Exploring the Student Experience – Devon Cancilla, CKO, Online Learning Consortium

Exploring the Student Experience – Devon Cancilla, CKO, Online Learning Consortium


(bright music) – Well, good morning. It looks like there’s a really wide-eyed group of people this morning. You know, I actually moved
back to the West Coast, so I’m kind of on a
three-hour time difference, so if I look even more red-eyed than a lot of people here, you’ll
have to excuse me for that. So, we just introduced Molly as we saw. I’m Devon. What I want to do first is to welcome you to the OLC Collaborate in Kansas City. And special thanks to our
academic partner today which is the University
of Missouri Kansas City and also the University
of Missouri System. So without these kinds of
support from organizations like the University of
Missouri System and PSI and Canvas, we really couldn’t have these kinds of events at Collaborate. So sponsorship of these events is extremely important
and I hope that if you have a chance, you can
kind of thank anybody who’s here from the
sponsoring organization. So, one of the things
that people have asked me is that, you know, that
there’s a couple of things. What is the OLC? What is the Online Learning Consortium? And what I want to do is
to be able to kind of say that it’s really a
community of practitioners who are involved in online education. And what I should also say it’s not just online education, it’s
kind of all education. It’s digital learning,
it’s kind of broadened its kind of scope to just being online to in fact saying you
know education is more about the learning than
about the techniques or the styles in which people learn. And so we were very kind of interested in kind of the whole concept
of learning in general and kind of specifically
with the digital environment. And so one of the things that you’ll find is we have all kinds of opportunities for professional
development, such as these kinds of Collaborates. I hope many of you, how many you have gone to an OLC conference,
a national conference? If you’re like me, the first time I went to one of those conferences
my mind went poof like this because I said this is
really a remarkable thing that’s happening and there
are people just like me who are engaged and are really into the digital environment. So I think that this is
something that’s very important that we get together as a community. That said, what does it
mean to be a community? So I don’t know if many of you knew this, but the very original,
the very first Collaborate actually occurred here in
Kansas City back in 2015. So we were the first
ones to be able to host and to be able to work with OLC to be able to kind of host a Collaborate. So, a Collaborate concept came out of the idea of a chautauqua. Do people here know what a chautauqua was, have they heard of it? So a
couple of you have heard of it. But back in the turn of the
century what happened was they had these kinds of
great issues of the time, and again, they didn’t have the internet, they didn’t have cell
phones, they didn’t have these kinds of things, but what they did is had basically traveling,
you know, events. And so basically these organizations would pull together the speakers of the time or the great thinkers
and they would travel from city to city to
city and they would put up these tents and they
would say, you know, come one, call all, let’s
talk about the issues, whether it’s evolution,
whether it’s about religion, whether it’s about, you
know, whatever the topic of the day was and they would
engage these communities across the country in
kind of the discussions about what was going on. And so the Collaborates are actually kind of modeled after
that type of activity, and so this is what we hope it is. The Collaborates really are an opportunity for an open and civil
discussion about things that we’re all interested in, we don’t necessarily all agree about, but we can certainly kind of come together as a group of educators
and say what are the best approaches that we can take
and what are the things we need to do to
understand what’s happening in higher ed today and
kind of in our institutions in general, in the bigger
context of the world. So I think that these Collaborates are an extremely important event. And also, you know, what
we also believe is that, you know, as Nelson Mandela said, that education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. And I think that this
is really in my mind, this is the heart and soul
of what OLC is all about. It’s saying that we have
to build a community in order to kind of change the world and we do it kind of one city, one person, one institution at a time. So again, if you haven’t been a member of the OLC, I would really
strongly encourage you to kind of look and see
what the membership has and what we can be able to do with that. So with that I’m gonna
kind of start the day. You know, we have an actually
exciting lineup of people who are gonna talk and
what I should say is that Collaborates are
a little bit different than what you have. What we’re gonna do is
actually start off the day with a panel and we’ll be
able to show you a video and we’ll kind of go into the discussions. During these kinds of
days, each person will then have a chance to kind
of give a mini keynotes talk and what happens is that’ll
be about 45 minutes, then what happens is we have a breakout, so they have a number of rooms and you can look at your schedule
and you can kind of see that there’s various topics. Feel free to walk into
any room and kind of join the conversations occurring there. Each room will have a
scribe and a moderator, so that they’ll be able to kind
of help the discussion move, so everything will also be kind of tracked down and recorded, so
that after the conference you can be able to kind of see and go back and look and see what the
discussions were about. You can kind of look,
if you couldn’t attend one of the other discussion,
you can kind of see what the people were talking
about in that discussion. And I think what you’ll find,
it’s a very engaging way to kind of get the bigger picture of what’s going on in the world. So there’s a few other things. There will be lunch in
here, it’ll be in this room. There’ll be coffee and various
snacks throughout the day. You can kind of feel
free to help yourself. We do encourage you if
you’re kind of saying hey, I’ve seen this person
here, I haven’t seen him in a few months, feel free
to sit down and talk to them. Part of this is to be able
to be engaged and to talk to each other and not for
the speakers to talk at you. So this is kind of one of the things we’d like to be able to do. So with that, what I’d
like to do is invite the panel up here and then
also Tori, she’s here. Oh, one thing while they’re coming up to the counter. What I’d like to say is that there are a number of sponsors that are
back at the back room there and what we would like to be able to do is feel free to go to
them and get a ticket for a drawing and at the end of the day, what we will be able to do
is pick one or two winners who will receive conference
onsite registrations for the OLC conferences. You have to be here to win and the winners will be announced at
the closing arguments, arguments, I feel like I’m in law school, and I never went to law school so that’s a really horrible thing. And also for those of you who are really into social networking
if you use the hashtag OLC Collaborate, we’ll
pick one winner who’s been posted on that and give
them a $25 gift certificate. So, real briefly, I think
Kansas City is real lucky in one aspect because Jennifer Mathes, who is somewhere in the room, is she here, can you stand up? Raise your hand? Or she’s not in the
