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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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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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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Develop Your Instructional Design Skills

Instructional design is often a career people fall into. When you scroll through comment sections online, you’ll see the same question from people interested in entering the field: Where do I learn instructional design skills?

While you might find a graduate degree or certificate useful (especially if you plan to work in higher education), it’ll depend on the industry you focus on. Even if you decide to hold off on the degree for now, there’s plenty of low-cost options to help you develop your skills.

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Solving Tough eLearning Problems

As instructional designers, we’re often asked to solve a variety of problems. From finding ways to help the transfer of knowledge to developing training or learning resources, sometimes the solution is much more complicated than what our subject matter expert or client realizes. As we juggle many projects and find ways to deliver solutions on a deadline, it can become frustrating for everyone involved when they just want us to “put it in the learning management system.”

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Engage Learners with Instructional GIFs

You can’t really go anywhere on the internet without running into the ubiquitous animated GIF (graphical interchange format). Originating in 1987, GIFs shaped—and grew—with the internet in the following 30+ years (for those who missed the 90s or want to reminisce, the Internet Archive created a search for early GIFs).

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Encourage Collaboration on your eLearning Team

Like all design environments, our eLearning ecosystem includes a range of job titles, skillsets, experiences, and personalities. Building a successful team takes more than bringing skilled individuals together—you also need to encourage collaborative team culture.

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Summer Reads for Instructional Designers and Learning Professionals 2019

Summer’s a special time to read. Maybe it’s at the park, in a hammock, or under a tree. Or maybe you’re on the beach with the sound of the waves filling the gaps between the turn of the page. For me, it’s often listening to an audiobook while on a walk—something about it helps my mind drift into creative possibilities.

As instructional designers, summer’s a great time to explore related fields to stretch your skills and the way you think about design (and perhaps beat the dreaded design slump). †So, here’s a few books to inspire you.

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Learning from Stories

Have you ever lost yourself in a story? There’s nothing quite like it. The whole world passes by as you absorb the plot, setting, and characters. When you return (a little blurry-eyed) to reality, your whole perspective shifts to adjust to what you’ve experienced. After immersing yourself in the narrative, you have changed.

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