Week Eight

Digital Security

Before my current position I worked in Information Tech.  I have worked for the Geek Squad, a property management company, and at the Help Desk for the college where I still work.  Because of this, I have seen a lot of fallout from poor digital security.  From the man who was downloading videos of questionable content from an even more questionable source and brought his virus riddled laptop to the Geek Squad for repair to a department head who recently gave his credentials to a phishing e-mail at the school- I have seen again and again the consequences of being lax.

For this reason, I wasn’t sure that I would get anything from this module.  I know all there is to know about digital security, right?  And I had to roll my eyes when I got a notification from our HR department saying we had to complete a mandatory training on internet security as well (a result of the aforementioned department head compromising his credentials.)  Still, it was a great refresher for the importance of keeping everything secure.

Week Seven

Educational Media & Copyright

One of my many job duties as an Instructional Technology Specialist is to assist instructors/professors with designing, filming, editing, and publishing lecture or educational videos.  A previous colleague actually did all the videos for the college, including Marketing videos, but when he left they hired a Marketing Video Specialist and the lecture videos got added to my job description.  It’s actually one of the most fun parts of my job, but it definitely has thrown me into the deep end of copyright law.  There have been a few instances where the line between a Marketing Video and an Educational or Lecture video have been blurred, such as in the case of the Wellness program videos.  Marketing decided it wasn’t their purview so they kind of pushed it on to me.  I was pretty new and I kind of just went along with the storyboard that the Wellness Director provided me, and this included some skits with background music. Copyrighted background music.  I didn’t realize this would be a problem until I tried to upload the video to YouTube and we got hit with a copyright strike.  In another instance, the Adult Education program wanted to make an orientation video and they wanted to include some “How To Study” YouTube videos in it.  They wanted them to be seamless, with no embedding and nothing that the students had to click.  I had to do a lot of research, but I ended up telling them that they could show the videos but that I couldn’t download the videos and add them straight into the timeline of the orientation video.  Yet another time, our library provided one of our Criminal Justice instructors with a copy of the movie Twelve Angry Jurors.  They were fine with him showing it in his face to face course but they had qualms about putting it in the online course.  Unfortunately, they decided to act on these qualms by removing all access to the video (which was supposed to be a Spring Break project) on the Monday that Spring Break started, so none of the students were able to access it.  (For context, we’re a community college that shares a campus with a university.  At the time, our library and bookstore services were combined, with the university mostly running the library.  The university’s Spring Break dates were different than ours so their library staff was up and running that week, but our students and instructors were out.)   When I inquired the library about this (the next week, since they went on Spring Break the week after us) they said that they knew it didn’t make sense that we were allowed to show the movie in face to face courses but online, but that “copyright law rarely makes sense.”  Luckily, I was able to figure out a loophole that allowed us to give students access to the video on the library server with temporary university credentials (never mind that they only had access through Victoria College credentials in the first place, but I guess it “rarely makes sense.”)

Copyright for education can be difficult because while there are some fair use exceptions for education, they aren’t always clear.  Many think that as long as it’s for education, copyright doesn’t apply, but that very often isn’t the case.  Have you ever tried to share a textbook online? Bad idea.    Luckily, UT has a very good Copyright Crash Course which I often refer to when I have a sticky situation.  More often than not however, I prefer to just stick to items made available under Creative Commons or other forms of open licensing.  While there are a lot of items available, I find that it is sometimes limiting because of complicated copyright law that “rarely make sense.”

Week Six

Is there a solution to “The Grandmother Problem?”

Like many people,  my social media feeds are sometimes filled with blatantly false information shared by an older generation who is not media or technology literate.  Not only do they believe this information themselves, when they share with other users, it gives the content credibility and keeps the fake story going. With the upcoming presidential election, things will only get worse and tensions will only run higher.  How do we tactfully encourage these people in our lives to verify information and not to haphazardly spread falsehoods around social media like candy at a Halloween parade?

Depending on how well I know someone, my first step is usually just to point out the source.  I try to discourage people from sharing articles from less than reputable sources.   Of course, many are conditioned to believe that “big media” is evil and the smaller, unverified sites are more reputable.  This is a hard one to overcome.  In this case I try to convince them to back up their information.  Find another source.  Do some more research.  Oftentimes just asking them to do some more research before sharing will help them to cool down, particularly if what they are sharing is inflammatory.  When they start to research and find sources that contradict what they are sharing, in my experience it goes one of two ways.  Either they change their mind or at least opt not to share or they believe that there is a cover-up, Google must be hiding the correct information, Facebook has been paid off by the government, or something along those lines.  It can be very frustrating.

