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H810: Week 13 : Activity 25.1: Seale (2006) Chapter 6

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Week 13 : Activity 25.1: Seale (2006) Chapter 6

1.   On page 70, it is suggested that accessibility is frequently framed as a technical issue rather than a pedagogical (learning and teaching) one.

Bit confused here as the page numbers seem very different from the version I printed out!

I can understand that lecturers find accessibility a difficult and complex area to deal with. They are experts in their field and many are also very experienced with pedagogy and have a good knowledge of technology. On top of this they are then asked to become experts in the field of accessible design. Witt and McDermott (cited by Seale, 2006, p.57) report that many accessibility and technology experts find the guidelines hard to interpret and it is no wonder that lecturers can feel the helplessness, embarrassment and defensiveness suggested by Sloan and Stratford (cited by Seale, 2006, p.68) when attempting to cope with all the accessibility and legal issues surrounding their work. It is no wonder that they prefer to design learning resources and then pass them onto technology/accessibility teams to sort out any issues. However, it is the lecturer who can understand the underlying educational objectives and thus make the adaptations needed to the material without losing the overall aim of the work. This places the work firmly in the grounds of a pedagogical issue. An example from my work setting is in neuroscience where it is the lecturer who knows the point of showing a video and whether the same objective can be achieved by providing d-links or whether it would be better to provide models for a blind student to examine.

2.   Some of the key principles that underpin different design approaches include: inclusivity, equity, holism, proactivity and flexibility.

  • Inclusivity - designing materials with the aim to include all students from the outset.
  • Equity - Useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities
  • Holism - Starting with pedagogy first (Schenker & Scadden, cited in Seale, 2006, p. 60)
    Providing accessible learning resources that may not necessarily be online (Kelly et al., cited in Seale, 2006, p. 60)
  • Proactive - Thinking about the needs of students at the beginning of the design or refit
  • Flexible - Thinking of ways to offer equivalent and alternative access to the curriculum that achieves the same learning objectives.

Are they sufficiently clear and consistent so that lecturers can apply them to their own practice?

They are certainly clear when they are discussed in isolation but they are usually discussed in combination with the plethora of guidelines for design, guidelines for evaluation and automatic tools available and so the whole situation gets confused.




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