Creating accessible documents

I am collecting a set of links with information about creating accessible documents (e.g., MS Word, PDF, Power Point). This is in part for a Teaching with Technology showcase at UBC Dec. 7, 2017.

I’m collecting them on a page on the UBC Wiki, but they are also embedded below…


 

The following are links to resources that can help when creating documents like MS Word, Power Point slides, PDF and more, to ensure they are accessible.

  • Two modules from an accessibility in broadcast media course from Humber College talk about creating accessible documents: Part One and Part Two
  • If you use Google Docs, Google Sheets, or Google Slides, Grackle Docs has accessibility checkers that can help ensure accessible documents/slides.
source: http://wiki.ubc.ca/Sandbox:Accessible_Documents_Links

Creativity in the Open workshop

 

Tweet with images from the Creativity in the Open workshop: one of our icon jam/dance jam, and the other of a music jam right after it.

In October 2017 I participated in a workshop at Thompson Rivers University called Creativity in the Open. This two-day workshop featured sessions on music, drawing, dance, educational technology, and much more.

I and Rajiv Jhangiani facilitated a session called an “icon jam.” This was based on a session I had participated in during ETUG‘s spring workshop 2017, facilitated by Jason Toal and Leva Lee. Jason has posted some information about the icon jam on the Simon Fraser University EdMedia site.

The basic idea of the icon jam, as I understood it from the ETUG workshop in 2017, is to get people to quickly draw icons for a set of concepts, compare them, and discuss what one can learn from this activity. Drawing quickly is key because you don’t want people to get hung up on trying to make their drawings look really nice. The focus is on the concept and getting it across in a picture rather than a word, and it doesn’t matter if the picture is drawn really well or not.

The group generates a list of icons to draw, and then each person has 30-60 seconds to draw each one (up to you how long you want to give people; we gave people 45 seconds for the first couple of rounds, and then 30 seconds after that). We gave out coloured index cards and people drew each concept on the same colour card. So, e.g., here is our list of concepts and colours:

  • help (green)
  • risk (yellow)
  • spring (pink)
  • permission (blue)
  • power (purple)

Then, when everyone has done their drawings, we put all the same coloured cards together and do a gallery walk. We discuss similarities and differences, icons that stand out as different from the rest, which ones we find surprising, etc. During this or afterwards, the group discusses the value of this kind of activity for teaching and learning. For example, I have found that this is a way to get at different nuances and meanings of concepts in a way that you don’t immediately get just by using the word. For complex philosophical concepts like “justice” or “morality” or “good” or “personhood” or “self” (etc.), this could be a way to generate different understandings of the ideas.

Another thing it brings out the ways in which our social, historical, cultural backgrounds influence how we put ideas into pictures. And it can generate discussion around that: why do several people use X icon for Y idea? What lies behind that? And is that social, historical, cultural influence limiting how we understand the idea?

We added a twist to the icon jam, though: Rajiv brought in a movement aspect to it after we were finished drawing and discussing the icons. We took the same list of icons and, in groups, turned each one into a movement. Then the groups came together and created a dance. It was really fun and wonderful to see that people weren’t too self-conscious doing it. We think perhaps warming up by talking about not worrying about one’s drawing, and just drawing even if one thinks one is no good, might have helped. Plus, we already had the icons for the concepts and that could help spark ideas for a movement for each concept.

If you would like to see our planning notes for the icon jam session, they are on a Google doc.

This reflection by Tanya Dorey nicely explains more about the session (and has photos of the icos!), as well as how the whole Creativity in the Open workshop came about. It was such a fantastic experience–two days of being creative with wonderful people!

eCampus Ontario TESS 2017 keynote

On November 20, 2017, I’m giving a keynote at the eCampus Ontario Technology Enabled Seminar and Showcase 2017. They asked me to come and speak about students contributing to Open Educational Resources, so I wrote the following title and blurb:

Adding Value to the World: Students Producing OER

When speaking with students about open educational resources, reducing or eliminating cost of learning materials often resonates with them first; but we need not think of students only as consumers of OER. There can be significant learning benefits when involving students in creating or adapting OER, and they can thereby add value to the world outside of their classes as well. In this way we can reduce reliance on what David Wiley calls “disposable assignments” and practice open pedagogy. Christina Hendricks will discuss various ways of thinking about what “open pedagogy” might mean, provide examples of how students can be involved in producing OER, and share faculty and student perceptions of the benefits—and challenges—of doing so.

But as I was looking at the program, I noticed that the fantastic Heather Ross is speaking on virtually the same topic right after my keynote: “Open Pedagogy: Moving from the throw-away assignment to student creating learning resources.” Heather and I spoke and decided to move in slightly different directions with our sessions.

Mine has changed a little, as these things do–the title has changed entirely, though what I talk about sticks pretty closely to the description above.