room. She is here, okay. She is Online Learning
Consortium’s chief strategy officer and what you can do is,
she lives in Kansas City, and so this is a really great opportunity for those of you in the Kansas City area to be able to kind of, you know, if you want her to come to your school, if you want her to come and talk or if you want her to
come and just kind of say hey, what can we do with your institution as an institution, she’s
right down the street. Well, half an hour down the street. But she is in Kansas City,
so I would encourage you to kind of talk to her a little bit about what’s going on. So with that, what we’re gonna do, I’m just gonna give a
really brief introduction. As Molly said, you know, a few years ago we started to delve into at UMK, see I putting on my UMKC hat now, and one of the things
that happened was one of our instructional
designers showed me this. I don’t want to call it a cartoon because it kind of lessens it in my mind, but kind of this image of what
accessibility was all about. And I have to say in my many, many years of being in education, I
think this is the one image that actually impacted me, probably one of the most
that I’ve ever seen. Because what I started to realize is that there’s an incredible wealth of information in this slide. And what I also realized is
that like a lot of institutions, we were struggling with
what is accessibility, what does it mean, do we have
to close caption everything, do we have do all this kind of stuff, it’s gonna cost us a lot of money. But when I started to look at this, and I started to realize how
we operate as an institution, one of the things that
happened is that you start to look at this image and you say, well, there’s not really a lot
of high tech stuff there. There’s really, you know, a
ramp, there’s some stairs, there’s the regular process
of cleaning the stairs. There’s people waiting
to use the services. It’s really a matter of
changing the way you work, and not necessarily incorporating lots and lots of new technologies that may not even exist at this point. So what I would encourage
you through the day is to kind of think about this image and think about accessibility,
and think about what this means, and with our panelists, you know, kind of take the opportunity to talk to them because
they’re all experts in this area and they can
all give you great advice in terms of what’s going on. So that said, what I would like to do is kind of start the panel off and what we’re gonna do, we’re
gonna try this and see if it works, is we’re gonna
actually show a short video. What we would like to do
is give you a perspective of what it’s like to be a
student with disabilities and kind of what is it
like to have a student aspect of this and kind of, you know, how we should start framing
the day’s discussion. So if I have this right, we
should be able to start this. And so what we had is a
student named Aaron Price and I’m just gonna let him
do the talking right now. And what I should also say is Tori Nguyen, who is the third person over here, was actually the one who
worked with the student and got the video together, so she’s gonna be able to provide
insights in terms of more broad discussions in terms
of what’s kind of happened with that and how the interviews went, and maybe some insights
into what they were talking about that may not be reflected in this kind of discussion. Of course that’s not the mouse. So with that, let’s go. – [Narrator] UMKC Online. An interview with Aaron Price. – My name is Aaron Price and
my major is urban studies. – [Narrator] Why did
you choose this major? – Well, originally I wanted to
do urban planning and design but I can’t really do
that because it requires a lot of hands-on activities
like free hand drawing or building models and I can’t really do either of those things because I can’t use my hands. But urban studies was the next best thing to urban planning and design. – [Narrator] What would you
like to do professionally after you graduate from UMKC? – Professionally? Well, I’m kind of looking to use it as a stepping stone for a law degree. – [Narrator] What assistive technologies do you use in your online
and face-to-face courses? – The assistive technologies that I use when I’m using a computer at home are Dragon Naturally Dictate. I also use a track ball mouse
with four different buttons that allows me to program the buttons to do different functions
like click and drag, double click, refresh,
things of that sort. I also have I guess it’s
a document reader program. It’ll read whatever’s on
the document aloud to me. I also have a mount on my chair to mount a laptop so I can have a
laptop right in front of me. – [Narrator] What are
some of the advantages. – So why don’t we stop it right there. So one of the things that
I’d like the panel to do is maybe kind of discuss,
you know, at least kind of the things that,
the thing that amazed me when I first saw this
video was the student saying I really wanted to be this type of urban planner and then what they said is I couldn’t do that because I couldn’t use my hands. And I started thinking about that a lot and started to think,
well, is that an issue with the department as well? Is there something that
the department itself can actually be doing? What is an urban planner? What makes up an urban planner? An example I want to give
you is being a nurse. Oftentimes we hear well
you can’t be a nurse if you can’t see. But then I thought about
well, how many of us have actually called
on the phone, you know, when we look on the back
of our insurance card and say you need to call this number before you go see a doctor
and you actually get a nurse and you describe your
symptoms and you describe what’s happening to you,
that person is a nurse. You know and again,
you may argue about the training of them, but
maybe we need to think about what it takes to become a nurse or what it takes to
become an urban planner. So with that I’m just
gonna kind of turn it over to the panel and maybe
let them get some insights into what they might
think about, you know, those kinds of questions. – Right in here? – Yeah, is that on? How about this one? How about this one? I don’t sound like a radio announcer? (panelists murmur) – I’ll just talk loud. I absolutely agree with
what Devin’s saying. It’s remarkable to think that someone who had a desire to
work in a certain field thinks that they can’t do that. Actually, we were busy last night talking about this particular thing. The barrier for that
student was the AutoCAD. And yet, today, there is no barrier with that student being able to draw out cities and plans and
stuff, using technology. But it makes me wonder,
is there just a lack of information sharing between individuals with disabilities and the
systems that are there to serve them and to help
piece these things together. That’s a very good point. – I think a lot of it
comes down to, you know, how the student’s been prepared, and what they’ve been told going into their college experience, about what’s possible
and what’s not possible. I think technology has
evolved in such a way that, you know, we look at ways
that we can do multiple inputs into a system, so thinking about how does a student use a traditional mouse in a click type situation, isn’t the same as what it might have
been 10, 15, 20 years ago. There are more options now, but it takes some creativity. And it also depends on
how familiar the folks who have been trained in
disability services are with how that technology works. I think one thing that Cindy and I have talked about frequently
is that she and I both are disability services professionals, who have been immersed in technology, because of where we’ve
