Moodle Educational Experts Get A Lesson In Accessible, Universal Course Design

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Moodle Educational Experts Get A Lesson In Accessible, Universal Course Design
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Helen Foster and Mary Cooch, better known as the Moodle Community Manager and the “Moodlefairy,” joined a test run of a usability MOOC offered by Blackboard.

For them it was a welcome role switch, as they are each used to running the bi-annual Moodle MOOC. The purpose of this course was to “develop skills in accessible, universal course design,” and a blog post by the Moodlefairy shares some of the key takeaways, most of which are likely to influence the upcoming versions of the Moodle MOOC, and maybe even Moodle itself.

As technologies for the design and development of content and educational experiences become easier to use, and as usability and accessibility standards become more broadly adopted, expectations of EdTech’s ability to accommodate any special situation continue to grow. Modularity is critical to build compliant content that is compatible with several different mediums, including assistive technologies. Some of the tools covered by the MOOC include:

  • JAWS, a screen reader that converts text on the screen to speech or to Braille on a special display.
  • Dragon, a speech recognition software designed for those who cannot use the mouse or keyboard.
  • In Moodle, the Advanced forum and H5P plugins showcase how Moodle’s compatibility standards can extend to special and third-party functionality. Cooch also mentions the Moodle site within which the MOOC was taught used the “Snap” theme.

Results of the test run were shared at the recent MoodleMoot US in New Orleans. The organization of MoodleMoot has announced that the videos of this session and other talks from the Moot will be available soon.

Upcoming versions of Blackboard’s “Accessibility MOOC: Inclusive Online Course Design” will take place in the fall, starting October 16th, and spring, starting April 2nd, 2018.

Read the post “Moodle, MOOCs and Accessibility” at moodleblog.net.


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