I like to post the slides in editable format here on my blog in case anyone wants to reuse them, but the file is too big for this site! I stopped using SlideShare for various reasons, including that they stopped letting you re-upload slides to the same URL after editing them, and because you can only download slides if you have an account.

So until I figure out something else, I’m posting the slides in an editable PPTX format on my Open Science Framework account, here.

You can see them on Speaker Deck below (but that only allows PDFs, not editable files…clearly I need to reorganize my slide life!).

Oh, and here are some notes I wrote up to help me with some of the slides. There are only notes for slides for which I don’t already have the information in my head. This is not a transcript; it is mostly quotes from others to help me remember what to say about what they’ve done, or what they’ve said. URLs for all the quotes are included. The following are the same file in two different formats.

TESS-ecampusontario-Notes-Nov2017 (MS Word)

TESS-ecampusontario-Notes-Nov2017 (PDF)

Open in the Life of a College Student–initial questions

I’m participating in a remote do-a-thon with Open Con 2017: Open in the life of a college student.

The description for this project:

This project is intended to bring collaborators together to create a new infographic that presents the intersections of various Open movements and applies them to the daily lives of college students. The project supports the “connecting with other open movements” and “empowering the next generation” priorities discussed in Cape Town Open Education Declaration +10: http://www.capetowndeclaration.org/cpt10/

This resource is inspired by the Association of Research Libraries’ “Fair Use in a Day in the Life of a College Student” infographic: http://www.arl.org/focus-areas/copyright-ip/fair-use/3831-fair-use-in-a-day-in-the-life-of-a-college-student-infographic

The resulting resource will be shared with a CC-BY license, and the participation of all contributors will be acknowledged.

 

We are getting started by answering a series of questions, which you can see on the link to the project above. My answers were getting long there on the github page, so I decided to write them here on my blog and put a link to this post there!

Here they are…


 

1. Which of the Open movements (Open Access, Open Data, Open Education, Open Science, Open Source, other…) does your work connect most fully to?

Open education I think is the one my work connects most fully to. I am a faculty member at a university, and I am also the Deputy Academic Director of a Teaching & Learning Centre. Still, I know a fair bit about open access and am very interested in open data too.

 

2. What inspired you to begin working in Open? Where were you in your education/career?

When I was on sabbatical I took a connectivist MOOC called ETMOOC (educational technology and media mooc), and that’s where I learned about open education. Then I took a MOOC from the Open University called “Open Education” and learned a lot more! This was about four years ago.

Why did I start working in open? It’s hard to say…it just made sense to me that I would share what I’m doing in terms of teaching and learning in case it was useful to others. I am a teacher, and sharing things with others for the sake of education just made sense. And I am being paid in large part from public funds at my university; this indicates to me that the benefits of what I’m doing should be more widely available (besides just the fact that I think they should generally).

 

3. What values do you consider to be foundational for the Open movement you identified in question 1 (that which most embodies your work)? Why are these values important for the community?

This is a big question and hard to answer in a short span of time (which is all I have at the moment). Quickly, though:

  • equity: of access to educational materials and activities, of meaningful participation, of contributions to knowledge
    • so things like Open Educational Resources, plus open pedagogy, and accessibility to people with disabilities, etc., are relevant here
  • autonomy: students being able to guide their own learning (to the extent feasible), to choose their educational paths, to show their knowledge
    • this is a value in open pedagogy
  • diversity and inclusion: emphasizing the value of participating in teaching and learning activities with others who have different experiences, backgrounds, views
  • improving knowledge: by making it more accessible and by supporting contributions from many

Those are a few off the top of my head…

 

4. Which of these values are shared with other Open movements? What else do you have in common?

I think the idea of improving knowledge, or a product, or code, by including more and diverse contributors may be shared by other open movements (e.g., open source, open science). Equity and access are shared by open access movements I believe.

 

5. In what ways are you impacted by Open in your day-to-day activities? What open tools do you use? Where do you share your work? How do you discover/consume/engage with the work of others? What are some of the indirect benefits of Open in your daily life?

This is also a big question! I’ll just say a few things.

  • I share my educational and other materials with a CC license: slides from classes, assignments, syllabus, slides for presentations, etc. My course websites are public, on WordPress.
  • I also share reflections on teaching and learning here on my blog!
  • I discover and engage with the work of others mainly through social media: I mostly use Twitter but also Mastodon. I also read others’ blog posts and sometimes comment on them (I should do more commenting!). I work with others on projects partly through communication tools like Slack, partly through shared documents on Google Docs or etherpad, and also through video chat tools.
  • Indirect benefits: I know a lot of people from multiple parts of the world that I connect with daily and consider friends, even though I’ve never met many of them! But also, because of my work in open education I have gotten some professional benefits: I have been able to participate in conferences, be invited to give talks, publish papers, etc.

