Home » Distance Library Instruction Virtual Poster Session (Spring 2019) » Using Accessibility Features for Online Learners

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Using Accessibility Features for Online Learners

This poster is part of the Distance Library Instruction Virtual Poster Session hosted by the ACRL DLS Instruction Committee. We encourage you to ask questions and engage in discussion on this poster! Authors will respond to comments between April 1-5.

Presenter:

Rachel Fager, Kutztown University

Poster Description:

Online learning requires lots of reading – online. Eye strain from reading on digital devices is documented, and something we have all experienced. It is not realistic to print every lecture, article, book, forum, etc. This poster presents some free accessibility technology that anyone can use to help online learners.

Poster:

(Click the square icon at the bottom to view full screen)

About the Presenter

Rachel Fager is a recent graduate on Drexel University’s MLIS online program. She has also taking online classes at the undergraduate level. She is currently the Technical Services Technician at Kutztown University’s Library.


10 Comments

  1. Hi Rachel, thanks for sharing your experience and tips! I think it’s always valuable for librarians to really consider their own experiences as students when designing services and materials. In terms of your accessibility tips, it sounds like mostly you were adapting to less-than-ideal circumstances in your online classes. Do you have any thoughts on what librarians and faculty can do to make it so the burden isn’t on students to adapt? What kind of options would be useful for students right off the bat?

    • Hi, Jen.
      Thank you for you comments and questions. Yes, this was born from adapting the course materials to better suit my needs as a student and human who was already staring at a computer 8 hours a day at work.

      An option I would have appreciated is built-in choices for how to access information. Having both a Word document of lecture notes and an audio file of the content I could download and listen to on my way to work or while making dinner like a podcast would have been amazing for me. Rather than fitting life around traditional classes at certain times and places, distance students fit their coursework around their life making anywhere they are their classroom. Having different formats opens up more possibilities.

      I would encourage librarians and faculty to collaborate. I appreciated when a professor would vary the course content to include videos. Videos were a way to connect to the human on the other side of the computer, but were also valuable for small points like learning how to correctly pronounce new terms. The example that comes to my mind is the pronunciation of HathiTrust. I know that videos come with the burden of updating and maintaining, but collaborations can be very valuable. There was one course where the video lectures were sometimes my professor, but sometimes another professor teaching the same course.

  2. I’ve been researching accessibility a lot, but I haven’t really thought as much about how I can be using these tools to help myself. I love these ideas–thanks for sharing!

    Also, a shout-out to KU; I got my undergraduate degree there 10 years ago!

    • Hi, Erica.
      I’m so glad you found these ideas helpful, and thank you for your comment.

      I’m always happy to meet a KU alum! Thank you for the shout-out.

  3. Hi Rachel,
    Thank you for your post. I’m a current online student and these suggestions will be very helpful to use throughout the remainder of my program.

    • HI, Jasmine.
      Thank you so much for your comment. I’m glad you are going to try some of these suggestions. I think you’ll find some that work well for you. Best of luck with the remainder of your program!

  4. Hi Rachel, thank you so much for this poster. One of the missing pieces of accessibility discussions that we have with library staff is seeing the actual tools in use AND having staff use them on their own. Sitting down and adjusting with monitors with high contrast settings, using VoiceOver or dictation software, or even trying to navigate a webpage only using a keyboard can build so much empathy and support for these issues.

    • Hi, Perry.
      Yes, thank you for your comment. I first learned about accessibility features working at another library where we had someone from the Office of Disability Services give us an introduction to the technology at the accessible computer station we provided. It gave me a new perspective on technology, and an appreciation for how students interact with it. I think it’s a great idea to have staff try these tools to get a better understanding of where the benefits and frustrations are for your students.

  5. Hello,

    Thanks for sharing this poster. This is an interesting area to demonstrate how technology has accessible features that can be used by people who are regular computer users, or aging as fast as technology is changing.

    There is a good number of similar resources with researching about assertive technology and apps that is very similar to preventing eyestrain.

    -Linda

    • Hi, Linda
      Thank you for your post. Yes, assistive technology is useful for every type of computer user. As we age and assistive technology improves, it will become even more helpful.

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