Edublogs webinar overview – Accessibility Standards


This recorded session was a FineFocus session in which we took a brief introductory look at Accessibility Standards.  The topic is one that is becoming increasingly prominent as governments around the world set accessibility compliance standards for government websites.

The session

We started with a poll and a whiteboard to find out where we were all coming from on Accessibility Standards and their application in an online/e-learning context. This revealed varying knowledge and so provided great opportunities for discussion as we continued through the session. We moved on to look at the sorts of things that we, both as individuals and in the context of meeting our students’ needs, felt made websites more accessible.The next part of the session was a brief look at the links and possible conflicts between Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and Accessibility Standards. We also took a very quick look, via App Share, at the guidelines that have been derived from the standards. I must admit that when I first looked at the guidelines I went into panic mode! I am reasonably tech savvy and I was totally daunted by the impossibility of making every piece of e-learning I develop totally compliant. I think that others in the session felt similarly – having had time to reflect my response is that I will do what is feasible and take baby steps. One of my main concerns is that this will all be too hard for the average practitioner who is only beginning their journey into developing online content and that the result will be a return to boring text only documents uploaded as documents and lacking interaction.

We also considered the impact on others (not falling in to defined equity groups) of changes made to meet the needs of specific equity groups. We compared some of the old Elluminate buttons/features with the new BbC ones that were developed through very close consultation with equity groups.

Finally we discussed some ways we might make a start on improving accessibility in our own practice – including checking foreground and background for colour contrast. Although it wasn’t one of those suggested I have made a change in my blog theme moving to a “responsive theme” ie one that is “mobile friendly” and adapts itself to the device type so that the text is readable without  zooming. I made the change because fortuitously I saw this post by @suewaters – on “theedublogger” and it nudged me into making the change. I don’t like my new theme as much as the old one – I would probably have stayed with it forever given the opportunity, but I think it is good that I made the change!

We finished with a page of links, “takeaways” and feedback.


This was a really interesting session partly because we all came from very different amounts of prior knowledge which always gives rise to great discussions.  Also our varied backgrounds enabled us to bring different perspectives – one of the best things as always for me was hearing/seeing the ideas and opinions of others in the group.

Our Next Webinar

Our next webinar will be an Edublogs “Serendipity” session on Thursday April 11th at 23:00 GMT/UTC (Afternoon/Evening USA) or Friday April 12th at 7am West Aus, mid morning Eastern States Aus depending on your timezone (check yours here) – in the usual BlackboardCollaborate room. This is one of our fortnightly unconference sessions where we invite you to bring along your “hot topics” and “burning issues”. We post these on the whiteboard and then choose the topic for discussion by poll.


Three Edublogs webinar overviews!

Serendipity – Two topics UDL and information curation (13th/14th October 2011)

Apologies for not posting the last couple of overviews – pressure of work just got too heavy. I hope that doing three posts in one will get me back on track!


In this recorded session we had two topics because we had a dead heat betweeen looking at universal design for learning and curating information. The consensus was to discuss both so we split the time between the two beginning with information curation

The Session

We initially used a whiteboard to gather some of the methods we use to manage (curate) information.

The conversation moved on using text and audio as we discussed some of these in a little more depth. There are so many tools that can be used for curating information, we all have our preferences based on the ways we think and learn. No one tools will ever be right for everyone!

We moved on to look at Universal Design for Learning (UDL). Initially we spent time clarifying our various understandings of UDL. The focus on accessiblity underpins UDL but there is some perception that it can be used as a way to make everyone conform.

Both topics are really deserving of full Fine Focus sessions – information curation probably needs as many sessions as there are tools and different ways of using them.


This session reinforced for me something that I already feel very strongly. That is the importance of giving learners and colleagues choice with respect to tools not just for information curation but for all aspects of their e-learning. This was particularly interesting when juxtaposed with the second half of the session on UDL which focuses on accessiblity. This sometimes seem be used as a justification for trying to make a tool or site “all things to all people” and thus removing “difference”.

“Regional Voices Crying Out To Be Heard” (20th/21st October 2011)


In this session I told the story of Western Australia’s unique approach to participation in the national consultation for Australia’s new Foundation Skills Strategy. The session was as always recorded.

The Session

The session really was more of a story than a presentation. I shared the slides I had used in my recent workshop/presentation via Elluminate at the 34th Australian Council for Adult Literacy Conference – Literacy on the Map about how Western Australia enabled our regional voices to be heard in the by using Elluminate for their regional focus group in the national consultation for Australia’s new Foundation Skills Strategy. The recording of that session plus the slides and an approximate transcript of content are available on the conference Presentations page under “Tuesday” Session D5 Regional voices crying out to be heard! I also posted on this blog about the consultation when it happened back in April under the title “Elluminate Your Consultation Process”

Those of us who took part in the consultation felt that using Elluminate enabled us to overcome Western Australia’s tyranny of distance and thus play a significant role in that consultation process.


I really enjoyed this session! It was very much a talk through the processes, both of:

  • presenting via Elluminate at a conference that was entirely face-to-face except for my workshop; and
  • the consultation process itself and how we met the consultants’ requirements via Elluminate

It was very satisfying to re-visit the processes in company with several experienced Elluminate users and to discuss some of the rationale behind the choices of tools and strategies.

Serendipity – Parent Education (because they seem so hostile to technology) – (27th/28th October 2011)


In this very lively recorded Serendipity session the topic of choice was “parent education – because they seem so hostile to technology”.

The Session

A really great session! This is one of those topics where all e-minded educators seem to feel very strongly and that always gives rise to a good session.

We looked first at some possible reasons why parents give such an impression of hostility about technology in the classroom. These thoughts filled a whiteboard quickly and generated further discussion ranging into the educational “value” of some student use of technology. There were also several links in textchat relating to research in the area of parent education.

Having discussed why parents were negative we moved on to consider how they might be educated in the value of the technology in a learning context.

Again we quickly filled a whiteboard with ideas and more links both on the whiteboard and in textchat. There were some great ideas shared on the whiteboard and chat and then expanded on through audio. As always there was much serendipitous learning in the diversions into e-portfolios, blogging, QRcodes and other fascinating areas.


This was a buzzy session with contributions coming thick and fast. The best thing about Serendipity sessions is the unconference nature because we never know where we will go in our “e-xplorations”.

Our Next Session

Our next Webinar is an Edublogs “Fine Focus” session, “Facebook won’t go away!” I take a look at Facebook – from the premise that if it won’t go away (and it won’t) we need to embrace it as a tool. Join us on Thursday November 3rd at 23:00 GMT/UTC the time for you will vary depending on your timezone (check yours here) Thursday afternoon/evening in the USA, late night Thursday in Europe, and Friday morning October 4th in Australia – in the usual virtual room