Closed captions help all students

YouTube logo and Closed Captions logoWith tertiary education institutions turning to online learning and creating videos of lectures, the need to caption these videos could be more important for all students than first realised. The findings of this study show the need for more work in this area, but early results show that captioning benefits most students, with or without disability. This finding could transfer to the general community. 

“When queried whether captions were helpful, 99% of students reported they were helpful (5% slightly, 10% moderately, 35% very, 49% extremely). We were unable to determine differences among students with and without disabilities, as we did not track individual survey responses.” Interestingly, in this study 13% of respondents indicated having a disability, but only 6% were registered as such.

young female at a desk with laptop, coffee cup and notebookVarious reasons were given for the benefits of closed captioning – noise in their listening environment, unclear speech in the video, spelling of new or unfamiliar words, and being able to take notes just by stopping the video and not needing to rewind to listen again. Students with English as a second language also benefitted. Although these results show the need for more research, they found there was a 7% increase in student results compared to the previous year’s students who did not have captioning. The article also discusses the cost of captioning and other options, such as speech recognition. The title of the article is, Closed Captioning Matters: Examining the Value of Closed Captions for All Students, and is published in the Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability, 2016.

Editor’s note: Anyone who has seen the results of “automatic” online Google captioning will know that the results are very haphazard. It is good to see how captioning is now being seen within the scope of universal design and could be more widely applied.

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UD in Higher Education

view of university of seville library with students sitting at desks. bookcases are in the backgroundWhile inclusive education at all levels is written into policy documents, strategies for implementation are sometimes few and far between. Barriers in many forms still confront students with disability in educational settings, whether it be the built environment, attitudes of staff and other students, or the design of the curriculum. 

The main the main objective of this paper, Inclusive University Classrooms: the importance of faculty training is to identity, describe and explain barriers and aids related to faculty that students with disabilities experience in classrooms. The paper is by a cross-disciplinary group from the University of Seville in Spain. Reference is made to the work by Australians Valerie Watchorn and Helen Larkin on this topic. It is interesting to note the recent frequency of articles by Spanish authors appearing in the literature on different aspects of universal design.

The picture is of the library at University of Seville.

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Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

Logo of the Ed Media and Technology conference proceedingsHere are links to four recently published papers on UDL from Proceedings of EdMedia: World Conference on Educational Media and Technology 2016 in Canada. Some articles will require institutional access. Here are the links to the abstracts: 

Getting Them Excited: Designing an online course based on the ARCS Model to encourage attention, relevance, confidence and student satisfaction in a general educational humanities class.

Using Multimedia Solutions for Accessing the Curriculum Through a UDL Lens

Theoretical Framework Regarding the Usability of Augmented Reality in Open and Distance Learning Systems

Designing Universal Access for Open and Distance Learning through Human Centered Ecological Design (HCED)

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Learning is for everyone: free technical article

Wayfinding picture yellow background and black symbols show toilet and baby change The eLearning Industry website has some interesting articles for anyone interested in inclusive learning ideas. “Designing eLearning that is accessible for people with disabilities isn’t easy. The key is to find ways in which basic principles of good web design, along with the principles of Universal Design, can improve access to and the experience of eLearning for all learners, regardless of ability.” In their free technical article they examine several important issues related instructional design and accessibility: 

  • Legal requirements for accessible web sites.
  • Problems encountered by people with disabilities who use educational sites.
  • Guidelines for accessible design from various government and private organizations.
  • Assistive technologies that aid learners with disabilities.
  • Developing accessible eLearning using the guiding principles of Universal Design for Learning.
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Inclusive practice in higher education

Cover page of the Journal of Inclusive practice in further and higher education.The latest edition of the Journal of Inclusive Practice in Further and Higher Education includes papers from the International Conference held in 2015. All articles include the concept of universal design in learning with a focus on neurodiversity.  It covers methods and research in higher education and transition to work. Contributions to this journal encourage emancipatory methods with neurodiverse people, particularly involving their personal experiences.  The Journal is published in Word format therefore making it widely accessible.

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Teachers perceptions of UD for Learning

A collage of words relating to universal design for learningTeachers who have embraced UDL are great advocates for the process of designing learning programs that include struggling learners. However, not all teachers are amenable to the ideas – resistance to change being a major factor.

Mary E. Jordan Anstead from Walden University investigated the issues and presents them in her doctoral dissertation Teachers Perceptions of Barriers to Universal Design for Learning.

On page 64 she writes, “Research has shown that students at-risk benefit socially, emotionally, and academically from implementation of UDL. Yet, successful implementation and application of UDL are rooted in teachers’ perceptions. Educational reform that promotes the use of Universal Design for Learning on behalf of equitable instruction for all students requires a positive perception of the UDL model. Teachers need to see evidence of student success rather than being forced to implement the instructional model of the year. Real systemic change calls for work designs that permit teachers to learn, plan, and implement UDL strategies through means such as shared planning schedules to allow department or grade level collaboration, Professional Learning Communities (Hirsh, 2012), administrative modeling, peer modeling, and formal professional development.”  She adds that perceptions are unlikely to change by mandating instructional changes and consequently other methods need to be found.

 

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