worked over the years. And so we have more comfort
with technology than some of our colleagues in
disability services will have, in terms of, you know,
how to make that happen. And that becomes, you
know, a real challenge. Because technology is big,
it’s awful, it’s scary when you don’t know how to use it. And when you’re the
person who has to advise a student on how to use it, sometimes that student’s
options become limited more than they should become limited. And I’d love to talk with Aaron and say, why did you make that decision? Who did you talk to? You know, is that something that happened while you were in high school? Because the high school,
you know, in my experience is that they are even, yeah, it’s on. They’re even, you know, less familiar with some of the ways in which
technology will work, than the way, than what some
of the college providers are. And so that then becomes,
you know, he has in his head, as he’s going through high school, yes, I want to be an urban planner, but I can’t use my hands,
so I can’t do this. Well, there are ways that
we could accommodate that, but sometimes, you know, the
students just kind of get these messages all the way through, that no, that’s not possible,
and no we can’t do that, or that’s gonna be too hard. And it may have been his choice. And that’s okay, he’s
free to make that choice. But I would love to, you know, make sure that he made that choice knowing full well what all of his options were. – And I can actually give
a little bit of context to that conversation. So, one of the things that
you didn’t see on the video is that Aaron was talking a little bit about his history as a student. And originally, he wanted to
go into veterinary science, and that was his original major. But then he had an accident, which ended up causing
him to be a quadriplegic. As you see on the video. And he chose urban planning
and design initially, then decided that that
wasn’t going to work, because he couldn’t use his hands. And eventually ended on what he is now. So he’s actually had quite a
few transitions in education, in higher ed specifically,
through different majors. – And I can just simply say
ditto to everything shared. The additional twist or
wrinkle I’ll offer as well, as I was listening to that video, one of the things that
immediately comes to my mind are okay, so what are the standards, what are the requirements,
what did we set. But more importantly, what
are the curricular issues and or big ideas that these,
individuals like Aaron, would they need to be
able to be equipped with to be able to do the work
that is actually being asked? And generally, in something
like an urban planning, I imagine there’s a certificate, some sort of professional standard. Oftentimes I feel both in K-12,
as well as higher education, we don’t take that standard and say, yeah, well, what’s critical, what are the essential
ingredients and essential ideas? What does an individual
really need to have? Instead we say, here’s the standard, black and white, no flexibility. That cartoon’s a perfect example. Well, the stairs, everyone’s
gotta use the stairs, and then there’s the ramp. Well no, let’s think of it
from a design perspective, let’s think of what we’re
really trying to accomplish, and from that, potentially redesign. Now, technology can certainly
help us with that access, but also if we redesign
two of those big ideas, we may realize that access
is no longer the issue, because some of the things
we said were essential really aren’t essential. They’re great for enrichment,
wonderful to have, but they aren’t the
primary critical things that Aaron and others
are gonna need to have. – Well, can I ask the
panel one question on that, because I think you brought it up, Shawn. This goes back to the
arguments or the discussions we have oftentimes with faculty is, you know, what is the learning outcome, what is the learning objective. And certainly when you
do it at a course level, you have a lot of difficulties. But what I’ve found as a
vice provost is oftentimes the departments or the curriculum,
they don’t have outcomes. And they kind of say, well, it’s because we’re history
people, or whatever. So how do you think that the outcomes, you know, if faculty or
departments actually sat down and started thinking more
deeply about what the learning outcomes would be, do you
think they would redesign their curriculum a little
bit to kind of start saying hey, here’s how maybe we can
have a ramp and a stairs? – Well, sure. I think that’s a phenomenal opportunity. I think truly, if we were
to push in higher education to really think about what are
our objectives and outcomes, first of all, we could
do this within a course. ‘Cause oftentimes, what we
find is what we actually would say are essential and big ideas, and we take a look at what
we actually assess for, and then what we instruct
for, they don’t align. It’s time spent, and honestly,
I think in online learning, one of the benefits of
online learning is we tend to be a little more centered in that. In that when actually
we redesign our course, and think about this is the path we want the students to take in their journey, we tend to make it a bit
briefer, a bit narrower, because we are like,
well, wait a minute here, this additional stuff we did face to face, that’s not relevant to what
we actually want to assess. Oh, then maybe I can
take that off the table. So sadly, I don’t think we do that enough in higher education, or
in K-12 for that matter. And that’s an excellent exercise. Oftentimes I find in places where we have professional standards
and or some sort of, like in engineering we have
a certificate at the end, those kinds of conversations tend to take place more aligned, because of the fact that we have something that
we’re trying to address. Versus, let’s say history and English, where there’s a lot more
flexibility, I would say. – One thing that I would
add to that is that, you know, for me, I always find it rather amusing that when I go to
some of my academic colleagues because we have a student who’s made an accommodation request,
University of Phoenix has an institutional learning goal that our students are going
to work collaboratively as part of learning teams. And so one of our most
popular accommodation requests is for students who ask to
do a learning team of one, ’cause God forbid they
have to work with people. Which, I mean, how many of us in this room absolutely hate group work? I will raise my hand loud and proud. I hate group work in academic courses. But I get why we do it. And, you know, we’ll go, you know, our disability services staff will go to our academic colleagues and say, okay, is this an essential
element of the course? And you know, look at it, and you know, okay, let’s talk about
the learning objectives, and whether or not this is
a reasonable accommodation for this particular student
in this particular course. And they look at us
like we have four heads. Because no one has ever really asked them to talk about whether
or not it’s an essential element of the course,
because it’s what we do. And it doesn’t necessarily
mean that we need to do that for that particular course. And so it’s been an
interesting exercise because, and we were talking about
this at dinner last night too, most of our academic colleagues have never been taught how to teach. Pedagogy doesn’t come into a PhD program. Even PhD programs in education. You know, in a lot of times, you’re not being taught how to construct, you know, learning objectives. You’re not being taught about how to get to those learning outcomes that you had. And how to design a
course that meets that. What happens when you sit