 

6. What concerns/risks limit or prevent you from engaging in open practices? How do these concerns intersect with the values identified in questions 3 & 4?

I am very careful about asking students to participate in open projects/to release their work into the open, because it is their work and they have the right to decide what happens to it. If they choose to make their work open, that’s great; if not, that’s great too. And when they do I try to ensure they always have an option to remove it from public view later if they wish, either by their own actions (i.e., they have control over it rather than me), or by contacting me if it’s a page I control–the former is preferable.

I am also paying more attention lately to when open is risky/problematic, such as noted in Tara Robertson’s post about a recent talk, “Not All Information Wants to be Free”. I also attended an Open Access Week session in Vancouver called “Tensions and Risk in Open Scholarship”; you can see a collaborative notes document from that session. One of the participants in that session was Dave Gaertner from the University of British Columbia, and he wrote a thought-provoking post called “Towards a Pedagogy of Closure”. This, and some of the notes from the “Tensions and risk” event are about the risks for Indigenous communities of openness.

I recently learned about Traditional Knowledge labels and licenses, which is a way to start more deeply engaging with the risks of open for Indigenous communities.

 

7. Which of these tools/activities/practices/values/beliefs also extend to students? Does Open offer benefits that are unique to students? How are concerns/risk similar? How are they different?

I think the benefits can include: ability to contribute to wider knowledge so that one’s work as a student doesn’t just disappear into the void after it receives a grade but does some good in the world. Open pedagogy often involves students having more autonomy, more choice over what they are learning and how, and how they show their learning through projects. Students can also benefit from being connected to wider communities, beyond the confines of their particular class, depending on what kinds of activities they’re engaged in and what the audiences for those are. They could connect with people who are experts in their field, with community groups from whom they can learn day-to-day realities of life that may not be obvious in a class, and more.

I think the risks include things like online bullying or harassment or even threats (if they are on social media or release their work onto sites like blogs or youtube). They may wish later that they hadn’t released their early educational work so publicly because later they may completely disagree with what they had thought earlier, and yet now the work is impossible to delete from the web completely. Those are just a couple of risks that come to mind.

 

8. What changes about the experience with Open tools etc. as students progress from high school to undergrad to grad school and beyond? What values/practices remain consistent regardless of age and expertise?

I think one has to be more careful with younger students and privacy; as students go beyond k-12 and into university and grad school, more autonomy with choices around their privacy makes sense (though some autonomy in high school makes sense too). In any and all cases, learning about the benefits and dangers of openness, including in terms of privacy, is critical. And being sure students and teachers know what data is collected about them through which platforms they choose to use, and for what purposes, and who has access to the data, is also crucial. That goes not only for “open” platforms but others as well!

Presentation: What’s open about open pedagogy?

On Oct. 26, 2017, I gave a talk at Douglas College in the Vancouver, BC, Canada area. This was for Open Access Week 2017. I have a number of blog posts with reflections on my thinking about this talk:

 

Here is a video recording of the talk.

You can see the slides on speakerdeck, and you can download them as power point here: WhatsOpenAboutOpenPedagogy-DouglasCollege-Oct2017

Here they are embedded from Speaker Deck…

 

Perceptions of Open Pedagogy

I am doing a presentation at the eCampus Ontario Technology Enhanced Seminar and Showcase in a couple of weeks, and one thing I’ll be talking about is student and faculty perceptions of the benefits and challenges/barriers to open pedagogy. I’m focused on college and university education, but am also interested in responses from those who teach and learn at other educational institutions.

I have some information along those lines, but I’m writing this post for people to comment on to provide more if they wish.

So, if you are willing, please answer one or more of the following in the comments below. If you want to be anonymous you can use a pseudonym and also a false email address when signing in to provide your comment.

Thanks!

Questions:

  1. Are you a student who has engaged in an open pedagogy project, or a faculty member who has asked students to do so? Or maybe a staff member who has helped design one?
  2. What kind of open pedagogy activity were you involved with?
    1. If you want, you can say what kind of course it was (topic, year level)–though note that this might identify you if you don’t want to be identified.
  3. What were the benefits of this activity?
    1. If you were a student, what did you get out of it?
    2. If you engaged in open pedagogy as a teacher or staff member, what did you hope students got out of it? Why did you ask them to do this? Do you have any evidence, formal or informal, of the benefits of the activity?
  4. What were some challenges or barriers you faced?
    1. What could have or did go wrong?
    2. What potential problems with this kind of activity should others be aware of?
    3. Any advice?

 

Remember that you can remain anonymous by not giving your real name or email address, if you want.

