Congratulations Karla Kmetz-Morris

I wanted to share some exciting news about Karla Kmetz-Morris, lead instructional designer here at USFSP. She received a call last week asking her to serve on the Board of Directors for the Florida Alliance for Assistive Services and Technology, which also serves as the State Advisory Committee for the Assistive Technology Act.

In this role she will collaborate with other board members and key stakeholders across the state and nationally on issues surrounding funding, awareness, training, programs, device loans, and advocacy for assistive technology and services.

This is amazing news for USFSP and I know Karla is happy to represent USFSP with this important work. As you can see, we have a really impressive team in OLITS! We are very honored and proud of Karla for how she represents USFSP, the Nelson Poynter Library and OLITS!

Karla was also elected as Chair of the Webinar Committee for the Quality Matters Instructional Designers Association. She is working closely with a few other instructional designers in the QM network to develop and facilitate a webinar series that provides professional development opportunities to instructional designers in the areas of design research, strategies, QM implementation, etc.

Congratulations Karla!

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AHEAD to You Technology Access Series – Document Structure, the Key to Navigability

Join us for the third session of the AHEAD to You Technology Access Series.  Tuesday, November 19, 2013 from 3:00-4:30pm in the Nelson Poynter Memorial Library, POY 234.

Higher Education professionals increasingly need a firm knowledge base in the area of Technology Access. Alternate Format isn’t just plain text anymore! This session will explain document structure and how reading tools use it to improve accessibility and navigability.

No registration required.AHEAD to You Image

For more information about the Technology Access Series, visit AHEAD, Association on Higher Education and Disability. 

Pearson My Labs: Accessibility Tips and Updates

George Mason University recently offered and has archived a webinar about recent accessibility updates from Pearson Higher Education North America.

Topics include:

  • Discussion on the accessibility of MyMathLab, MyITLab, and MyWritingLab, all with live demonstrations.
  • Broader information sharing for other MyLabs
  • Introduction of accessible HTML eBooks across several disciplines
  • Explanation of various workarounds that can be provided
  • What should be coming in 2014

View the archived webinar using the link on the right hand side of GMU’s Assistive Technology Initiative Website.

Typeface

According to Wikipedia, typeface is designed as a set of characters that share common design features. Typeface is usually represented by things like style, condensations, width, slant, and ornamentation (among other things). The text on your document, presentation, or website is the crux of your item. People need to be able to read the information that you are presenting!

Much like the information she gave on color palettes, Bianca Woods at Learning Solutions 2013 gave some great information on using typeface in your documentation. Unfortunately, I did learn that despite my best efforts I will probably not be bringing back Comic Sans to the mainstream. Kidding aside, typeface is very important when publishing material online. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when choosing a typeface.

Serif vs. Sans-Serif

Both serif and sans-serif fonts have their individual uses. Serif fonts are categorized by the end-caps (actually called “Serifs”) that are placed on individual letters. Serif fonts allow some people to read material quicker as well. Examples of serif fonts include the following:

  • Cambria
  • Georgia
  • Times New Roman

Sans-serif fonts do not have those end-caps at the end of their letters. Sans-serif fonts also tend to have less line width than serif fonts. Some examples of sans-serif fonts include:

  • Arial
  • Calibri
  • Verdana

This image helps to delineate the two:

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Which font do you use then? Typically, serif fonts are great for paper materials, while sans-serif fonts are the more popular choice for computers, tablets, and phones. Keep this in mind when choosing your fonts! I recommend that you should use one of each (serif and sans-serif) when creating your materials. Find two that complement each other and it can add a nice touch to your materials.

Emphasis

Emphasis can be hard to get across in text. If you had to guess what someone’s go-to strategy for emphasis was, what do you think it would be?

YEP. IT’S ALL CAPITAL LETTERS. SURE, I’M MAKING IT A POINT THAT YOU READ THIS, BUT DOESN’T IT FEEL LIKE I’M YELLING AT YOU? DO YOU REALLY WANT TO READ A TEXTBOOK OR POWERPOINT THAT YELLS AT YOU? WHAT?