Sometimes I find that if I cannot convince someone that information is false, I need to go about it another way.  I need to convince them that they don’t need to share it.  In this situation, I can work more with them about why the information is false later, but if I can prevent them from sharing at least there is less damage done.   To do this, I like to ask them who they think will benefit from hearing this news?  Who is their target audience when they are sharing it? Will it make someone’s life better, more enriched? Will it affect any real change?  Depending on how well I know them, I can ask them if they’d be embarrassed if they shared it and later found out it was false.   Wouldn’t sharing a funny picture be a better use of your time?   I find that if I can keep them from sharing, many times they mull over the issue and find that they were in the wrong.

students Week Five

Compiling Accessibility in Higher Ed Articles

Accessibility in Higher Education can be a tough topic to write about – between social expectations and legal requirements, there is a lot to navigate.  Here I’ve compiled a list of articles from authors who aren’t afraid to do so, even when it’s tough.

3Play Media

Accessibility for Higher Education Athletics
3Play is a captioning company, so their level of enthusiasm regarding captioning is always off the charts, and readers should take that into account.  There aren’t enough people talking about accessibility in athletics, however, so this topic is important.


3 Ways to Upgrade Your Approach to Disability Services in Higher Education
Disability Services  is where accommodations come from – upgrading this department is an important step.

Boston Magazine

After the Admissions Scandal, Who Will Get Extra Time on the SAT?
Timely and relevant to current events.

Chronicle of Higher Education

How to Make Smart Choices About Tech for Your Course
Accessible Tech

Why We Need to Talk More About Mental Health in Graduate School
Mental health is often overlooked as a disability.

My 5-Month Interlude as a Disabled Professor
Opinion piece from professor who experienced temporary disability

Long Past Time for Colleges to Provide Access to Disabled Faculty and Students
Opinion piece from a disabled professor who has faced discrimination – a response to My 5-Month Interlude as a Disabled Professor

Disability Is More Than a Physical Status
Another opinion piece and response to My 5-Month Interlude as a Disabled Professor

A Note From Your Colleagues With Hearing Loss: Just Use a Microphone Already
Opinion piece about able-ism

DO-IT by University of Washington

Scholars Create Videos on Disability Issues with Rooted in Rights
Positive stories about progress

20 Tips for Teaching an Accessible Online Course
Practical tips

How Should Professors Respond When Students Ask for Accommodations?
It is important for professors to have a guide for accommodations, and to keep learning and asking questions.

Colleges Face Investigations Over Whether Their Use of Social Media Follows Accessibility Regulations
Some of the most important articles today address regulations in the midst of the digital accessibility lawsuit trend.

EdTech Magazine

Keep Accessibility in Mind for Modern Learning Environments
Being proactive with accessibility!

Education Dive

Will artificial intelligence make the college classroom more accessible?
AI is a hotly debated subject – is it accurate enough? (No..)


Universal Design for Learning: Three Aces Up Our IT Sleeves
Universal Design is a newer topic that is receiving some push back.

Taking IT Way beyond Accessibility: 5 + 4 = 1 Approach
Steps that IT professionals can take to ensure accessibility.


Helping Students With Disabilities Understand Accommodations in College
Helping students make the transition from K-12 to Higher Ed is essential in Disability Services

Essential Accessibility:

Choosing Accessible Technology Products: A Guide for Higher Education
Accessible procurement is often overlooked, a practical guide is very important.

Inside Higher Ed

Helping Institutions Reach Accessibility Goals

Accessibility Search Tool Launched for Etextbooks
Providing accessible textbooks is a battle between profit and compliance.

Legal Battle Over Captioning Continues
More information regarding regulations and lawsuits.

Professor Says She Was Forced to Teach Under Fluorescent Lights
Institutions who receive federal funding are also bound by the ADA not to discriminate on the basis of disability in hiring practices and to provide reasonable accommodations for employees.  Having disabled employees makes disabled students to feel more comfortable.


#UDLchat: Teacher Preparation & Universal Design for Learning
Universal Design for Learning

Teaching accessibility in higher education computing courses
Going beyond providing accessibility to actually teaching it

The Spectrum – Student Publication at University of Buffalo

Fifteen years after accessibility lawsuit, UB still not compliant
Including disabled student’s voices is important!

