Sunday, November 4, 2012

Accessibility, Accommodations & Uniqueness 2

Cont'd from an earlier post...

2. We need to be more aware of how to accommodate learners who are different in our instruction. It starts with cultivating an open mindset and becoming informed.

This is not a new idea but bears repetition because I encounter people who don't have that awareness.

I know that some people complain about the cost and labor of providing accommodations. It is a real issue that we have to work on. It involves changing some national and institutional policies so that support for access can be implemented more quickly. There is a lot of work to do to create awareness of what a marginalized group experiences so that it becomes acknowledged by the majority. Switch roles for a day and try to understand what it is like to figure out the world visually instead of aurally, to not have access to peripheral sounds that aid layers to understanding.

Accessibility happens when the institution, the instructor and the individual requiring accommodations work together to make it happen. The learner must learn to ask, and persist in asking, and the institution/department/instructor must listen to facilitate that support.

In online learning, knowledge about assistive technologies and how to deliver information through new technologies to users from different groups must be pushed out to all instructors who teach in that medium. Whether they get pulled in is something for program evaluation. Information must be delivered to all users in timely and effective ways, regardless of the medium of instruction. How to support interactions among all users is another must-know information piece. In instructional-design (ID) speak, these are knowledge interventions that must occur.

How do we IDs design these interventions and what do they look like? That is content for a possible future posting. :)

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