinar, which I'll give this about seven minutes for that. So if you have any questions, feel free to put in the chatroom. I'm also going to... Since I'm kinda waiting for some possible some questions, I'm gonna just go quickly over some resources. So some of the resources you'll see on here is the udloncampus.cast.org, which basically has plethory of different types of resources and information on including Universal Design for Learning within your courses. There's also a few accessibility checklist. There's the WebAim 508 standards. There's the Wave web tool accessibility tool. There's also the WCAG 2 Technical Details. So I have those within the slides in these resources. There's also some content creation resources and looking at accessibility in higher education. Web Aim is a great resource to look at for accessibility. Also, VPAT, which is looking at the information Technology Industry Council or ITIC.
And if you go to that site, I'm just trying to do that right now, the VPAT information... Did I spell it right? Sorry. To go directly to that policy and accessibility under the ITI or ITIC site, they have the VPAT, which is looking at the voluntary product accessibility template, so that any type of vendor or whatever will hopefully have a VPAT on how accessible their product is. Excuse me. Then there's also the Flexible Learning for Open Education, the FLOE, the 3 Play, B.C. Open Textbook Authoring Guide. You'll hopefully get these resources as we go through this. And this is sort of reading some of the comments in that chat window. Chris Smith is sharing accessible online course content, great, under the HSF, and documents and presentations. Good. And Chris was also within...
I wanna also add to that is that in the AEM, A-E-M, .cast.org site, there's also, if go under the heading for creating AEM. You'll see a bunch of resources for, excuse me, for creating AEM, looking at best practices for educators and instructors. I'm gonna put that link directly in here, so that you can look at those resources as well of how you can get some checklist on PowerPoint, Excel, PDF, a bunch of those educational materials. Also some SETA policy briefs, the state education technology component. Also, I have up here online, up here on the slide, is the CAST page, the National Center on Educational Materials page, and then also the National Center on UDL, udlcenter.org, which I believe is going to be changing hopefully soon. I know that CAST is working on redeveloping that, and updating it. Okay.
So, that's it. I hope this was helpful for you. Sorry, I'm trying to talk and read at the same time, and you know that's hard. Chris is a Instructional Designer with North Carolina Virtual Public Schools, and you're partnering with New York's Governor Morehead School for the blind to offer Spanish online. Getting great feedback from them on digital accessibility. Great. And I've been looking at a trend within higher education accessibility, is that some of the lead colleges and universities are actually offering positions for accessibility specialist. And sometimes I'm seeing that coming out of the IT Department or from the Diversity Department. So looking at how they can build in accessibility within their higher educational setting systemically.
So not just looking it from the students with disabilities resources or the students disabilities support services, but actually looking it from building accessibility from a website point of view. And as we go into specially online information and how everything is becoming more online is ensuring that accessibility is put together and addressed systemically. So that takes us to the end, and it looks like the webinar survey is up there. So if you would please fill out a brief survey, at that surveymonkey.com/s/CTDCafeEvents, we would really appreciate your evaluation of this. And if you have any suggestions for other presentations, we'd love to hear from you. And you have my information. I'm at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have an questions, comments, or any feedback that you'd like to give me. And I'm gonna put my email in that chatroom. So again, thank you so much for your attention today, and I'll see you next time. Ana Maria, the survey link is not working. It says "Not fond."
- [Ana Maria] I posted it here in the chat. It seems not be working from the link,
- [Kirk] Of course I see it now, of course. All right.
- [Ana Maria] No problem.
- [Kirk] Thank again everybody.
- [Ana Maria] Thanks Kirk.