Creating Accessible Learning Materials – Microsoft Word

Our team has been infusing accessibility into our process for a while. In the blog series, “Formatting eLearning Documents,” former team member Wendy detailed how to effectively format documents in Microsoft Word and take full advantage of its features. I intend to add to that resource with my own article series, with a specific focus on accessibility. 

In “Creating Accessible Learning Materials,” I’ll explore a few ways accessibility practices can be implemented when creating content in Microsoft Office. Today, I’ll focus on Word and briefly cover some useful tips to improve the documents you share. 

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How Much Is Too Much?: A Look at Tool Use in an Online Course

We’ve all done it. A new tool gets introduced, and we find several ways it can be applicable to the lessons we teach all in the pursuit of making sure the ways we present information to our students are relevant, interesting, efficient, and current. But is this actually helpful? Do our students get a better experience when we introduce the latest programs, software, and technologies? 

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Small Steps to Make Your Class a More Accessible Experience

Have you wanted make your class more accessible and inclusive, but you just didn’t know where to start? Maybe you know you should add accessibility into your course, but it feels like you don’t have enough time to redesign the whole course. 

Accessibility improves the learning experience for all learners. Not every student discloses their needs (whether physical or cognitive, permanent or situational), so it’s important to take a proactive approach to create an inclusive learning environment.

When you pick small, manageable elements to focus on, you can slowly infuse accessibility into your course each time it runs. With a few changes, you can start to make your course materials more accessible.

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eLearning Past, Present, and Future (2011-2021): A Conversation about Trends in eLearning, Instructional Design, and Online Learning

In May 2011, I graduated from high school. In June, before I started college, I walked into my first group interview. While I had never heard of eLearning or instructional design, I was still intrigued. Dave Goodrich, one of my high school science teachers, now worked at Spring Arbor University (SAU) as an instructional designer. He believed in my potential and said this student worker job could last throughout my undergraduate career if I wanted. 

I met Dave, Tara McCoy , and a couple others from what was formerly the Office of Academic Technology (OAT) outside a coffee shop. When I was hired on the spot, I had no idea what I was getting into or how this field and career would help me as a student and as a professor. 

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Creating and Maintaining Instructional Videos

When paragraphs of instructions aren’t doing the trick, videos can guide visual learners through steps to complete a task. Whether it’s something physical or on a computer, sometimes the best way to show someone how to do something is to, well… show them! The recording process can sometimes be long and you may need to do some editing after the video is submitted, so here are some tips to help you get the right video the first time and keep it accurate.

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The Brains Behind Assessment

In the current day and age of learning, we find a lot of variability in how we develop and provide learning environments. Many individuals have had to rethink their teaching and learning atmospheres to accommodate societal changes. In all of those alterations, the need for assessment is one of the primary components of any learning environment that needs to be addressed. But with the consistency found in needing assessment, we still need to think through what activities and evaluations fit best with the curriculum, learners, and modality. So how do we make that decision?

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Just-in-Time Resources for Faculty

In 2020, the need for ongoing support became even more apparent as educators struggled with the uncertainties from the COVID-19 pandemic. In a recent post about the importance of supporting faculty and adjuncts through ongoing training, Ann describes how “Providing more opportunities for faculty training and development is one of the first steps we must take in order to empower faculty to make the mission of higher education a reality.” 

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New Year, New Start: The Importance of Faculty Training

When the calendar turned to January 1, 2021, many experienced a collective sigh of relief. A new year brings expectancy, excitement, hope, and the promise of a new beginning. While 2020 was a challenging, uncertain, and crazy year, we learned so much through it in many aspects of life, including in the fields of Education, eLearning, and Instructional Design.

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2020: A Year Redefined

It’s hard to believe we’re wrapping up our fourth year of blogging on Model eLearning. Most years, we take time to reflect on what we’ve written, review our discoveries and research, and celebrate our accomplishments for the year. These reflections resonate even deeper as we look at a year shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Campus Collaborations: eLearning and the White Library

When Michigan went into a sudden lockdown due to COVID-19 during the Spring 20 semester, our university shifted personnel around to meet the needs caused by moving to remote learning and work. Our team gained additional staff to support the influx of requests, including dedicated help from the White Library. With the stronger ties between us, we’ve able to work together to creatively address these needs.

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