The Student Life – newspaper of Claremont Colleges

OPINION: Disability support goes beyond accommodations

OPINION: It’s the cheating that’s the problem, not the accommodations

OPINION: Embracing grief, anger and hope on Disability Day of Mourning
Including disabled student’s voices is important!

5C group tackles disability issues and works to build allies
Positive news to counteract all the legalese.




Week Four

Analyzing: Colleges Face Investigations Over Whether Their Use of Social Media Follows Accessibility Regulations

The first thing I try to consider when evaluating is the headline: Colleges Face Investigations Over Whether Their Use of Social Media Follows Accessibility Regulations. While it will catch the attention of many in higher ed simply due to the current climate, it is not overstated, it simply states a fact. There is no fear-mongering, and it isn’t misleading.  It gives a good idea of what the article is about without being “click-baity.”

The next thing I usually try to investigate when looking at news article is the source. This article comes from EdSurge which is a trusted news source in the education world. The byline is a link to Rebecca Koenig’s bio page which showcases her qualifications, accomplishments, and awards along with a listing of dozens of articles she has written, all of which builds extra credibility.

The article itself references many well-respected higher ed and accessibility organizations, including WebAIM , WCAG 2.1 Guidelines, and the Section 508 website page about social media accessibility. It also relies heavily on quotes from Cyndi Rowland the executive director of WebAIM.  Rowland is a definite subject matter expert, she literally oversees the writing and development of the standards which are enforced by the law.  Everything which veers into opinion in the article comes from quotes from Rowland. However, adding in quotes from another expert or an opposing opinion might have rounded out the article a little more.

The article provides four links to articles about court cases relating to higher ed websites and social media use and these all come from credible sites such as InsideHigherEd, the National Federation of the Blind and the United States Department of Education. There are also eleven links that detail compliance initiatives by various colleges and social media networks.

I think I would give this article an A- if I were grading it. The article has many positive qualities. The source and the author are very credible, as well as the subject quoted.  The author referenced the most high profile court cases about web and social media accessibility in higher ed that we are all keeping our eyes on now. There are many quality articles and publications referenced in the article. There are many links that help the reader to verify the information and to research on their own. I think what is missing from this article are differing opinions.  Koenig could have spoken to an administrator at an institution that has been flagged for not meeting regulations or one that is working to meet regulations to see the other side of the story.  Colleges aren’t actively trying to make their social media inaccessible and for the most part, colleges are aware of the reasons they need to comply with the law.  The disconnect comes from training, time constraints and budget issues – not apathy or complete ignorance.  Getting information from the other side would help to show the difficulties colleges are facing when it comes to all kinds of accessibility initiatives and regulations and maybe help to find a solution to bridge the gap so that colleges can work to become more accessible in every aspect.

Week Three

News & Opinion Articles about Accommodations in College Classrooms

Why I Dread the Accommodations Talk
This article showcases one instructor’s opinion of the process of a student presenting an accommodations letter. While the byline only shows her name, Gail A. Hornstein, she does seem to have her own website. The website lists her as a professor and author. She speaks about a specific student while making generalizations about many students. This is clearly her opinion because she makes subjective comments about the student’s appearance and demeanor. She also makes comments about her own demeanor which seem to shed herself in a much more positive light than the student. She goes on to pat herself on the back for being dismissive of the student and for essentially disregarding the accommodations letter that more than likely took immense courage for a student (who suffered from panic attacks) to admit to needing, obtain documentation for, request, and present to their instructor. While this one experience is anecdotal, she uses it to comment on every accommodations letter that she receives, and even publishes an article hoping to shape the experience of every instructor who receives these letters.

OPINION: It’s the cheating that’s the problem, not the accommodations
This article is also an opinion piece. This is made obvious by the word OPINION in the title. This article is written by a college student, Donnie Denome, for a college publication. Denome’s profile is linked in the byline and from his profile it is pretty clear that Denome writes almost exclusively opinion pieces for this publication. This article shows the unfortunate ramifications of the so-called “Varsity Blues” college admissions scandal which not only involved the wealthy paying for admission into college, but also paying for diagnoses to obtain accommodations which they did not qualify for, and then using those accommodations to cheat on tests. Aside from the journalist making it clear in the headline that this is an opinion piece, he also uses an anecdote from his own experiences as a college student receiving testing accommodations. He even quotes himself and refers to himself as I and us in the article. While he does reference facts in this article, he peppers them with his own opinions and experiences.

