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Spreading the Word About Philosophy’s Value

Chronicle of Higher Education - March 19, 2017 - 4:35pm
The American Philosophical Association’s executive director says the discipline has to be proactive in defending itself.
Categories: Higher Education News

3 Ways to Support Philosophy on Your Campus

Chronicle of Higher Education - March 19, 2017 - 4:33pm
Find out what departments are doing to help secure their futures.
Categories: Higher Education News

A Christian Conservative Professor Accuses Colleges of Indoctrinating Students

Chronicle of Higher Education - March 19, 2017 - 4:30pm
Carol Swain, a political scientist and a Christian conservative, is retiring early from teaching a year after Vanderbilt students called her a bigot and petitioned for her suspension.
Categories: Higher Education News

A ‘Sense of Entitlement’

Chronicle of Higher Education - March 19, 2017 - 4:30pm
Carol Swain, a political scientist and a Christian conservative, is retiring early from teaching a year after Vanderbilt students called her a bigot and petitioned for her suspension.
Categories: Higher Education News

How to Help Your Department Avoid the Ax

Chronicle of Higher Education - March 19, 2017 - 4:00pm
What philosophy departments can teach their peers in the humanities about surviving cuts and staying relevant.
Categories: Higher Education News

Appointments, Resignations, Deaths (3/24/2017)

Chronicle of Higher Education - March 19, 2017 - 4:00pm
The University of California at Berkeley appointed its first female chancellor, and a former U.S. secretary of education will be a senior fellow in the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy.  
Categories: Higher Education News

Where Will the Government Look for Thousands of New Border Agents? On College Campuses

Chronicle of Higher Education - March 17, 2017 - 2:55am
The Trump administration wants to hire 5,000 new Customs and Border Protection officers, and colleges are a prime recruiting ground.
Categories: Higher Education News

Students for Bernie Find Their Home in Growing Socialist Movements

Chronicle of Higher Education - March 17, 2017 - 2:55am
Awoken by the former presidential contender and spurred on by President Trump’s election, the Young Democratic Socialists are expanding.
Categories: Higher Education News

Why It Matters That Trump Wants to Kill the NEA and NEH

Chronicle of Higher Education - March 17, 2017 - 2:49am
The president’s budget plan may never be enacted, but the call to eliminate the endowments plays to his base and sends a signal about what his administration values.
Categories: Higher Education News

Avoiding the Ax

Chronicle of Higher Education - March 16, 2017 - 10:00pm
What philosophy departments can teach their peers in the humanities about surviving cuts and staying relevant.
Categories: Higher Education News

Arkansas Is Poised to Shield Public-College Police From Records Requests

Chronicle of Higher Education - March 16, 2017 - 2:22pm
A bill on the governor's desk would deem a swath of records kept by campus police departments at public colleges to be exempt from open-records requests.
Categories: Higher Education News

What Trump’s Budget Outline Would Mean for Higher Ed

Chronicle of Higher Education - March 16, 2017 - 1:52pm
President Trump’s "skinny budget," which is just an opening offer in the budget-writing process, proposes cuts in several agencies and programs.
Categories: Higher Education News

U. of Wisconsin Campus Reverses Course on Firing Employee Who Supported Trump's Travel Ban

Chronicle of Higher Education - March 16, 2017 - 9:56am
The university's chancellor said it had acted too fast in dismissing Kimberly Dearman, but refuted her claim that she had been terminated for defending the president's policies.
Categories: Higher Education News

An Uncertain Future for Higher Education’s Federal ‘Cop on the Beat’

Chronicle of Higher Education - March 16, 2017 - 2:56am
For nearly seven years, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has taken on student-loan companies, big banks, and for-profit universities. With Republicans in charge, what lies ahead for the agency?
Categories: Higher Education News

Research or Mission? Professors of Color Face Tough Choices on Where to Work

Chronicle of Higher Education - March 16, 2017 - 2:55am
Faculty members who studied at top research universities discuss the tradeoffs of not teaching at one.
Categories: Higher Education News

Trump Will Propose Shutting Down National Arts and Humanities Endowments

Chronicle of Higher Education - March 15, 2017 - 9:20pm
He would be the first president to call for the elimination of the endowments, according to The New York Times.
Categories: Higher Education News

Federal Judge Blocks Trump's Second Effort at Travel Ban

Chronicle of Higher Education - March 15, 2017 - 6:23pm
Like the judge who ruled against the president's first travel ban, the latest ruling says the policy would unconstitutionally discriminate against Muslims.
Categories: Higher Education News

Campus Police Dispatcher Says She Was Fired for Supporting Trump

Chronicle of Higher Education - March 15, 2017 - 1:00pm
The chancellor of the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse refuted a claim by Kimberly Dearman that she was terminated for telling a coworker she supported the president's initial travel ban.
Categories: Higher Education News

How USC Raised $6 Billion and Is Now Seeking More

Chronicle of Higher Education - March 15, 2017 - 12:02pm
The university doubled its fund-raising staff and focused on midlevel donors. Now it’s adding three more years to its record-breaking capital campaign.
Categories: Higher Education News

A Digital Accessibility Agenda for Education

WCET Frontiers Blog - March 15, 2017 - 5:30am

Accessibility is a hot topic in and outside of education. In fact, this month, WCET joined the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD)Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) and the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) for Developmental Disabilities awareness month. In honor of that important topic, today, we welcome Rob Abel, Chief Executive Officer with IMS Global Learning Consortium to discuss the importance of accessibility in digital learning. This topic is important not just for students with disabilities but for all students, faculty, staff, and community members that may associate with our institutions.

