Creating Accessible Learning Materials – Microsoft PowerPoint

Welcome back! In Creating Accessible Learning Materials – Microsoft Word, I outlined some ways you can format your Microsoft Word documents to be more accessible. By maintaining the alt text, color contrast, and using the accessibility checker, your document should be accessible to anyone who needs it.

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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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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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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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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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Remote Learning: A New Journey

In the time of Covid-19, we’ve been thrust into The Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle-earth. We have to battle villainous foes, make courageous choices, and strike a blow against the evil that threatens the land. This is the best way I know to describe the feeling as we find ourselves in with little to no advanced warning—forced by circumstance to teach all courses online. 

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Sharing Accessibility Stories: Making eLearning for Everyone

In November 2019,  several members of our eLearning team attended Michigan State University’s (MSU) 5thannual Accessible Learning Conference (ALC). The theme of the conference was storytelling, emphasizing that the core of accessibility is “people and their stories.” As someone who’s been a student in the communication and theatre fields for almost a decade, this theme struck a chord with me. Often, at both private and public universities, the majority of students’ disabilities are often unidentified, so their stories go untold. These untold stories create a roadblock in these students’ ability to succeed in learning environments.

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Playful Course Design

As someone with a recent background of scholarly writing, I had to overcome my unconscious assumptions that scholarly meant minimal “fun” or “play-based” interactions. After a few psychology and technology courses, I realized there was a smaller divide than I originally assumed. I spent a lot of time trying to find ways to investigate and discuss learning and cognition theories to fulfill my course requirements, but for a long time ignored the obvious truths behind why I wanted to study learning in the first place—witnessing learning either intentionally or unintentionally in various forms of play. 

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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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Formatting eLearning Documents: Collaboration Station

Now that we’ve discussed many of the important formatting tools in MS Word, let’s turn our attention to collaboration. In the first post of this series, Back to the Basics, we explored the highly collaborative environment of eLearning.

After adding hyperlinks, page breaks, tables, and photos, it’s time to share your material with your fellow collaborators. And, using MS Word’s Review tab, you can work with them to discuss, edit, and update your document.

Let’s take a look at this Review Tab, our Collaboration Station™.

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