Recent Posts

Web Accessibility: What’s the Law Say?

When talking about web accessibility, many people will reference the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as the law that requires websites to be made accessible. This isn’t an entirely accurate description, however. In actuality, there is no single web accessibility law or statute. Instead, the legal requirements of web accessibility stem from a patchwork of laws and court decisions, which can often lead to confusion when trying to enforce web accessibility standards–especially in higher education. Let’s try to demystify some of this confusion and go through the major laws that dictate web accessibility. Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504 While


How Does the Writing Place Serve Distance Learning Students?

Introduction By day, I’m a Learning Designer in the School of Professional Studies. When I meet with faculty members who are designing or revising online courses, I often advocate for the needs of online students, saying, “Online students prefer X,” or “Online students need Y.” But wait, how do I know what students want or need if I’m not in a teaching role? Sure, there are research-based standards like Quality Matters, but I wanted to interface with adult and distance learning students directly and ask them those questions. What do you prefer? What do you need? So by night, I’m


Student Services Panel: September 2017 Online Learning Webinar

The September Online Learning Webinar had presenters from Student Services, the Registrar’s Office, the Writing Place, and the University Library. Students may have questions or issues that impact their learning experience, but are beyond the ability of faculty to address. Each presenter explained how the resources in their area can help students and allow faculty to focus on teaching. Sean Kavanaugh, NU SPS Director of Academic and Career Management, presented on the student experience outside the classroom, the adviser’s role at SPS, and the work of Student Services at SPS and the larger university. Ashley Cook, NU SPS Registration Lead,


Documenting the Course Development Process

Recently, the Big 10 Academic Alliance conference invited School of Professional Studies and the Office of Distance Learning representatives to share highlights about our online course development process. The conference organizers asked for the presentations to be delivered as recorded videos that were viewed online by a small audience before the conference and discussed during a meeting during the conference. To keep the production of the video presentations simple and efficient we repurposed some existing materials when possible. The segments of the video that made use of existing material, such as previously recorded videos, graphics templates, or outlines from other


Podcast Your Content

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “I’m not a radio host! I don’t have an on air personality. I don’t have it in me to plan and record a weekly series.” All those things may be true. But those are not necessarily requirements for creating course content in podcast form. If you’re in the process of a course design or revision, then you are involved in a planning process, and planning is ninety percent of the project. And if you are already thinking to record a lecture or explanation of concepts on camera, it’s possible that a podcast will