Author: Christine Scherer

OLC Accelerate Reflections

This past November, members of the Distance Learning team attended the annual, national OLC Accelerate Conference in Orlando, Florida. Some of our staff shared their reflections on some of the most valuable things they learned during the three-day conference. William Guth OLC Accelerate was perhaps my most productive conference experience to date. In addition to presenting at this national conference, I attended several presentations and discussions which have inspired me to improve the online experience for our online students. One intriguing new idea for me was that of syllabi as infographics. As it stands now. syllabi are an informal agreement


Uncomplicating Alt-Text for Complex Images

Including alt-text on images is one of the most basic requirements for web accessibility. Alt-text is a brief description of the information conveyed by the image and allows visually impaired users to fully engage with all content on a web page. For simple images, writing alt-text is easy. An image of the Chicago skyline, for example, could have alt-text reading “The Chicago downtown skyline, which includes the Willis Tower and Hancock building, at sunrise.” Pretty straightforward, right? But in online education, not all images are so simple. When teaching courses on subjects such as global health, predictive analytics, or medical


SLATE 2016 Conference Reflections

On October 20, 2016, most of the SPS Distance Learning team attended and presented at SLATE 2016. There were numerous sessions and opportunities for conversations with our colleagues in distance learning and online education. Below are some reflections on what we heard, saw, and learned. Jessica Mansbach The Mobilizing Classroom Assessment addressed different ways to decide which technology tools work best for your assessment needs. The presenters reviewed pros and cons of a variety of classroom assessment techniques. They shared Classroom Assessment Techniques Advance Organizer, a useful resource to use to carefully consider what students already know, what skills you


Ten Ways to Spice Up Online Discussions: September Online Learning Webinar

Instructional Technologist Jackie Wickham hosted the September Online Learning Webinar, Ten Ways to Spice Up Online Discussions. The recording is available on Blue Jeans, and you can provide feedback and suggest topics for future Online Learning Webinars. The ideas and resources that Jackie shared in the webinar are outlined below: Require students to use media – a picture, audio, or video – in their discussion posts. This Canvas Guide shows how to record and upload video within Canvas. Use the Discussion Analytics tool developed by Northwestern Information Technology to get data on student participation and discussion themes. Encourage storytelling. Asking


All About Captions

Captions are one of the most well-known accessibility aids. They are a common sight on TV screens in noisy restaurants, and the option to activate them is available on nearly every DVD and blu-ray menu. But as common as they are, many people may not understand the importance of captioning as an accessibility tool. They are especially vital in online courses, where pre-recorded video lectures may be a student’s only opportunity to see their teacher. What are captions? Captions are “text versions of the spoken word presented within multimedia,” such as web videos. (WebAim, Captions, Transcripts, and Audio Descriptions) Typically,