I am attending the Universal Learning Design 2011 Conference this week, in Brno, Czech Republic, see: http://www.uld-conference.org/en. I will attempt a near live blog of the highlights of selected talks and my thoughts on them. Links to the details of each session from the conference programme and live webcasts are given. (I don’t know yet if the webcasts will be made available after the conference.)
Wed, 9 Feb 2011
[all times CET = GMT+1]
09:00 – 09:45
09:50 – 10:20
Prof. Alan Hurst (Skill: National Bureau for Students with Disabilities, UK)
- Shifting from a medical (deficit) model to a social model
- Trying to encourage disabled students to live as independently as possible and enable choice
- Focus not on equality (treating everybody the same – we are not the same) but on equity (treating fairly).
E.g. Teachability Project in Scotland.
What are the core requirements every student must be able to do? Then can define reasonable adjustments.
In UK obsession with facilitation of attendance – but UK university doing best for disabled students requires little attendance – The Open University [thanks for the plug Alan!]
What about assessment? How much scope for flexibility? What information do we give students and how early? Difference between modified assessment (e.g. additional time) or alternative assessment (e.g assessment in sign language). Who is responsible fr making assessment arrangements? It must be a mainstream task to do this not the task of a disability unit.
What about quality? The role of the professional bodies. The danger of the “we have always done it that way” syndrome!
Information provision to disabled students before start university – accessibility of web based information systems.
Students participation in social life. E.g. integrated accommodation.
What about carers guidance, access to higher level study?
- Reasonable Adjustments
- Anticipatory Duties
Good course delivery practice anticipating needs reduces need to reasonable adjustments – cost and time savings!
The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) – Code of Practice Part 3 (Disabled Students)
(Examples given but not noted here)
“A law cannot guarantee what a culture will not give” (Mary Johnson 2003)
More important than the law is changing people attitudes.
Evidence of major progress:
When disability services are seen as value added provision in universities rather than additional institutional expense
11:15 – 11:25
Andrea Petz (Johannes Kepler University of Linz)
Klaus Miesenberger (Johannes Kepler University of Linz)
13:30 – 14:00
Petr Peňáz (Teiresias Centre, Masaryk University)
- We know what special educational needs are? – Issue of individual needs – responses to the needs of different people can conflict. General approaches do not work!
- Education offered separately is a sin of our fathers! – Idealistic, ill conceived inclusion can be a step back. Let us not criminalise special separate education
- A person with disability is the only arbiter of accessibility – Democratic education principle of Europe. Let us not delegate to student what should be the role of the professional
- The main guarantee of accessibility is that of an educational counsellor – counselling does not cover most part of the service – it directs to the services – network of service providers to be created c.f. networks of counsellors
- A personal educational assistant must be provided when counselling is not sufficient. – Let us make sure university’s do not provide personal assistants unless there is evidence for reasons
Meaningful investments in accessible tertiary education conditioned by professional services. Setting the boundaries between universal design and reasonable adjustments. Admit what are the tasks of the school and what of the student. Accept that there are limits to accessibility. Sharing services between schools and creation of servicing networks.
Question from MC on balance between Student and Institution in defining their educational needs and how best met. Answer – need an offering and then feedback but often teachers ask what should I do for you. Students often tell stories about their own case but not really facilitate analysis of how needs best met.
16:05 – 16:35
Klaus Miesenberger (University of Linz)
16:45 – 17:00
ICT revolution -> Digital media enabling us to present documents in different ways – design for all documents. Conversion to alternative formats. With digital rights management – different business models.
That was the big promise – but! (Holistic approach needs more than just access to documents) Fear from existing service providers not founded.
We are struggling to make fully accessible documents. Review of documents from publishers shows metadata and structure not there to extract text in a linear form (footnotes, bibliographies, etc.) Colour used to order text.
Challenge is for new co-operations to efficiently integrate different resources into service provision systems.
Looking towards multi-channel publishing. – Guidelines and examples, in their tool. Conversion to Daisy. Still no text order. The publishing process is changing and this defeats the process – handed out to cheapest bidder – not aware of structured documents.
Need to take process into our hands.
Much effort goes into diagrams and the metadata. Need an efficient work flow. With Library community METAe project. Structured content – XML wrappers around OCR documents
Workflow management tool – docWORKS[e]
Image processing supported
Export to existing standards
Working on conversion tools
To be outlined in Access to Documents Sessions but in summary:
End-user devices are changing – e.g. Kindle (lead to changes in publishing process to benefit accessibility)
New Assistive Devices
Publishing Sector is changing
Copyright question – Memorandum of understanding in Europe been signed but not yet in force at national level.
