Open Innovation Challenge

*This is my submission to the PSU Open Innovation Challenge. In the event it’s not accepted, I don’t want this text lost because of the implications for accessibility on the internet and our ability to transform it.

Accessibility; it’s not just a concept, it’s people. It’s people we make accommodations for; people we do testing for, and people we dedicate resources to in order to ensure they have their unique needs addressed in their educational journey. On campus, we make ramps, brail signage, bumped plates at crossings and other physical things that anyone can see and use, including those who rely on them.

Unfortunately, digital realms structure environments with asterisks. We accept that a website is optimized for accessibility based on highly specific browser versions and downloaded toolsets on the part of those in need. The Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework, suggests environments should be universally accessible to all without need for additional accommodation.

What if instead of requiring those in need of assistive technologies to have them, we included them natively in all of our experiences?

What if users didn’t need JAWS or Dragon Naturally Speaking and we provided those capabilities natively in our systems?

By leveraging specifications from the W3C found in the Web Speech API, we can have the browser talk to us. The specification also can be used to listen to and process our voice in real time. Using the two together we can make conversational systems with no plugins required that also work on mobile phones!
I currently have this working in our courses but want to utilize the expertise of TLT to produce a more generalized version that could be applied to all websites at the university with little effort! You can see an example of this working in our ELMSLN Learning environment below

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A response to `Of OER and Platforms: Five Years Later`

Original post: https://opencontent.org/blog/archives/4892

I didn’t want this to get lost in the comments section but I found this post by David Wiley spot on, especially in his dissection of the LMS in the comments. As long as the LMS is still a dumping ground of stuff as opposed to a link farm out to innovation, it will never be innovation.

My response down in the comments, cleaned up to be a stand alone post:

Hollowing out the LMS is the only road they have towards innovation; if one of those common launch points was an OER provider that could be at least slightly more useful but I agree that when faculty treat their course as more of a website (via Paul Hibbitts GravCMS approach — http://www.hibbittsdesign.org/blog/) it’s the way forward.

Dr. Chuck is working on Tsugi to app-ify the LMS and unbundle it as well, which could make OER proliferation more possible at the system level. In this model, Sakai and other systems are effectively hollowed out *by design* via LTI launches, content item launches, and the items pulled in (innovations) are small decoupled stand alone applications —  https://www.tsugi.org/

I also have my own methodology in the game that sees the LMS fragmented (architecturally) so that policy can be crafted in a way that allows open aspects of course (content) to be open while closed experiences (private student – teacher engagements) can happen securely along side. We are building a self-federated ecosystem meaning any new part of the system can talk to any other new part of the system once it shows up. So we’re always able to account for the NextBigThing (n+1 thinking) in education or build new things the market hasn’t conceived. https://www.elmsln.org/

All three of these approaches are signs of the Next Generation Digital Learning Environment (NGDLE) which is NOT a product but a mindset and a way of implementing education online, which I think will directly result in greater adoption (or at least production as Open first) of OER. When systems are unbundle, ownership and privacy can be unbundled as well, leading to more robust, reusable solutions.

Speaking of unbundling, make sure to checkout OERSchema which ELMSLN seeks to use as a way of allowing Markdown Files (pure, portable, open by default) from Github to be able to populate and flush out content, interactions and more in ELMSLN (or any system).