Weekend Gazette – Link Collection for June 13

Last updated: May 30, 2016

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We present to you a menu of tidbits collected in recent days that are too short for blog posts and sometimes too long for a tweet (when we want to add clarifying comments). Headings provide a light grouping to help you skim the offerings. Bon appétit!

The Old Folks

Aging is a suitable topic in technical communications because it involves all of us at some point. Don't expect aging to go away! There are always articles about helping today's older generation with technology or preparing for a future with an older generation who grew up with technology. Whether you call them senior citizens, the elderly, the old folks, or gray panthers, they are your audience at some level and at some point. Don't ignore them. Grandma might get nasty!

Academia, Education, and Online Learning

The IMS Global Learning Consortium is an excellent resource for those of you somewhere in academia. IMS GLC aims for "standards that enable the development and adoption of innovative technologies to improve and transform education worldwide." They held the Learning Impact 2010 conference in May, but I cannot find public slides or material from the conference. Go explore if it has aroused your curiosity.

What are the issues with online learning and accessibility? "Research and Practice in K-12 Online Learning: A Review of Open Access Literature" by Cathy S. Cavanaugh, Michael K. Barbour, and Tom Clark examines a report from the U.S. Department of Education and poses questions about "universal design of online learning environments and materials". You can download an excerpt from "What Works in K–12 Online Learning", edited by Cathy Cavanaugh and Robert Blomeyer (2.1 Mb .pdf).

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Tutorial is about more than accessibility or the notion of making environments accessible for learners with disabilities. It gets at the heart of design – whether it's design of a building, design of learning materials, design of a classroom environment, or design of a system. UDL is about the decisions we make in the design and development of learning systems, materials, and environments and whether those decisions unnecessarily constrain learners. From the National Center on Low-Incidence Disabilities, University of Northern Colorado. See also:

Tools That Change Lives

analogy of web accessibility being like a ramp. Web accessibility is a well built building from the foundation up." I agree with this and want to include those technical communicators who are not in software
@ezufelt once wrote, "I don't like the- accessibility is part of the foundation whether you are working with software or hardware. Some people seem to find this concept hard to digest. Stories that tell how accessible products have a positive effect in someone's life could be the tipping point. I've collected some links that tell stories – life-changing stories, in fact.

Use these stories as inspiration for involving people with disabilities in any kind of usability testing you are doing – or should be doing. No matter how clever you are, you will not be able to think up all possible scenarios on your own. Remember, users can always provide a new and surprising angle. If people with disabilities are involved as developers or designers of products, wow! Think of the potential for inclusion in that scenario!

The Last Word

I have a dream that one day we will not be judged by our abilities / bodies but by the content of our character. – @wendyabc

Link Contributors

This post was glued together with links or inspiration from many people. They are listed with their Twitter names.

@anikto
@atmacjournal
@DaveBanesAccess
@dboudreau
@IBMAccess
@jebswebs
@Jennison
@joemsie
@kellylford
@maccymacx
@mpaciello