Teaching and Learning is changing – lots of use of electronic material, VLEs, social-networks (see EU4ALL)
New Services – crowd-sourcing, e.g. bookshare.org
No-linear content – maths, chemistry etc. Further effort needed to come to proper solutions
Pen based interfaces – hand written notes – how to deal with?
Clients are charging – designed for different target groups
Easy to read
Captions and sub-titling – how to extend printed document to multimedia document with video using these?
Lip-reading – how to integrate
From Access to documents -> Total conversion
eAccess+ network – European stakeholder exchange.
A big challenge but no need to fear!
Need holistic approach!
Requires evolving management skills.
Questions: – metadata engine – tool from CCS, Hamburg Germany – metadata created automatically with 85-90% accuracy.
17:35 – 18:05
Ing. Svatoslav Ondra (Teiresias Centre, Masaryk University)
Thur, 10 Feb 2011
[all times CET = GMT+1]
09:00 – 09:10
Afra Pascual (University of Barcelona)
Mireia Ribera (University of Barcelona)
Miquel Térmens (University of Barcelona)
Llúcia Masip (University of Barcelona)
Toni Granollers (University of Barcelona)
José Luís Gonzàlez (University of Barcelona)
Marina Salse (University of Barcelona)
Jorge Franganillo (University of Barcelona)
Bruno Splendiani (University of Barcelona)
09:15 – 09:45
Dominique Archambault (University Pierre et Marie Curie)
- Linear nature of speech and Braille
- Additional use of graphics to visualise and explain the maths
09:50 – 10:20
Petr Sojka (Masaryk University)
10:25 – 10:35
Dominique Archambault (University Pierre et Marie Curie)
Jan Engelen (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven)
11:15 – 11:45
Prof. Willy Aastrup (The Danish School of Education, Aarhus University)
- Higher productivity (more candidates (for same money!)
- Quality focus (Bologna Process)
- Good quality in own right
- No special curricular
- Obtaining the required competences
- Evaluation documented
Models of disability:
- Social -> accessibility & usability (a quality issue)
- Possibilities approach (conf. UN) ->
- Nature of impairment
- Available resources
- The individual
Student potential -> an option if they live up to the academic skills/
Disability Policy for AU:
Equal Educational Environment
Counselling and Educational Practice Centre:
- Creates compensation options in relation to educational difficulties.
- Evidence based
E.g. for students with dyslexia – social counselling: for academic practice, study support
“learn to learn!”
Assistive technology – laptop loans and scanning software and Dictaphone and synthetic speech/spelling programmes – The package!
Students instructed 1:1 on use of equipment concerning specific field of study 6-8 hours – so can use in a productive way the package
N.B. diversity of students with dyslexia
Individual assistance – 9-12 sessions per semester, also 1:1, the academic basis is what the student is studying, co-operative effort, student must be active, adapted to individual need. Note taking, time management, aural presentation, etc.
Pycho-social “illness” in learning context –
Aims again to facilitate process of identity formation
“Don’t have students with diagnosis”
If need therapy done elsewhere.
Aim to make there learning more effective specific to their context – so can self regulate their learning processes.
Holistic approach coordinated with teaching subjects focussed on the study issues not their “illness”
Aim is employability on open labour market and live independently
After 2 years study performance is average (grade points)
Drop out rate – better than average
Student progression slower although grade scores comparable with other students (studies sometimes delayed by treatment or study half-time to meet their needs)
About funding –
Test for dyslexia done by centre (accredited). Those with psycho-social conditions need certificate from doctor but centre then evaluates further.
If pass qualifies for support.
Who pays – most comes from ministry of education (very bureaucratic).
Foreign students pay for the service but university pays for initial assessments – dealt with on a case by case basis depending on their source of funding. Provide support within 5 days of arrival. (Does not cover deaf-students)
13:30 – 14:00
Petr Hladík (Masaryk University, Teiresias Centre)
Tomáš Gůra (Masaryk University, Teiresias Centre)
- outline (headings)
Hybrid-book3 – dealing with the needs of other users – especially hearing impaired
Demonstration of 1st prototype (still under development)
Further development – quality web based hybrid-book app, improving quality of multimedia output (still using human voice, human signers), Authoring tools only currently exist of synchronising audio so area for further development.
Question – why not DAISY – Answer: video recording, synchronising other types of records and descriptive system different from DAISY – from outside the document, every record, data stream described separately so can add, at any stage, a new record.