down to teach a course? You think about what
your experience has been, and if it was good enough for you, it’s good enough for your students, right? So that’s kind of the
basis from where we come. But for my purposes, when
I’m looking at whether or not an accommodation is reasonable, I have to be able to justify denying that accommodation to the
student by saying it either reduces the standard,
it fundamentally alters the nature of the program or the course, or it poses an undue burden. And how do I get to that? Well, I have to know what that activity, what that course activity
is going to lead to in terms of a learning objective
and a learning outcome. And so it’s been an interesting exercise as we focus as an
university too on, you know, really looking at
assessment and looking at, you know, learning outcomes
and learning objectives, and you know, putting more
of that emphasis on the front end as we’re doing some course redesign. And then for us to come in
from disability services, where folks are like, I thought you just gave people extra time. I mean, you guys do more than that? And it’s been a really
interesting conversation for us to have and has, you know, really kind of looked at
what accommodations mean, how they work and how
we’re supposed to decide whether or not something’s
you know, reasonable. It’s just not a willy-nilly
kind of decision. There actually is some
quote unquote science behind it and how we figure that out. – Okay, and what I would do
is encourage the audience, if you have questions or you have comments at any point during the
discussion, you know, raise your hand and we’ll ask you again, this is a Collaborate, so the idea is that we’re supposed to
be having a discussion, and there’s a question way back there. – I don’t know off the top
of my head, he was having a hard time remembering
the name of the mouse and the document reader program, but I can find that out for you guys, and send that information to the OLC so that can get out to you as well. – So what I’d like to do
is, if there’s no more, did you have a question, yeah, okay. (audience member speaks indistinctly) – Sure, so I call these
the Three Musketeers of accommodations, this is
what accommodations do not do. They do not fundamentally alter the nature of the program or the course. So if you think about, my last institution had gone from print-based
correspondence courses to online courses, and I had a student who requested to go back to a print-based correspondence course rather
than take an online course. That fundamentally alters the nature of the course or the program,
so that was unreasonable. It does not reduce standards. So if the student in the course
has to write seven papers, reflective papers, across
the course of the semester, an accommodation to
reduce a number of those is not going to be approved
because it’s unreasonable. And it does not pose an undue burden. And so undue burden can
mean a number of things. But in this context,
it usually means that, you know, students are not able to have standing daily appointments with faculty. You know, if they ask for
that, we’re gonna deny that. And you know, if they ask for more access to the faculty member in
an online course via phone, we will look at that and kind of say, okay, within reason,
in terms of how often. But that might be a
reasonable accommodation. So those three things. So that does not fundamentally alter, does not reduce program standards, and does not pose an undue burden. – And I want to just
chime in really quickly. Be very careful if any
of you are thinking, oh, my stuff fits into that. Especially the undue burden piece. While an institution
may say meeting everyday face to face with faculty
member poses an undue burden, that doesn’t mean that that student doesn’t have a right to
meet with somebody everyday. And from a legal standard,
showing an undue burden is actually itself an undue burden. The legal structures
are such that an entity, a department, a college,
even an institution is not necessarily what they’re
looking at as the baseline of what makes an undue burden. So I’m from public ed in Utah. If there was a case of undue
burden that came to us, they wouldn’t say well, this is gonna cost Utah State University this much money, that’s an undue burden. They would look at what
is the state system of higher education in Utah? And is that an undue burden. We’re not saying oh,
this is gonna be a $3,000 captioning piece every
10 weeks in a department, that’s an undue burden,
that’s not the standard. So anyway, I just wanted to get that out. – Sorry Devon.
– You can see these people are very
passionate it, so that’s good. – One thing I want to
add as color to that, you know, to Cindy’s really good caution. Is you know, I recently had a meeting with our marketing folks. And we had made a decision
to go with a vendor that offered a service on our public website that was not accessible. And we had a meeting with the attorneys, you know, to try to figure
out what our path forward was going to be because we had already entered into a contract with this vendor. And the vendor was not
going to be able to meet our benchmark standard of accessibility, which is the WCAG 2.0 AA, and we’ll talk more about that later. But, and so our chief marketing officer looks at me and goes, well, isn’t that an undue burden to us. And I go, we made the decision
to go with the vendor. We can’t then say that our decision to go with a particular vendor makes remediating this issue an undue burden. Because we would be laughed out of court. And you know, so that’s
something to keep in mind. In terms of when you
look at the undue burden, that is going to be
the highest litmus test that you’re going to
have in terms of saying that an accommodation
or an approach to access is not appropriate. So just be, you know, and
we can talk more about this throughout the day as well, but certainly the caution has to be out there. You know, when you’re
talking about the various publisher sites that we want to use, one who always comes up with MyMathLab. We were teaching math long before Pearson came up with MyMathLab. Or whoever they bought it from. So we can’t say that
because our curriculum now rests on MyMathLab
that it’s an undue burden for us to accommodate the student, or to find another path of access. You know, because we made the decision to put that into our course,
that’s all well and good, we now have the duty to accommodate it. – Now, I heard, so as we go along today, dotting the i’s and crossing
the t’s are gonna be critical. And understanding what those aspects are, or being reinforced about what those aspects are are really critical. But I challenge us all, if
we walk away here saying, okay, I’m more comfortable
with dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s, well,
first of all, I’ll argue when you’ll hear from me in this respect, we’re not meeting the
needs of all learners that we’re accepting into our institutions of higher education, fact. There’s no question about that. So the challenge will be
to not only think about crossing the i’s and dotting the t’s, excuse me, dotting the
i’s and crossing the t’s, will be also to redesign for all. And in doing so, it’s back
to that comic about the ramp. In doing so, we’ll meet the
needs of a variety of learners, including those that we have to meet in terms of accessibility requirements. So I’ll challenge us to be thinking about that as we go along. – I was just gonna say, I
know the purpose of this intro is to get us centered
on the user experience. And, as you can see, we’re like, I don’t know, horses in the gates here. We’re just ready to run. And I want to apologize if we are veering a little bit off course.