The Section 508 Refresh and What It Means for Higher Education
This article, by contrast to the others, is written by Martin LaGrow, an arguable subject matter expert, evidenced by the fact that his byline is a direct link to his biography which lists a large number of qualifications. Experts still have opinions and often write about them of course, but this adds quite a bit to LaGrow’s credibility. This article also links directly to multiple sections of accessibility law and other articles which it references, such as the General Service Administration’s Section 508 page, United States Access Board, and the Department of Justice ADA information page. LaGrow states the legal facts and backs them up with evidence, without injecting his own opinions. Because this article came out shortly before the new Section 508 standards were to go into effect, this article was also particularly newsworthy at the time of publication.

ADA Compliance for Online Course Design
This article is also an EduCause article and it is written by Sheryl Burgstahler, who also has a biography page byline link and has written or presented several times about online course accessibility for EduCause. Burgstahler also references many of the same pages that LaGrow references, strengthening the validity of both of their articles. Burgstahler’s articles focuses more on actionable items than LaGrow’s article, but it still pulls these items directly from the written laws and standards and expands on them a bit. This article is also newsworthy as it comes on the tail of a string of lawsuits and civil rights complaints against many institutions of higher learning.

Week Two

Accommodations in College Classes

There are many reasons why a college student may request and be granted an accommodation. These reasons range from physical disability, such as using a wheelchair or other mobility device or having hearing or vision impairment, to a learning disability, such as dyslexia or ADD, to mental health accommodations, such as those for anxiety or PTSD.

I became the Accommodations and Accessibility Specialist at Victoria College in February 2019, in addition to my role as Instructional Technology Specialist. Before this, I received a small taste of what it is like to receive accommodations in a college course. (Let me note that this did not occur at Victoria College where I work.) In August 2017 I sustained a knee injury. The start date of classes was pushed back at that time due to the hurricane, so I decided that after those few days of rest I could tough it out with a knee brace and crutches and stay enrolled. I had two face-to-face classes and they both happened to be on the third floor of a building that had only barely functioning elevators – and because I worked full time during the day, they were both evening classes so the campus was relatively empty. I was none too happy to discover on the first day of classes that the elevator was broken, and those three flights of stairs were very daunting. Although I didn’t feel that I needed accommodations, my professor encouraged me to request them, mostly in hopes that it would give the university the motivation to keep the elevator in good working order. Imagine my surprise when the Accessibility advisor’s office was on the second floor of the same building – with no working elevator! It was beyond frustrating but I did eventually get several accommodations put in place that allowed me extra time to get to class, the ability to use a e-book in class so I only needed to carry a lightweight tablet, and special seating. They were also very quick to fix that elevator once I complained.

All that being said, I’m lucky that my disability was relatively temporary and most of the people that I met along the way were happy to help and advocate for me. As I began work in my new role, I have learned that not everyone’s experience is as positive as mine was. I have made it my mission to not only help the students that come through our college but to help correct the (unfortunately sometimes valid) stigma that colleges only begrudgingly accommodate individuals with disabilities. In fact, most colleges are happy to make accommodations and work very hard to ensure that we level the playing field without giving an unfair advantage. Part of correcting the stigma becomes actually correcting the problem by helping to educate other Disabilities Offices.

In the media, I actually haven’t found too terribly many people with negative things to say regarding accommodations in college courses. Recently, I had a gut reaction to be upset when I saw this video “The Case Against Assistive Technology” but as I watched it, I realized the title is misleading and that it actually refutes any naysayers regarding assistive tech. However, I would like to change the narrative to shine a more positive, encouraging light and switch from simply showing that colleges are doing what is required by law, to show that colleges are actively working toward inclusivity for individuals with disabilities (and honestly all individuals!)

I couldn’t possibly list all the resources that I use for information about accommodations and assistive technology but I follow numerous listservs, blogs, and publications. Many blogs are run by assistive tech companies so I have to be careful to weed out their biases. WebAIM and CAST are great resources. Educause and AHEAD are also invaluable. In addition, I am currently studying for my IAAP certification using the Deque University self-led curriculum.

Week One

Haley’s 24 Hours of Media

Saturday was kind of a weird day for me to record all my media use because my husband was on night shift and so it kind of throws everything off. Also, this really shows what a cool person I am! In bed by 9:30 on a Saturday night!

