What challenges did you face in this course?
The greatest challenge was to thoughtfully organize the amount of content I wanted to cover in a user-friendly, swallow-able way. This process is often referred to as “beginning with the end in mind” or “reverse engineering”. The online course I created was designed for my student employees in how to make documents accessible as well as become acquainted with work expectations, the office culture, and the laws that govern this work.
What strategies or other creative resources did you use to address these challenges?
What I found most helpful was to utilize a Google Sheet. Each column was it’s own separate topic or module. Within that column, I incorporated the sub-topics that would be important to cover. This allowed me to see how the sub-topics related to each other. I merged some topics and split others. I was able to identify when a module was becoming too heavy. Because I chose to do this in Google Sheet, moving content was a matter of copy/paste.
I also sought the feedback from some of my employees – the ones that had been with me for about a year who knew the complexity of our work. I am not sure if it was helpful or not, but these employees did not undergo any formal training program. This was positive in one way because my team members were able to identify what information would have been most helpful upfront.
Which artifact do you feel was your best and why?
I am especially proud of the lesson on accessibility and universal design. They are topics that most anyone can understand readily. The example I use is a classic one — curb cuts. These are cuts in the sidewalk designed for wheels to mount and dismount easily. They were originally designed for wheelchair users. However, virtually everyone finds benefit: those who are unable to lift lefts high, people pushing strollers, skateboarders, individuals moving items, etc. Society does not think of curb cuts as an “accessibility” feature but rather a “convenience” feature. This is the mentality we need to bring into our schools, curriculum, and classes.
What is one thing you plan to do in your school or business as a result of this course?
This has been the most used artifact thus far of the entire EDTECH program. After my initial creation, I sat with small groups of my current employees and went through each module, each page. We made assignments, and met weekly for about 2 months to document accurately our current policies and procedures. I enlisted the help of one team member, who has significant teaching experience, asking them to make edits that would be fruitful. This “course” did turn into more of a reference, as this work is much more time consuming to learn asynchronously. The completely online course turned into a hybrid environment. I have used this with about 10 new employees and it has greatly improved the quality and consistency of files we convert for students with disabilities.