– No, that’s what it’s for. – It’s so critical though for everybody to be centered in why we’re here today. And that’s that everything
that you guys do affects the real lives of real people. These videos are showing
little pieces of that. But let’s, regardless of what
any of us yammer on about, let’s make sure that this
time is centering to them. – That’s a great point. And I think that, this
is kind of a new topic for a lot of people, including me. And as you delve into it,
you realize how important the whole topic really
is, and how, in some ways, it forms the foundation of
what education should be. To think more holistically
about the student and the design of courses. So I think these kinds of discussions are actually very important. So why don’t we see what Aaron has to say about his campus experience. – [Narrator] UMKC online. My campus experience. What assistive technologies do you use in your online and face to face courses? – [Devon] So we’ve kind of
seen some of this already. – The assistive technologies that I use when I’m using a computer at home are Dragon Naturally Dictate, I also use a trackball mouse
with four different buttons that allows me to program the buttons to do different functions
like click and drag, double click, refresh,
things of that sort. I also have, I guess it’s a, it’s a document reader program. It’ll read whatever’s on
the document aloud to me. I also have a mount on my
chair to mount a laptop. So I can have a laptop
right in front of me. – [Narrator] What are
some of the advantages to using the assistive technologies? – Well, the assistive, without
the assistive technology that I use, like Dragon Naturally Dictate. I basically kind of have to sit and hunt and peck on a keyboard, and that takes a really long time. I also have to take my
eyes away from the computer to look down at the
keyboard while I’m typing. So I can’t actually know
if what I’m typing is 100% what needs to be being typed. And then when I look
back up at the screen, it could be spelled incorrectly, so then I have to erase
it, and try it again. But with Dragon Naturally Dictate, I can continuously look at the screen, and I don’t have to take the time to push in each individual letter, I can just talk it into a microphone, and it comes out on the computer. – [Narrator] What are
the consequences if you do not have this technology? – It takes a really long
time for me to accomplish some of the tasks that are
required from me to finish when I don’t have that kind of technology. – [Narrator] Are there
compatibility issues institutions should consider? – The trackball mouse that
I use, for some reason, the computer labs aren’t
compatible with it, or currently aren’t compatible with it. It would be nice if we could figure out how to make that work. – [Narrator] UMKC online,
what is accessibility? What digital– – You know, one of the things
that kind of was interesting to me is that, you know,
again, this is the person who I guess has had to
keep track of money is, who pays for that? – I wanted to add a little bit
more context to that video, because I couldn’t have you guys sit here for 45 minutes just
watching Aaron’s interview. But when I asked him about
some of the consequences if he didn’t have this
assistive technology, and some of the compatibility issues that institutions should be aware of, I mean, that opened a huge can of worms, and we talked for a really
long time off camera about all of the different aspects to being a student at UMKC
both online and face to face, because he takes both classes, and just all of the different
compatibility issues that he’s raised with disability services. But it didn’t feel like
the rest of the institution was paying any attention to his needs. So I just wanted to point that out to you, just to know that there was a
lot more to that conversation than just that really small piece there. – That’s a good point. We probably shouldn’t
talk about cost right now. But I think it is one that
we’ll have to come back to. But one of the things I think Tori, when you know we were working together, that came up that I was
never really aware of, was that it’s not just
your course material, it’s what happens across the campus. And so, for example, if
a student who is working remotely or online needs financial aid, what is the experience the student has with Financial Aid Office? What’s the experience the
student has, you know, with the Registrar’s Office
with being able to register. And so, you know, we can design the most wonderful classes in the world, that are really highly diversified in terms of the tools you can use, but if a student can’t
register for a course, I mean, is that slowing them down in the progression of their program? So maybe people could
talk a little about that, in terms of the whole campus experience. – Yeah, and of course my passion is looking at all of the
systems that are online, everything under a domain name at all, at whatever institution or
organization that you come from. And how is that accessible to all? In a lot of ways, Aaron’s
kind of fortunate. Because as long as there
can be adaptations made for non-keyboard use, he’s doing fine. He can see the screen,
he can see the content. That’s not true for folks that are blind. He can hear multimedia content, that’s not so true for
folks that are deaf. And he, I don’t know about this, but he may or may not have
cognitive issues that can be exacerbated with certain
kinds of instructional designs. But the, the notion that we need to focus on just the instruction,
now how many of you guys are faculty or instructors, okay. How many of you are
administrators over programs? Okay, there are a bunch of hands that weren’t raised, so I’m not sure, oh, instructional designers. Thank you, there we go, there we go. Okay. But we’ve gotta bust through this. Because it really is, it’s everything. And if you’re online, there still are ways that the campus or the institution will try to connect you with other parts of the campus experience, or I should say, the institutional experience. All of this stuff needs to
be available to everybody. The bookstore, I mean, everything,
everything, everything. So don’t just think,
as we’re talking today, just about a class, even though we are talking about online learning here. But when we’re talking about
web access, it’s everything. – Well, I’m gonna actually try to, I’m gonna answer a
question that you asked, but an additional part, just real brief. Make sure we all have the foundations. So all the, Tori, you
mentioned Aaron had an accident somewhere potentially after high school. So Aaron’s a bit unique. But just to let everyone know, most likely, individuals
coming into higher education, if they’re using a
technology, most likely, they’ve been using that
technology in a K-12 environment. And in that environment,
there’s lots of different things we can talk about, that’s
not the point I wanna make. It’s really critical though,
that as these individuals transition into higher education,
that the IHE and the K-12, through the individual, through
the individual’s family, the support system, are
interacting so that that transition with the technology is done very well. And if done well, it
