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Learning Technology Reports

Evaluate Learning Technologies and Create Technical Reports
Updated: January 20, 2011

Purpose

On many campuses, technology staff do not consider disability accessibility issues when adopting new technologies. Conversely, disability services staff do not have experience in locating emerging technologies and therefore are not aware of the accessibility barriers found in new technologies. As a result, there is often a significant void regarding how technologies are adopted on campuses and how they solve/create access barriers for students with disabilities. Individual faculty members, campus technology service providers and administrators are not likely to be aware of the consequences of decisions to adopt new technologies relative to accessibility barriers. More foreboding is that any accessibility problems will be institutionalized if these new technologies are formally adopted without consideration of equal accessibility. As a result of considering these situations, this project objective focuses on analyzing learning technologies. The goal is to order to produce helpful technical reports that enable students, faculty, service providers, and administrators to invest in UD approaches. Two activities support this objective.

Development Process

D1. On a daily basis UDITEACH staff will review selected listservs and periodic literature to gather source documents and resources that reflect the latest developments in technology and higher education. The goal is to capture information that will inform subsequent analysis of trends and issues regarding the use of technology in higher education and to foreshadow accessibility issues that may arise from the adoption of emerging technologies.

D2. Literature scans will be conducted each trimester during the grant. The following boundaries have been established for each scan:

Scan #1 September 1 – December 31, 2008
Scan #2 January 1 – May 30, 2009
Scan #3 June 1 – August 31, 2009
Scan #4 September 1 – December 31, 2009
Scan #5 January 30 – May 30, 2010
Scan #6 June 1 – August 31, 2010
Scan #7 August 23 – December 15, 2010
Scan #8 January 18 – May 20, 2011

D3. Source documents will be gathered on a daily basis and compiled on a monthly basis. Following each scan period, the source documents will be organized into a digital compendium. The compendium will serve as a snapshot of the latest technology trends in higher education for the four-month period. The full text of the compendium will be submitted to Wordle to analyze keyword frequency and create a visual map of the trend analysis. In addition, the staff will review the compendium and make recommendations to the Project Advisory Board for feedback on emerging technologies that warrant in-depth evaluation as an Emerging Technology Accessibility, Usability, and Scalability Report (ETAUSR).

Emerging Technology Accessibility, Usability, and Scalability Report (ETAUSR)

TS1. Topics will be selected for analysis based on the Trends and Issues Map developed from the literature scans. From these source documents, recommendations will be solicited from the Project Staff and the Project Advisory Board. Two topics will be selected each trimester as the focal point for in-depth ETAUSR reports. The following list documents the topics and reports that have been identified to-date.

ETAUSR1: Live Scribe Pen (Spring 2009)
ETAUSR2: Podcasting (Spring 2009)

ETAUSR3: Accessible PDF files (Summer 2009)
ETAUSR4: eBook Readers (Summer 2009)

ETAUSR5: Webinar Systems (Fall 2009)
ETAUSR6: Netbooks (Fall 2009)

ETAUSR7: Collaborative Web Tools (Spring 2010)
ETAUSR8: Facebook (Spring 2010)

ETAUSR9: E-texts (Summer 2010)
ETAUSR10: Accessibility of Math (Summer 2010)

ETAUSR11: Interactive Whiteboards (Fall 2010)
ETAUSR10: Student Response Systems (Fall 2010)

ETAUSR11: Twitter (Spring 2011)
ETAUSR10: Smart Phones (Spring 2011)

Process: ETAUSRs will be created using a four-phase evaluation and analysis process. Each ETAUSR report will be reviewed internally, revised, and released within our four-school network. Feedback will be reviewed and a revision prepared. Each report will be coded with a version number and revisions and updates will be released using a dot numbering system (i.e., 1.1). Release of the final product will be announced widely through listservs, conference presentations, and featured on the UDITEACH web site.

A1: Version 1.0 (Product Description) of the ETAUSRs will provide a standard description of the product. This type of description of the technical information about a product is commonly found on a vendor’s web site and to a lesser extent in product reviews and product marketing information. The purpose of this level of analysis is simply to define the target product and situate it within a class of technologies so that readers can understand the market context. Release of ETAUSR Version 1.0 will allow the project to begin networking with others to discern who many others have experience using this product in post-secondary settings.

A2: Version 2.0 (Feature Analysis: Accessibility) of the ETAUSRs will involve a staff analysis of accessibility issues that may be associated with the product. Analysis will focus on articulating obvious barriers individuals with physical, sensory, or cognitive impairments may encounter when using the product. Findings at this stage are considered preliminary but set the stage for verifying the significance of the perceived barriers through usability testing in the next stage of analysis.

A3: Version 3.0 (Usability Analysis) of the ETAUSRs will involve soliciting feedback from early adopters to identify usability issues that have been discovered as a result of actually using the product in post-secondary education. In addition, we seek to validate the nature of the accessibility issues by having the product used by individuals with disabilities. We will also seek to identify any workarounds that minimize the accessibility and usability problems that have been identified. Finally, we will collect anecdotes about the product’s ease-of-use and insights from users about the product’s functional value for the task it has been designed for.

A4: Version 4.0 (Scalability Analysis) of the ETAUSRs will focus on issues of scalability. Since most new technologies are adopted by individuals (early adopters) and implemented on a very small scale (e.g., individual instructor, single campus office), the purpose of this analysis is to analyze the issues associated with scaling a technology to large-scale (campus wide) adoption. Here we anticipate evaluating a wide variety of issues related to standardizing on an individual product, infrastructure requirements, training and support demands, policies and procedures, and the nature of accommodations that may be required for inaccessible technologies.

Report Availability

The following table provides access to the latest reports. Simply click on the number of the report to download. The latest report is always in the right most cell and includes all reports to the left. Your feedback is welcome, contact Dave Edyburn (edyburn@uwm.edu).

Table of Reports
Topic Description Accessibility Usability Scalability
Live Scribe Pen
x
x
x
Podcasting
x
x
x
Accessible PDF files
x
x
x
eBook Readers
x
x
x
Webinar Systems
x
x
x
Netbooks
x
x
x
Collaborative Web Tools
x
x
x
Facebook
x
x
x
eBook Files
x
x
x
Accessibility of Math
x
x
x
Interactive Whiteboards
x
x
x
Student Response Systems
x
x
x
Twitter
x
x
x
x
Smart Phones
x
x
x
x