Session 4: Coursesite Design and Maintainance

 ADA Assignments
Use what you learned from the presentation, the information in the text and other sources to answer the following:

  1. What are three types of disabilities that students in a course you create might have? Explain the accommodations that you would need to provide for each.
  • Vision Impaired (Colored Blindness or no vision)
    • No flashy colors (example- bright pink letters on bright blue background)
    • Definitely no green and blue combinations
    • Use high contrast colors (example-black text on white background; white text on black background)
    • Colors should not convey meaning
    • Easy to read fonts
    • Screen readers that can read text to students
    • Text versions should be available
  • Hearing Impaired (Little or no Hearing)
    • Include captions with audio/visual presentations
    • Provide text transcripts of lectures or guest speaker presentations
  • Mobility Disabilities (inability to use hands, slow muscular movements)
    • Voice activated mouse
    • Voice activated software
    • Alternative keyboard
    • Keyboard control instead of mouse
    • Simple navigation on LMS or website (3 or less clicks/keystrokes to a destination)
  1. According to the text, what is the percentage of the population that has a visual, auditory or physical limitation? How does that compare to other sources for this information. (Please list at least one other source you found.)

The text states that one in five individuals has a vision, hearing, or physical limitation. 29% of families in the US have at least one family member with a disability. 7.2% of students entering higher education have visual, hearing, cognitive, or motor impairment.

In the district I work in, Riverside Unified School District, there are over 4,900 students who receive special education services. Among those students are those with vision, hearing, or physical impairments.
According to our lead teacher of the severely handicapped students at our elementary school campus, there are 10 severely handicapped students, 20 non-severe special day class students, an estimated 34 resource students, and an estimated 70 speech impaired students.

  1. Identify three factors other than the actual disabilities that exist in your student population that influence how an institution or a course creator is required to address ADA in an online course.

There are various other factors that influence how an online course designer could address ADA. Among these factors are Designated English Language Learners. These students need appropriate scaffolding in vocabulary and grammar as designated to their phase level. Level of self-confidence is also a factor that is not an actual disability. At our school-site, there was a Gallop Poll administered in order to gain insight on student motivation, stress level, self-esteem, and self-confidence in academics. It was found that a large percentage of our students are living in stress and do not have academic self-confidence. A course creator should use that knowledge when designing an online course in order to seek appropriate and effective motivation and engagement methods for students. Academic skills should also be considered when designing an online course. Some students may or may not have the time management skills, study skills, or study habits necessary to be successful in an online course, therefore a course designer should determine how to design the course material, either into modules or topics.

  1. According to the text, what is “assistive technology”? Give some examples.

Assistive technology “is a term used to describe hardware devices and/or related software intended to help individuals with disabilities overcome problems they may encounter when attempting to view web pages” (p.175). Microsoft offers an array of assistive technologies. Among the input devices Microsoft offers are alternative keyboards, electronic pointing devices which allows the user to control the curser without using a mouse, sip-and-puff systems which uses inhaling and exhaling, joy sticks, and track balls. Microsoft also offers Braille Embossers and reading tools.

  1. Identify and explain two different ways to check a webpage to ensure that it meets the needs of disabled students.
    One way to evaluate course site usability would be to use a team of student evaluators in combination with another colleague or team of experts to cross check evaluations. There are also websites that are available to help gain insight on whether or not your website is usable by those with disabilities. Among those sites are WebAIM: and Accesibility Valet: Usability Geeks gives a more extensive list of ADA checking websites:
  2. Identify two types of presentations used in online courses (for example, podcasts, PowerPoints, Videos, Slide Shows, etc.) and that you might use and explain how you can ensure that each is ADA compliant. Discuss the relative cost or difficulty of producing the accommodation.

Podcast: I would use a podcast to give background on a topic as well as assignment procedures. In order to make that podcast ADA compliant for the hearing impaired, I would also provide a written transcript of my podcast. It would not be costly because I would type my podcast script prior to recording it with free voice recording software available through Google Play. I found the following website very helpful:

Slide Shows: I would use a Slide Show to communicate instructional material. In order to make it ADA compliant, I would use high contrasting, white text on black background. I would use minimal images and those used would be simplistic. I would also narrate the Slide Show using the free Google App, Screencastify for the vision impaired. I would have to practice a lot with this because I have never created a narrated slideshow.

  1. Develop a course usability checklist that is appropriate for your anticipated needs. Use the example provided in the text as a starting point and explain your modifications.
    Although I have mentioned using Google Classroom as a LMS, I would like to experiment with Google Sites in order to build a course website for my present or future sixth graders.