There are plenty of ways beside all capital letters to grab someone’s attention. Here are some tips:

Emphasis Dos:

  • Use bigger sizes to highlight titles and paragraphs. I’m not saying a massive size like 72pt though. Something a few points higher will do the job just fine.
  • Use bold or italics (bold more specifically in my opinion). The darker and stronger the font on screen/paper, the more likely someone’s eye will move to it. The italics also add a nice touch.

Emphasis Do Not’s:

  • Do not use underlining. When someone sees an underline online they automatically assume a hyperlink. Underlining will just cause confusion.
  • Do not use different colors. As awesome as hot pink or neon green is, this can cause issues with readability. Also, using crazy colors will make your website/presentation inaccessible to those with vision impairments.

I hope that you have found these tips helpful. Give some new typefaces a chance! See what you like and see what you can read. A nice typeface can really spice up a presentation.

Respondus Lock Down Browser Now Available in Canvas

Respondus Lock Down Browser is now available for use with tests, quizzes, and exams in Canvas.

What is Lock Down Browser?

Respondus LockDown Browser is a custom browser that locks down the testing environment within Blackboard, ANGEL, Desire2Learn, Canvas, Moodle, and Sakai. When students use Respondus LockDown Browser they are unable to print, copy, go to another URL, or access other applications. When an assessment is started, students are locked into it until they submit it for grading.

Features Include:

  • Assessments are displayed full-screen and cannot be minimized
  • Assessments cannot be exited until submitted by users for grading
  • Task switching or access to other applications is prevented
  • Print, Print Screen and capturing functions are disabled
  • Copying and pasting anything to and from an assessment is prohibited
  • Screen capture, messaging, screen-sharing, virtual machine, and network monitoring applications are blocked from running
  • Right-click menu options and function keys are disabled
  • Browser menu and toolbar options are disabled, except for Back, Forward, Refresh and Stop

How do I enable this in Canvas?

Follow this tutorial to enable Lock Down browser in Canvas.

How do my students install Lock Down Browser?

Provide your students with this information and installation tutorial. One step in the directions indicates that the institution will provide a link for the download, direct students to this Respondus Download Link. If they get stuck at any point in the process, they can contact the USF IT Help Desk at 813-974-1222.

Accessibility Note: Lock Down Browser renders a test inaccessible to students with disabilities who use certain assistive technologies. If you have a student with a disability in your course, be sure to let them know about the use of this product so they will have that information as they work with Student Disability Services to arrange accommodations.

Accommodations: Extended Time on Tests in Canvas

One of the most common accommodations that students with disabilities need is extended time on quizzes and exams. Providing this accommodation in Canvas is relatively simple and does not require you to alter the testing time for all students.

Follow this process to implement this accommodation in your course:

1. Click “Quizzes” on the left course menu

2. Click on the name of the exam/quiz you want to update for this student

3. Click “Moderate This Quiz” on the right side of the screen

moderate quiz button

4. Click the checkbox next to the student’s name on the list that appears

5. A button will appear that says “Change Extensions for 1 selected students”, click that (it may appear at the bottom of your list of students)

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6. In menu that pops up, type the extra amount of time that student should get in addition to your currently allotted time in the box labeled “Extra Time on Every Attempt.”

For example, if your exam is timed for 90 minutes, and the student’s accommodation allows for double time, you would type “90” in that box.

7. Click Save

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Repeat this process for all timed exams and quizzes within the course.

Spring 2013 Professional Development Workshops

training support for all your onlines requirementsInterested in learning more about teaching online or advancing your skills with specific technologies? Take a look at our workshop offerings for Spring 2013. These include:

  • Transitioning your course to Canvas
  • Video editing with Panopto and Camtasia
  • Creating effective rubrics
  • Improving accessibility in your course
  • Basic Instructional Design principles

To register, complete the Workshops Registration Form (also linked on our webpage).