can be very effective, so that individual coming into the IHE, coming into the demands of the IHE, those considerations for the technology they’ve been using have been reconsidered to make sure that that
technology is accessible the way Aaron mentioned, in terms of labs and things of that nature,
as well as still consistent with the demands of what
they’re about to do. Let’s say going from a
face to face to an online would be one consideration. But done well, those individuals, it can be somewhat seamless. – And I think, Shawn
brings up a good point. I’ve worked with a lot of
students over my career who have transitioned
directly from high school into college and who have a
really good transition plan. And they’ve been connected with our state voc rehab office before
they go to college. And for a lot of our students, the technology that our students are using for their personal use come
from state voc rehab agencies. Because they have the funding
to be able to do that. So if a student needs something to be able to get their homework
done, most often, you know, they’re going to be
working with voc rehab. They’re going to purchase it
for the student’s personal use, and it is our responsibility to look at, you know, campus facilities to make sure that those are accessible. So what do we put in our
campus computer labs? We need to ensure that
those are accessible to students as well. Here’s the wrinkle that
happens with online learning that I don’t think a lot of folks realize. You know, your online courses,
I’m venturing to guess, based on my experience
at various institutions, tend to attract older
students who have been out of school for a lot longer. And like Aaron, likely
have acquired a disability since their last formal schooling. Those students don’t know about voc rehab. Those students also may not
qualify for voc rehab support, because voc rehab support,
note, I’m using the shortened, when I say voc rehab, but it stands for vocational rehabilitation. Which means that there’s
an assessment done at each one of the state
vocational rehabilitation agencies to determine what is,
you know, at what level is the student employable. The vocational rehab does
not care whether or not the student gets a college degree. They want that student in a job. They call their students their consumers. And their funding is
based on whether or not that individual is employed or not, and what level of employment
is based on an assessment. So I’ve worked with a lot
of students over the years who come to us because
vocational rehab said that they’re not going
to support college study because they could get
a job that would match their skill set with what
their disability presents as. And that’s not what the student wants. And so therefore there’s a conflict then, because the voc rehab
is not going to purchase a kind of technology that
the student might need. Or, if the student has been
out of school for awhile, so they may have tried
college once before, right, as right out of high school, and then, you know, went
out and worked construction. This is the one that I get most often. They were out working in construction, they loved what they were doing, they were working with their hands, the fell off of a ladder, and they can no longer do construction work anymore. And so now, it’s like
okay, well maybe now, at 35, 36 years old, I’m
gonna go back to school and I’ll gonna get a degree. But I’ve been out of school for so long and I don’t know what
to do, I don’t know how to use accommodations,
and I don’t have any of the technology that’s going to help me, nor do I know how to use it. And so that is one of the
bigger challenges I think that we face in our field with students. Is that just like students
come into your classrooms on a continuum in terms of how prepared they are for the academic content, students with disabilities
are on that same sort of a continuum when it
comes to how to use not only the technology, but also
self-accommodation strategies. Things that they can do
to mitigate the impact of the disability in their world to make it so that they can
focus on their coursework. And so it becomes really difficult for those of us in disability
services to figure out how do we keep splitting
this baby in more ways? You know, so it had just
been that we were dealing solely with the accommodations. And then, you know, when the
students come into your office, you would help them and give
them some tips and strategies on how to manage the symptoms
of their disabilities so they could focus on their work. And now, for some of our
disability services offices that don’t have
accessibility folks on staff, now you’re being asked
to consult and talk about well, what does web accessibility mean? I mean, oh my goodness, I’m one of those disability services providers who thought that just because it was on the web, it had to be accessible, you’re telling me it doesn’t work that way? There’s so much that we have to do that we’re trying to
kind of make up for some of the gaps that happen
across these students’ lives. And when you have, you
know, the older population of students who tend to
flock to online courses because they’re managing
multiple responsibilities of work and life and
children and caregiving maybe for older parents, and
now they have a disability on top of that, it
becomes really difficult. And you can totally see why
these students just give up. And they’re like, I’m done. No more, I can’t do another thing. So I think that’s one of our challenges to figure out how do you
support a student like Aaron, who seems to have really good support, who seems to have, since
the time of his accident, learned how to use some of the technology really, really well. But you’re going to have students who come to those courses who don’t have that, and the technology is
not going to save them. And so then what do we do? So it, you know, that’s part of the design that comes into play, is designing for all levels of ability,
all level of skill set, all level of comfort and familiarity with technology as well. – All of this is really
fascinating, quite honestly. And it’s things that I hadn’t
thought about more deeply. And I think that institutions should. But that said, and I know that one of you are gonna be talking about
how to change the culture of the institution, but just in general, again, I keep going back to resources. Should universities be thinking about incorporating for example the
disability services offices more into a curriculum,
like an academic unit? Instead of kind of an external service, or how would you go
about kind of integrating these kinds of things? – I’m taking my place, because I have strong feelings on this. I think, I will tell you how I feel. I’m from New York, guys,
I may be in Arizona now, but, you know, bold New Yorker here. I firmly believe that the best alignment for a disability services office is within the academic
structure of the university. And here’s why. I think it, I see you’re clapping. And here’s why. Everything we do touches the student’s academic journey at the institution. That analysis that I