Coursesite Usability Checklist:

Architecture/Navigation Yes No Comments
Easy to navigate? Tabs are well labeled with text
Announcements easy to view? Arranged sequentially by most current to past announcements.
Easy to find what you want? 3 clicks or less
Easy to return to start? Return or home button
Consistent coursesite design?
Accessing Coursesite Materials Yes No Comments
Files download quickly?      
Effective web design?      
Documents print OK?      
Easy to find how to get help?      
Coursesite Recourses Yes No Comments
Collaboration features easy to use?      
Calendar is accessible?      
Tutorials are available and easy to use?      
Grade book is available?      
Online testing is available?      
  1. Choose an online course and use your checklist to generate a report on the usability of that course. Your report should include bullet points of things that you recommend be done to improve the usability of specific elements of the course.

I will be using the following checklist to test the usability of EDUC 603

Architecture/Navigation Yes No Comments
Easy to navigate? Tabs are well labeled with text X LMS: Blackboard

Uses the traditional tabs: course documents; course materials; grade book; etc.

Announcements easy to view? Arranged sequentially by most current to past announcements. X When announcements are posted they are in the announcement section of the LMS.
Easy to find what you want? 3 clicks or less X Some materials may be in course documents or course materials so there is a lot of guess and checking.
Easy to return to start? Return or home button X
Consistent coursesite design? X
Accessing Coursesite Materials Yes No Comments
Files download quickly? X   Professor uses Word Documents that are easy to download and open.
Effective web design? X Consistent with BB design.
Documents print OK? X
Easy to find how to get help? X Professor contact information is available.
Coursesite Resources Yes No Comments
Collaboration features easy to use? X Wikis and chat with collaborative group are available
Calendar is accessible? X Syllabus has a list of assignments and due dates
Tutorials are available and easy to use? X None available
Grade book is available? X Not updated regularly
Online testing is available? X One final exam with multiple choice questions

Report/Suggestions based on checklist and memory of my course experience:

  • Arrange all necessary course materials by topic or module.
  • Provide instructions/tutorial on how wikis and chats should be used throughout the coursework so students do not need to go to other sources for collaboration.
  • Utilize and update the Grade book regularly and provide feedback/comments.

About Margarita

This is my second year as a graduate student at CSUSB. I have taught in the Riverside Unified School District for eleven years. The Instructional Technology program has been extremely beneficial to my professional development as it has helped me use innovative ways in providing instruction an support to my sixth graders.
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6 Responses to Session 4: Coursesite Design and Maintainance

  1. Hi Margarita,

    At the end of your site assessment, you suggested arranging all course materials by topic or module. Is that because you found that the materials were in disorganized, or was it for another reason? I ask because I had a few undergrad classes that were like Easter Egg hunts, which was very frustrating. I had to read every part, of every page, in order to gather all scattered pieces of the information I needed to complete any assignment, because everything was so fragmented and disconnected. I just wondered if anyone else had a similar experience–a horrible time-waster.

    The two community college districts in which I teach both use Blackboard for delivery of their online courses, just like CSUSB does. It is a very mature product that get regular upgrades. It is not surprising that your usability checklist for your EDUC-603 course passed most of your metrics for accessibility.

    Wow, sixth graders–isn’t that a tough, yet awkward audience, with so many opposing pressures on them? More power to you!

    Your second year in grad school-eh? Are you getting close to comps?

    Thank you for your postings. They are always interesting to read.
    Best wishes,


  2. Margarita says:

    Hi Glen,
    Oh my goodness, your description of the Easter Egg Hunt was spot on! That course was extremely frustrating because it was more tedious to find the necessary materials than it was to complete the assignments. The course used a textbook, which I really valued, but we read chapters out of order. I think for a ten week online course, it is helpful to the students to have our modules broken up into weekly modules or sessions, with a list of assigned readings and some sort of task check list for each session. I forgot to mention that there were collaboration tools, however we didn’t really collaborate as we do in these ETEC courses through discussion board or blog. We had an assigned group that worked together on a final project. I also forgot to mention that this was the Communications course! Even more ironic, huh?

    I made the big jump from teaching kindergarten to sixth grade three years ago and I have enjoyed it. The students are in a pretty awkward stage, but they are really still babies. They still need so much direction, repetition, structure, and scaffolding. It’s never a dull moment!

    You mentioned the comps. Yes, I am taking my comp exam next weekend (2/14). I don’t know how prepared I am, but I’m jumping right in! Please send me the good vibes!


  3. edtechy says:

    I appreciated that you included data from your school to reinforce the ADA needs in your location. I also found it interesting how you included stress as a condition that increases the need for accommodation and consideration. .


  4. Margarita says:

    Thank you, Dr. Newberry. After reading some of the other posts, I realized I could have mentioned other factors such as preventing law suites, ADA laws, and the practice of good teaching.


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