EDTECH 501 – Reflection

What challenges did you face in this course?

As a full-time employee, the greatest challenge was adjustment to always feeling “on the clock”. After working 8-10 hours, coming home was simply a transition to another form of work. The balance between work, school, family responsibilities, socializing, and civic commitments is a never-ending battle. Establishing when I would be working on EDTECH materials, and keeping to that established time frame, is something that I continue to struggle with, being halfway through the program.

What strategies or other creative resources did you use to address these challenges?

I am managing, not necessarily overcoming, this challenge in 2 ways. First, I am diligent about scheduling time for the priorities of the week. I heavily utilize Calendar and Reminders. At the beginning of a course, I enter school deadlines for projects, and also set check point deadlines if the project is complex.

Which artifact do you feel was your best and why?

The Tech Trends artifact was the beginning of a 12+ quarter project, looking at inaccessibility of electronic files distributed through Learning Management Systems at my institution. The trend is, instructors post PDFs, Word Docs, image files, Google Docs, PowerPoints, etc. that are not usable by students with disabilities. I created an infographic based on one quarter’s data. However, this project has continued to where I can say with confidence, that IF a professor distributes files through an LMS at my campus, they distribute about 35 files equating to about 600 pages of content. The infographic hopefully communicates clearly and succinctly, the main issues with this aspect of teaching in an online/hybrid environment.

What is one thing you plan to do in your school or business as a result of this course?

One of the main sticking points of this course is the reality of the digital divide. I specialize in the digital divide between students with disabilities and students without disabilities. The ultimate goal of my work is to help academic institutions create equitable environments where students have the same opportunity to success or fail, regardless of disability. Without thoughtful change and support, faculty will continue to distribute files that maintain the digital divide.

Specifically, I have continued to collect data about the inequality of electronically distributed files. The plan is to create infographics, and other swallow-able materials, that will be shared with deans and department chairs or be used in presentations. I also anticipate creating a video that will be distributed to faculty who have a student who needs accessible files, explaining this issues and what faculty can do to create more inclusively designed documents. Continued presentation of this data at conferences is also imperative to brainstorm changes across campuses at a national level.