Author: Christine Scherer

Spotlight on Accessibility – Alternative Text: May 2017 Online Learning Webinar

In May’s online learning webinar, Content Specialist Christine Scherer shared information on web accessibility in course design, specifically the use of alternative text to make images accessible to all students. Faculty were asked to think of alt-text for a variety of images, both straightforward and complex. A recording of the webinar is available on Blue Jeans. To learn more about accessibility, visit the SPS Distance Learning Accessibility page.


Online Learning Resource Round-Up!

Online education is growing fast–so fast that it can be hard to keep up with all the latest news and resources. The Distance Learning staff have assembled some of their favorite online learning resources to help highlight some of our favorites. Inside Higher Ed – Inside Digital Learning – Krissy Wilson In order to stay up-to-date with the latest news in digital learning, I’ve subscribed to the Inside Higher Ed – Inside Digital Learning newsletter. Like many digital media providers, Inside Higher Ed publishes news and opinion pieces at a pace that is almost impossible to keep up with. How can


Inclusive Language

Online education allows universities and faculty to open their doors to a wider audience of students than ever before. Students can earn a Northwestern degree without ever setting foot in Chicago, Illinois, or even the United States. This openness in education creates great opportunities, for students and faculty alike. The nature of online education, however, has also created a unique dynamic for students: they have near-total control over how much anyone knows about them. Students can choose whether or not to reveal their ethnicity, religion, disability status, location, and even appearance. Some students find this option to be freeing: they


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 blind and low-vision 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