I hope you will join us for our WCET Webcast this week to continue this conversation! Register now for Enabling Accessibility in Learning Technology Thursday, March 16, from 1:30-2:30 p.m. ET.

Enjoy this wonderful post, and, thank you Rob for the information and support of accessibility in education!

~Lindsey Downs

Learning is the frontier that defines all other frontiers. Yet, our understanding of the science of learning is very young. How is the explosion of digital devices impacting learning? The answer is “we just don’t know.”

However, we do know that learning is an adaptive process in the brain in which white matter connections among grey matter functional regions are strengthened through interactions with the world. Each human brain contains some 100,000 miles of blood vessels. How they are organized makes us who we are—and there is no one else like you.

What is in your brain has a lot to do with the type of digital experiences you prefer. And, the types of digital experiences you have also impact what is in your brain, bringing to mind Marshall McLuhan’s famous quote, “The medium is the message.”

Student Success and Digital Accessibility

The success of every student, not just those with “disabilities,” is dependent on the impedance match between the medium and their brain. For instance, Jack has a specific preference for large type when reading on his cell phone. Jill prefers audio to reading. Jason has been diagnosed with dyslexia and prefers learning with the help of assistive technology. These situations illustrate just a few examples on the boundaries of the frontier of technology’s impact on learning. All of these scenarios require digital accessibility: easy to find, easy to use, and importantly, meeting the needs of the user and the situation at hand.

Accessibility involves a range of products that “come together” during technology-enhanced learning. There is the instructional material itself—the digital textbook, web page or app. This material is delivered via a digital platform—an ebook reader, an LMS, a web browser—sometimes all of them at once. Then, there is the actual computing hardware and operating system that the platform software and instructional material are rendered on. The material may also be available via a range of assistive technologies—magnifier, screen reader, braille embosser, other specialized software or hardware. Importantly, assistive technologies also enable user input.

Accessibility in Higher Education

Every educational institution, regardless of how large, is grappling with the accessibility issues that can “get them in trouble.” Everyone wants to do the right thing for every student. And, while there has been some steady progress on many fronts, such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines and Universal Design for Learning,  accessibility is clearly a need that is under-resourced in terms of both institutional support and supplier investment.

The IMS Global Learning Consortium (IMS Global) has been on the leading edge of developing open standards that can enable better accessibility for those with “special needs” but also for all users for more than 15 years. A small but dedicated set of organizations, including IBM, The Open University and WGBH led the development of IMS Global Access for All (AfA), a standard that enables matching of any learner’s needs with digital resources that meet those needs under a variety of usage scenarios, including mobile devices. AfA is now an international standard published by ISO/IEC. IMS Global has also revolutionized digital accessibility in delivery of educational assessment via the Accessible Portable Item Protocol® (APIP®) that was led by ACT, ETS, Measured Progress, Pacific Metrics and Pearson. APIP provides assessment programs and question item developers with a data model for standardizing the interchange file format for digital test items so delivery can be optimized for a variety of special needs. The IMS Global Personal Needs and Preferences (PNP) standard enables the user preferences for both AfA and APIP.

At IMS Global we believe that a high degree of cooperation among the education industry, publishing industry and accessibility associations is required to move the needle on accessibility in education to where it needs to be. Over the last several years IMS Global has collaborated closely with publishing industry associations to leverage a mix of IMS Global standards and the most recent version of ePub, that has been named Edupub. Edupub promises to provide accessibility advances compared to existing digital book formats.

The Future of Accessibility in Education

For those of us in the education sector, institutions, suppliers, and associations, we need to work together to create the future of accessibility in education. However, the ecosystem is complex. IMS Global has an established Institutional Leadership Network focused on accessibility, led by Penn State, Tennessee Board of Regents, University of Michigan and Unizin. IMS Global is also participating on the advisory Board of the Center for Accessible Materials Innovation (CAMI), a first in the world grant program.

The agenda is as simple and complex as building an effective collaboration among the key ecosystem participants. The challenge is in the term “effective.”

It is very clear that institutions today are required to replicate similar services. Thus, “effective” requires new collaborations among institutions to find, vet and recommend the right solution to each challenge.

It is also very clear that even though institutions may view suppliers (learning platforms, education publishers, assistive technology providers) as “large” or “well-resourced,” they are not. Education suppliers do not have the same enormous budgets and profits as commercial Internet or computer companies. Not even close. Thus, “effective” requires new collaborations among education sector suppliers.

Join Us!

IMS Global invites all potential collaborators to join in to our efforts to enable accessibility for all. Please contact us to learn more and join in!

For a deeper dive on the information summarized above, please see the App Note: Enhancing Accessibility through IMS Global Standards. Or, join us at the Learning Impact Leadership Institute, Denver, May 16-19, 2017, for the Enhancing Accessibility for All track sessions as well as a full day focused on Assistive Technology.

WCET and the IMS Global Accessibility Institutional Leadership Network invite you to the Enabling Accessibility in Learning Technology webinar on Thursday, March 16, from 1:30-2:30 p.m. ET to explore the challenges and opportunities for standards-based accessibility work.


Rob Abel, Ed.D.
Chief Executive Officer
IMS Global Learning Consortium

 

 

 

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