6:00 AM – Husband comes home from night shift which wakes me up
I’m still too sleepy to do much of anything (IT’S A SATURDAY!!!!) but I scroll Facebook and check any emails. Nothing from work, only a few promo emails that I quickly discarded and some shipping notifications.
6:30 – 8:30 I turned on Suits on Amazon Prime and kind of hazily watched it from 6:30-8:30.
At this point I decided to get out of bed and actually do something! I even made coffee!
8:45 AM I got a SnapChat from my sister in law (my adorable niece!!) which prompted me to check Snapchat stories and do another run through of Facebook.
Sometimes I have to laugh, and sometimes I just get sad, about everyone I know sharing the newest version of “Facebook is going to start stealing your pictures and your soul TOMORROW if you don’t share this” posts. I saw that there was a purse sale at a shop that I like, so I browsed through the selection and decided I have enough purses. I resisted the urge to start arguments with my family members sharing inflammatory posts from unreliable sources.
I exchanged text messages with some of my friends from work who are also taking college classes at various other institutions and we exchanged a few memes relating to work/school.
I also exchanged messages with my mom and my sister, and some other family members. My husband’s cousin sent a message that her due date is exactly one month away!
9:00 AM – 11:00 AM – I checked Canvas, replied to some discussions in this course and in my other course. Then I completed the assigned reading from Bit by Bit for my other course, and the associated quiz. Then, I took note of all reading and assignments due for the upcoming week, as well as any work/personal obligations so I had an idea of how to plan my week.
11:00AM – 11:30AM – My coworker texted me that the new season of Good Eats was on Hulu! But alas, it was Good Eats: Reloaded, which aired last season. Even so, I watched the first episode. Alton Brown is one of my most trusted food sources!
11:30AM-12:15PM I turned on the Undisclosed Podcast while I cooked lunch. Undisclosed focuses on cases where they feel the defendant was wrongly convicted. The three hosts are lawyers, and they do incredibly deep dives into all the evidence. I feel that they are a trusted source. Even though they freely admit that they are personally biased towards the defendant’s innocence, they show all sides of the story. I’m currently listening to Season 2 which focuses on Joey Watkins. Each episode is followed by an addendum, hosted by Jon Cryer, which I always get a kick out of. The addendums tend to be more discussion and opinion and less fact-based.
12:15-12:45 – My husband wakes up and we eat lunch.
12:45 – 1:15 – We loaded up all our trash and head to the trash dropoff. We live in a rural area and the cost to have someone pick up our trash every week is astronomical, so we take it ourselves every other week or so. We listened to Y2Kountry on the Sirius XM on the way.
1:15 – 1:45 – We went straight from the dropoff to our gym. I listen to more of Undisclosed while we worked out. While I was at the gym, my coworker texted me and we talked briefly about the Canvas orientation he had hosted that day.
2:00 – 2:30 – We picked up a few items at Wal-Mart, which is right next to the gym. They had background music playing but I can’t remember any of it. Which I guess is the point of background music.
2:30 – 4:30 – My husband turned on SportsCenter and kind of vegged out before he had to go to work.
4:30 – When he left, I turned on CaseFile podcast. This is another True Crime podcast, based out of Australia, although they cover cases from all over the world.
I needed to replace the SSD on my laptop, so I set to work doing that. First I had to create the recovery drive to reinstall Windows. Then I backed up all my data. I physically replaced the drive (I upgraded from 150GB to 1TB) then booted from the recovery drive that I created.
5:30 While Windows was reinstalling, I put on more CaseFile and cooked myself an easy dinner. After I ate, I washed dishes and cleaned the kitchen, all with CaseFile playing.
6:30 Windows was finished installing but now I needed to install the Office Suite, Adobe Suite, and various other programs and just do some general setup. I also had to install several Windows and HP updates. Additionally, I uninstalled a lot of programs that Microsoft adds to its factory image – which I find to be a very annoying media encounter, but an encounter nonetheless. I still had CaseFile playing.
7:30 – When the computer was finally setup, I settled down on the couch to watch some more Suits for a few hours while I worked on some hand embroidery.
9:30 – I headed to bed, where I checked email (surprisingly – I had no urgent work emails, I typically field emails from students and instructors all weekend and almost always end up logging into my work Surface Pro to fix some issue or another, and I would have expected it to be even busier during the first week of classes,) Facebook, and Snapchat again before I turned on Food Network to watch some mindless TV and fell asleep around 10PM.


My First Post

It’s my first post!