told you about earlier, of how we decide what’s reasonable
and what’s unreasonable, that’s an academic analysis. That’s us looking at the learning outcomes and the learning objectives. When I come into a meeting with faculty, and they know that I report up
through the Provost’s Office, there’s an automatic, you know, it just automatically
happens that they listen, and they pay attention just
a little bit differently. And I don’t, I don’t know what
the magic button is there. Because I wouldn’t say
anything differently if I reported up through
a VP of Student Affairs or Student Life or whatever
it is on your campus. But what I think what
folks tend to think is that the VP of Student
Life, Student Affairs, that that division is
really kind of the old in loco parentis, the idea of taking care of the students’ experience
at the institution, and making sure they have something to do when they’re not in classes,
and you know, Greek life, and residence life, and it’s all the, and I don’t like this term, it’s not mine, but like the fluff and stuff. You know, that a college life is made of. It’s not the most important thing. Which the most important
thing is the academics. When you’re aligned with an academic, and reporting up through
the Provost’s Office, you have access to conversations that you wouldn’t have if you were part of the VP for Student Affairs entity. Because you do meet more
often with department chairs, you meet with the deans,
you meet with, you know, the faculty and you have
different entry points into that conversation, and
you get to focus and talk about not only what’s important
about the student experience, but what also is really important about the way that the student
is going to, you know, be doing the real work of the institution, which is getting that degree. And you can focus on that. So when I’m collecting data
at the University of Phoenix, I’m looking at retention rate, I’m looking at our course pass rates, and that’s what I’m reporting on. How our students with
disabilities are doing compared to the rest of the institution. And then I’m talking
about the effectiveness of our accommodations
in that sense as well. So everything that I
do is kind of connected to the academics, what I
do is an academic endeavor. And so I feel pretty strongly
that that’s where we belong. And I saw Shawn moved
his mic, so he wants to. – Well, I think it’s
an excellent question. And I think we’re at a
wonderful opportunity. I think online learning
is actually helping drive the part of the bus, if not
driving the bus in this respect. And that is, over the years,
and it’s in variations, but some of our work in
terms of accessibility in higher education came
out of human resources, for lack of a better term, in that well, we need to do this for employees, so we’ll do this for students as well. And then it evolved
depending upon the campus. But where I’m seeing a lot of initiatives going on right now is,
well, we have these centers for teaching excellence,
and University of Kansas, it’s Center for Teaching
Excellence is what its called. But it’s basically helping
all faculty redesign and rethink about how they do instruction. And by the way, at University of Kansas, it also collaborates with
the online instruction. So together, they’re trying
to improve instruction. Well, that’s where, to
me, the accessibility collaboration to say, well, wait a minute, when we’re looking at
design and instruction, which should be the driver of
what’s happening on campus is, if we bring in the accessibility group, and then they collaborate
from that perspective, well, then it’s a redesign,
then it’s thinking about the instruction for all. And that’s where I think
there’s a lot of efforts going on from what I’m hearing
nationally in that respect, that’s potentially altering. And it’s also going along
with what we’re doing a lot, of what’s happening nationally, and again, we’re a case study at KU,
and that is retention. A lot of universities
are pushing retention. We get students in, we’re losing them, that’s a bad business
model, how do we retain? Instruction generally is
at the forefront of that. Oh, access, design, and
gosh, what a nice marriage for all of our students,
particularly those struggling and those with disabilities. – So let’s see if we can watch the, if I can find a mouse here,
the last video of Aaron. – [Narrator] UMKC online,
what is accessibility? What digital formats cause
issues for you as a student? – PDFs are really difficult for me to use. Because I’m incapable
of highlighting things that I need to highlight on the computer. And I can’t really
highlight, I can’t print those documents out and
highlight them myself. I need to work solely on a digital format. So it would be better if everything was kind of in a Word document. ‘Cause then I could highlight things. I could probably post
notes within the document. It would just make it a whole lot easier. – [Narrator] What does access mean to you? – Access here at the
university would basically mean being able to learn what I need to learn in the timeframe that I need to learn it to complete my degree. – Well, since we have
about 10 minutes left, are there any questions from the audience that they want to kind of raise? This has been, certainly,
an eye-opening experiment. Yeah? (audience member speaks indistinctly) – [Audience Member] And
going along with that idea, one of the powerful ideas
that I heard one time was that at some point or
another, each one of us will be what we might
be thinking of as them. You know, we will have
some kind of a disability, maybe temporary, maybe permanent. But right now, our director has a, she fell, broke her wrist, she can’t type. So she’s learning about Dragon, and she’s learning a lot of those things. So as we think about
who needs these things, it’s each of us. – I just want to just
comment, you are so right on. And hopefully through today,
people can be thinking of not only students,
and not only faculty, but staff as well at
all of our institutions, organizations, we’ve
gotta think more broadly across the enterprise. And I struggle with that a little bit. Because I know the focus with OLC is that teaching and learning model. So it really does sort of
focus on that, that piece, which might leave let’s say some staff members out, or whatever. But very broadly, staff
members end up by creating, whether it’s you know, documents, well, it could be a bunch of
things that end up by getting uploaded onto websites that
then students need to consume. Or then faculty need to consume. So we really need to be thinking about it in a much broader way, I’m
so glad you brought that up. – There’s a question over here. – I would be interested in
going back to the question you posed about who pays for this. I know you mentioned state voc rehab, possibly some equipment, possibly not, but assuming the accommodation’s granted, what does that look like
at your institutions? – So, I think that the
last two couple words of your sentence there,
what does that look like at your institutions, is
probably, each one of us is going to have a different answer. The one thing that I can tell you is that, you know, the University