Note that quotes from these answers may be used in my presentation at the event linked above, and may be on slides that are publicly viewable. If you want to provide comments without them being seen here, but you wouldn’t mind me paraphrasing from them, please email me: christina.hendricks@ubc.ca

 

Update Nov. 11 2017

I got a fantastic set of comments from a student via email. She gave me permission to post them here, which I really am happy to do because they are so helpful. Here they are as a PDF: StudentComments-OpenPedagogy-Nov2017

Open Pedagogy, shared aspects

This post is part of my reflection on an upcoming talk I’m giving at Douglas College about open pedagogy: “What’s Open about Open Pedagogy?” I an earlier post I started collecting some examples of activities that people have put under the umbrella of open pedagogy. Then I did some reflecting on possible differences between open pedagogy and open educational practices . In my last post I looked at open education in the 60s and 70s.

Here I’m trying to summarize what I’ve got so far around open pedagogy. This is an extension of work I did in a series of posts on open pedagogy earlier this year, all of which are linked in the last one: Navigating Open Pedagogy Part 2. In that post I did a good deal of pulling together of various threads of how people define open pedagogy, and here I’m going to try to refine it even more.

So reading that post might be a useful precursor to this post, because I’m going to do some shorthand here, based on what was discussed there. I’ll also be adding some things based on what else I’ve read since then.

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Open Education in the 60s and 70s

icon of footprints with three arrows at the top, pointing in different direction, indicating the concept of choice

Learner choice and autonomy as important to open education in the 60s and 70s. Icon purchased from The Noun Project.

As I’ve been thinking lately about open pedagogy (see all posts on this blog with that tag), I’ve been looking back over some of what others have said about it, and was reminded that a couple of people in the last year have talked about how “open education” has been used/defined in the past and how some of that appears similar to how “open pedagogy” is used today. In this post I dig into some of the earlier work that other people have pointed to, in order to try to understand at least a little bit about some of the history of these concepts, while fully recognizing this is only a tiny taste of what is likely out there.

The things I’ve seen lately from others are from Tannis Morgan (Open Pedagogy and a Very Brief History of the Concept) and Vivien Rolfe (slides for “Open. But not for criticism?” ). Looking at these led me down a bit of a rabbit hole about the open education movement in England & North America in the 60s and 70s. I start here with a bit of general background on the movement, and then look at some of the things Morgan & Rolfe point to.

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Open pedagogy, Open Educational Practices

Venn diagram with open learning and teaching practices in one cirlce and qualities of open learning content in another. Where they cross is called open educational resources (OER)

From Open Practices Briefing Paper (Beetham et al., 2012). Licensed CC BY-NC 3.0

 

This post is part of my reflection on an upcoming talk I’m giving at Douglas College about open pedagogy: “What’s Open about Open Pedagogy?” In my previous post I started collecting some examples of activities that people have put under the umbrella of open pedagogy. In an earlier post I collated a number of definitions of open pedagogy, and in my next post I plan to dig more deeply into what I think open pedagogy is and what might be “open” about it.

Here I’m going to do a short reflection on possible differences between “open pedagogy” and “open educational practices” (OEP). I have used open pedagogy and OEP interchangeably in the past, and I’m now thinking it might be helpful to consider where they might differ.

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Open pedagogy: examples of class activities

An upcoming talk I’m giving

On October 26 I’m giving a talk at Douglas College in the Vancouver, BC (Canada) area, with the title: “What’s Open about Open Pedagogy?” It’s part of Douglas College’s Open Access Week events.

I brainstorm by writing, and I figured I might as well share my rough thoughts with others in case they find any of it useful. I’ll also share the slides from the talk here on my blog when they’re finished. I expect things will change significantly once my thoughts get from the rough brainstorm form to the slides!

I’m thinking at the moment of an outline for the talk along these lines (with an intro as yet unspecified, talking about why it’s useful to discuss this at all):

  1. What are some examples of things that people have called “open pedagogy”?
  2. How have others defined open pedagogy? What do I think?
    • I’ve already had a lot to say about this in a series of blog posts earlier this year. You can see links to all of them in the last post, called “Navigating Open Pedagogy part 2.”
    • What are the relationships between open pedagogy, open educational practices, students as producers, and students as partners?
  3. What’s open about open pedagogy?
    • What does “open” seem to mean, such that it can cover open access, open data, open science, open government, open pedagogy… (this is a gigantic topic in and of itself; I won’t be able to do it justice but I’ll make a start)
    • Does that fit the views of open pedagogy from (1) and (2)?
    • does any of this change our views of “open pedagogy”?

Oh my…now that I write that out, I think: this is going to be too much for a one-hour talk plus Q&A afterwards. This could probably be a book. Oh well…let’s see what comes out of my brainstorming and whether it’s feasible.

In this post I am just collating a few examples of what people have called “open pedagogy” activities in classes.

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