Dr. Henley is the Web Accessibility Liaison in the MSU Neuroscience Program and is also a member of the Faculty Learning Community (FLC) on Accessibility through Creative Innovation. She recognizes the importance of giving all students the proper tools to engage with educational content. She has also seen how improving accessibility in the classroom can help all students, regardless of status of disability. A student having trouble with the content can read captions while watching videos to help solidify the points. Or busy students can read transcripts on their phone while they are on the go. Or students can easily find sections of course documents by using the header navigation instead of scrolling through. Accessibility practices benefit everyone.
This week some members of my FLC presented at an MSU Academic Advancement Network (AAN; formerly FOD) Teaching and Learning seminar (formerly Lilly seminars). We had a great group of participants. I have recently been introduced to the idea of sketchnotes – where you draw your notes instead of simply writing words (think, infographic style). I am interested in learning more about this process, but I am also hesitant because I am rarely happy with my illustrations the first time through, and they do take me some time to complete. Combine that with the fact that I haven’t played much with combining text and drawing on my tablet, and there is going to be a learning curve.
Michigan State provides a type of professional development for faculty and academic staff called Faculty Learning Communities (FLC). These are small groups that meet monthly and focus on specific topics like academic integrity or enriching the international student experience. Last spring, I joined the FLC on accessibility through creative innovation. We are dedicated to creating and revising accessible materials for the online learning environment. By examining and implementing Universal Design for Learning (UDL) standards, we focus on not only how to improve our own courses, but also how to help other faculty wrestling with these same issues.