of Phoenix had a complaint filed with the Office
for Civil Rights in 2015, and you know, we entered
into a resolution agreement. And you know, realized where we were not spending our resources wisely, in terms of looking at access and looking at accommodation for students. And so there’s been a number
of things that have happened through that, and I know
that there’s some other institutions in the room as well who have had similar
experiences and trial by fires, trials by fire where
you’re like, oh, wait, we really did need to figure this out. So we make it our point
that we will ensure that our web presences, the activities that we’re doing in a digital
space will be accessible as they’re being designed,
and we have a plan in place to retrofit
and to fix other issues, remediate other issues on a cycle, as we’re looking at different
things within the university. Each one of our units have
been asked to make sure that they set aside funding and time, and funding kind of
becomes this whole thing of time and resources,
and the equipment needed to do what needs to be done. But you know, to plan for accessibility. We have a new CIO, and you
know, I’ve met with him, and we’ve talked about what
is kind of the responsibility of IT in terms of design,
and implementation. What is the responsibility
of my team to come in and do an evaluation and make
recommendations for remediation. And then we kind of
negotiate who has what cost. But ultimately, it all comes
out of the university’s pocket. And so we just have to negotiate that. We do not purchase software for students, students are on their own
when it comes to that. But if we do have a computer lab at one of our local
campuses, we are responsible for ensuring that at least one of those stations is accessible. There are other things, and I’ve done this at other institutions as
well, as we’ve been building computer labs, I’ve made
recommendations of buying adjustable height tables
instead of standard tables for computer labs because you never know when a student is going
to come in using a scooter or a wheelchair and need to come up to one of those stations. And if the station that has
been designed accessible is being used by another
student, do we really want to go up to that student
and say you gotta move? I don’t think that’s a
really good way to do it, so let’s design it
universally from the get-go. And let’s put all of those tables in, so that they can be adjustable. And making sure that
you have cloud licenses. This has been one of the greatest things I think over the last 10 years. So a lot of the software vendors have gone to cloud licenses. So it doesn’t have to be
one station that is equipped with the assistive
technology, they can all be, because you just load in,
log into the cloud license, and be able to open up,
if it’s Read and Write, or some of the other,
Kurzweil or whatever. When it comes to the course design, we do all of our design through our Center for Teaching and Learning, and our instructional designers work with subject matter experts to design the courses that
faculty then facilitate. So a lot of the
considerations for, you know, access at that point are built into the design of the course. So if it’s a video that we’re using that we can’t get captions from, you know, the publisher, we then put
captions into the video, and we pay for that cost. And that usually comes out of the Center for Teaching and Learning. So it’s gonna depend on your institution and where to go with it. I have, you know, an accommodations budget through my disability services office that covers a lot of the individual needs. And we’ll talk a little bit
more in my next session too about some of the strategies
that you can help with that. But that’s just kind of a basic. Where does the cost belong? Well, it depends on where you guys are paying for it generally. Yep. – And the one rule of thumb
you might want to consider is if your institution
provides anything to anyone, it has to be available to everyone. So, Kelly was talking about software. Well, if your institution provides it, let’s say at a computer
lab, you need to make sure that it’s provided for
everyone, regardless of ability. I see a lot of online learning
entities that will provide, for the period of time that
you’re in the course, a laptop. Well, okay, there you go. So now you have someone who needs essentially computing access on hardware. And maybe they have even, you know, different needs or more
needs than Aaron does. Now that’s your
responsibility to make sure that your institution
pays for them to have that computing access in the same way as everybody else does. If you don’t provide that,
that’s not your responsibility. If the responsibility at your institution is that everybody gets their own hardware, then you don’t need to deal with that. If they get their own software, then you don’t need to deal with that. But you’ve got to be
thinking about where is it that you do provide
things for any student, that’s where you have to be, be flexible, and be available very
quickly to provide it to all students, including
those with disabilities. – And the other thing not to forget about, as we mentioned earlier,
is that most likely, the individual’s coming
to us with some sort of equipment they’ve used over the years. It’s not all of a sudden
they get to an university and realize, oops, I need a device. That generally is not the case. So that’s one element. And then two, separate
from online learning, prior to online learning,
a number of office of disability services,
depending upon what they are at your university or your setting, have in the past,
depending upon their level, potentially been very
involved with that transition. I mention that again
only because we’ve seen, I’ve seen historically across the country separate from the online learning, where we know an individual’s gonna come into this university
and they’re working with that child before they
come into the university, or that student before they
come into the university, with things like device supports, with things like
accommodations and the like. And so that generally
will give them a heads up, especially when it comes
to devices they may need, and or training for
those devices, et cetera. So that’s part of a
package that’s separate from online learning, yet
very helpful and critical when they transition into more
of an online learning space. – And you know, with that,
I think we’re gonna have to kind of wrap up the panel. The panelists are obviously
gonna be talking later today. There’s lots of opportunities
to kind of talk about this in social gatherings. So what we’ll do is
reconvene at 9:30 in here, to hear Kelly’s talk about
some of these issues. What I’d like to do is
both thank the panel and also thank Tori in particular. Because she really went out of her way to kind of collect the video and do this, and I hope that she
can thank Aaron for us. Because it was really a very enlightening kind of opportunity to be able to hear some of these things
directly from a student. So with that, let’s take a
break and thank the panel. And take a break. (audience applauds)

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