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H810 – Institutional perspective (A34.1-b)

December 23, 2010

More questions to answer.

2. Think back to before you started this course. Are there any assumptions you had then about whether and how to make online resources accessible? (For example, ideas about what ‘rules’ you should follow.)

2a. Have theses assumptions or rules changed as a result of studying on the course? If so, why and how?

On of my peers stated that ‘I thought that there must be some legislation that went along the lines of being non-discriminatory, but didn’t realise that the sheer volume of guidelines which are available to create and evaluate resources existed, both online and resources created using PowerPoint, Word, pdfs, etc.’ Well, that pretty much resembles my experience, even though I guess my knowledge was even lesser, not really aware of accessibility issues, because I am not confronted with this issues on our school . Even when I started a course with the adult education centre to become an eTrainer, accessibility in terms of making the online resources accessible for disabled people was no issue. We considered technical and pedagogical issues and discussed legal and partly business issues as well, but never talked about how we can cater for people with disabilities. How ignorant I/we actually are.

However, H810 greatly raised my awareness, and designing our own little online resource and evaluating it as part of the second TMA enabled me to an even greater extend to assess and evaluate the accessibility of online resources. Though I have limited chances to apply any guidelines or standards into my teaching, do I nevertheless consider to a greater extent as before how I can make my teaching more inclusive for all my students. Most classes are quite heterogeneous, thus thinking about different alternative formats to present teaching material might facilitate learning to a greater extend as before.

I actually cannot really address the next two question. I cannot identify people who make, enforce, advocate or implement ‘rules’ that apply to accessibility in my school. I once tried to find out and asked at the school administration, but they could not name anybody who minister for disabled students 😦 We have very few students with disabilities, and action is taken first when they arrive at our school. I know from one student who is a wheelchair user, and because our school has no elevator, the school arranged that his classroom is on the first floor (AE), respectively ground storey (BE) we also have one accessible toilette, but besides that the student has no access to the rest of the school and cannot walk up to the school administration to e.g. submit a sick note which students are required to put in a postbox in front of the administration. A couple weeks ago, during a counselling interview with students and their parents, regarding their school progress, one parent revealed that her daughter is diagnosed with dyscalculia and asked if that could be acknowledged in case she fail to meet the requirements for the next school level. First, I felt somehow ackward that it took so long to disclose that impairment to us as school, second that we not really ask for it, and third that when I asked the department head if the diagnose would help the student in case she fail to reach the next school level because of math, that she told me that the vocational school law will not acknowledge her impairment. The math teacher know about the circumstances and does its best to help her, but if this brings the wished outcome is questionable. Being now more aware of accessible issues, I actually more and more realize how less we actually do to support these students. 😦

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