Hillcroft LRC

Posts Tagged ‘accessibility

Britannica AcademicThis week we’ve been adjusting the links to Britannica Academic on our LRC Eresources Moodle Book as it’s had a makeover.

The new look Britannica Academic lets you:

 

  • cross search over ImageQuest
  • read the latest articles added from the homepage
  • find the most recent changes to articles via the new history tab
  • get country information via an interactive map
  • compare country data
  • access primary source material from history, literature, the law, politics and science through the Original Sources option (this includes books, images and documents).

The new version comes with a new accessibility feature – + / – buttons for you to increase and decrease the font. And you can even switch the language on the page. Register with them and you can create your own research area to save searches and add notes. Watch the video to find out more:

 

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Post it note and pen with 'Is this accessible?' written on itJulia Taylor from Jisc gave an interesting talk on accessibility at the Academic and Research Libraries Group (ARLG) Members’ Day at the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) on 14 May.

Did you know that it’s possible to embed sound into Word documents? Or that you can make them more accessible by using style templates? Take a look at Jisc TechDis advice on making Word documents more accessible. If you’re using Word 2010 there are a number of help videos on YouTube.

We’re using 2013 here so we need to look up what can be done for our learners in the Office 2013 suite. Here’s a handy page on Accessibility Features in Office 2013 which advises you on how to make the ribbons easier to use and a checker to find out how accessible your documents are. Here’s one for Word 2013 too.

Back in March our team submitted three entries for the Council for Learning Resources in Colleges (CoLRiC) Best Practice Awards 2015. This year there were three categories:

  1. customer service
  2. information literacy
  3. reader development.

We put in entries into each category and this week we heard that we’d got second place in the Information Literacy category for Copyright and Plagiarism Using Wordwall which is part of our information skills induction for learners on longer courses. We we use Wordwall with students on handheld devices answering questions on copyright and referencing using the Harvard reference system. We use the Wordwall kit to boost students digital literacy and as a fun activity which lets them get personal feedback on how they’ve done. Here’s one of our activities on referencing a book:

 

Referencing a Book on Wordwall

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also got third prize in the Customer Service category for our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) Redesign and Dyslexia. For this project we worked with students, tutors and colleagues inside and outside our college to create a dyslexic-friendly look to our VLE, with a user-friendly course content template and accessibility plugins with read out loud and overlay features.

Here’s a view of the overlay accessibility feature in action:

Virtual Learning Environment with Green Overlay

 

 

 

 

 

Read CoLRiC’s press release to find out about other winners.  Many thanks to our students, staff and colleagues on working with us and inputting to our award wins.

 

My linoit board of tasks

My linoit board of tasks today

Hello all, I am Philippa and I joined the LRC team two weeks ago. I have just finished my Masters in Information and Library Studies so it’s wonderful to be able to see how everything I’ve learnt has real life applications. I have been busy learning the ropes and meeting everyone.

Here are some key online resources I have been becoming familiar with:

Dawsonera ebooks

Available through the MyAthens sign on page. This is great for accessing books 24/7 and you can’t lose them or spill coffee on them! We are keen to add more ebooks and get them used more by everyone. They can be a bit difficult to handle to start with, but it is possible to read online or you can download and/or print out useful segments (being respectful of copyright restrictions).

TIP: I found out for downloaded ebooks in Adobe Reader you can customise the colour settings of the paper background and text. This is under the options toolbar: Edit –> Preferences –> Accessibility then checking the box ‘Replace document colors’.

Referencing handbook

We held referencing induction sessions with the access courses. Getting all the right bits of bibliographic information in the right order can be frustrating but correct referencing is essential for academic integrity.

TIP: I write out the full reference when taking notes from a resource. The details don’t have to be in the right order straight away – although it helps. As long as you jot down the key fields like author, date and title then you can often revisit the resource by looking it up on the catalogue or on the internet later. The handbook produced by the University of Lincoln can help you when it comes to writing out the references in full. The handbook can be found on the VLE (under the blocks Library and Learning Resources –>  LRC Referencing and Plagiarism –> Text Assistance).

Linoit (memo board)

I was introduced to this virtual pinboard for memos and tasks (or anything you want!). I found it simple to post ‘stickies’ and to peel them off once they are done (in the right hand corner of the sticky).

TIP: I like changing the colour of the sticky memo and giving it a cute icon to make task management more appealing. You can read more about task management in Stella Cottrell’s book ‘Skills for Success’.

If you have any tips or good experiences using these resources please comment below or come and talk to me during the week. I would be delighted to hear from you either way!

Screen with VLELast week we launched our new design for our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) Moodle. Our designers at Overt created it using their Overt Quick Metro design.

The new look for the VLE was a collaboration between teaching and learning staff and students. Both the students and staff wanted a cleaner more modern feel that made it easy to navigate the site. Students wanted all the regular things they use to be easily accessible from one place.This includes their email, courses they are registered on, My Learning Space (MLS) their electronic Individual Learning Plan (eILP), BKSB and course feedback forms. These are now under the My Learning Room area.

We’ve incorporated a new accessibility toolbar as over 45% of our learners have a declared disability. The toolbar is a Moodle block which has readback features, allows them to change the font size, background colours and use overlays.

The LRC Manager has created a course template to make course creation easier and bring together essential course material that students wanted together eg aims and objectives, scheme of work, assessment and course handbook through consulting with colleagues Angela Rideau Elearning Coordinator from Barnet Southgate and Rod Kain LRC Manager at NewVic colleges via Kav Dev Senior Advisor at RSC London. She’s also created a guide to help students and staff understand the new design, get hints and tips on creating material eg sizing images to fit the new course grid blocks and a style guide.

This week the LRC team started revamping the LRC pages. It’s been a great chance to use the training we had from Dave Foord at A6 Training using Moodle Books and embedding videos.

 

Yellow WallpaperOur Access to Higher Education students are doing two pieces of American literature for their English module. They are reading Turn of the Screw and The Yellow Wall paper.

Project Gutenberg is a free source of ebooks available in different formats like ePub, html and Kindle which you can download and use on ereaders or use with adaptive technology like Natural Reader if you have for example dyslexia. There’s an audio version of the Henry James’s Turn of the Screw on there too. There’s another audio book version on YouTube broken down into parts. Here is Part I.They’ve also got the BBC version of the book adapted for television starring Downton Abbey’s Michelle Dockery.

Discover more about Henry James and test yourself on the Literature Network’s Henry James page. There’s also a Henry James page on the Literary Gothic website with useful links to other works, ebooks, information about the author and analyses. There’s critical analyses of Jame’s novella on SparkNotes: The Turn of the Screw and Shmoop. Take a look at historical literary critiques of the work on The Turn of the Screw website.

You’ll find an audiobook version of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper on YouTube as well as a PBS Masterpiece Theatre film divided into multiparts. Here is Part I and II. There’s an ebook version on Project Gutenberg.

All literature students need some critical analysis of what they read to look at the style, themes, characters and the plot. SparkNotes has the Yellow Wallpaper online as does Shmoop. Find out more about Charlotte Perkins Gilman and try out an online quiz on the Literature Network’s Charlotte Perkins Gilman page. There’s also more about her on the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard  University’s From Woman to Human: the Life and Works of Charlotte Perkins Gilman page.

In our Learning Resource Centre we’ve got copies of:

Wild Unrest: Charlotte Perkins Gilman and the making of “The yellow wallpaper” by Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz

Jame’s Turn of the Screw by Leonard Orr

Turn of the Screw directed by Tim Fywell


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