Posted by: MandyS | November 1, 2011

Activity 17.2 – Alternatives in context

My context is the Law Programme run jointly between the OU and the College of Law.

These are my answers to the questions posed by this activity:

What media or formats are the resources in?

  • Module manuals
  • Set reading from textbooks
  • Law reports available via online databases
  • OU VLE which provides online forums for discussion and/or  posting of materials
  • College of Law VLE which provides textbooks and past papers in electronic format, i-tutorials, podcasts
  • Tutorial materials are prepared by tutors e.g. Powerpoint, word documents which can be emailed or posted to a forum.

Which students would need an alternative?

  • Students with physical, visual and cognitive impairments may need the manuals, set textbooks, online databases and tutorial materials in alternative and accessible formats.
  • Students with hearing impairments will need alternative formats for the i-tutorials and podcast

Which alternatives would be an ideal solution, given unlimited human and technical resources?

  • Manuals can be comb-bound or provided in DAISY format
  • DAISY version of the set books
  • transcripts for podcasts
  • ‘window’ translators for the i-tutorials
  • Direct links to online law reports via VLE

Which alternatives are practical in the context of the learning outcomes?

  • Manuals are already available in comb-bound or DAISY format and available electronically via the College of Law VLE
  • Transcripts are made available for the i-tutorials and podcasts

I would imagine that this is because these are the most cost effective alternatives.

  • The set text is more difficult. I would imagine it can be made available in an electronic format but the cost of doing so may be prohibitive. The set texts do not need to be read cover-to-cover and are only used as a base for activities. As such, the material could be incorporated within the manual or provided on the College of Law VLE. The latter would be more practical and would benefit all students; the former is likely to make the manuals bulky and unmanageable.
  • Access to online law reports could be made available via direct links as opposed to online databases which can be difficult to navigate. Again this would benefit all students. The only problem I can envisage here is that a key skill is being able to find relevant information, although this could be incorporated into specific activities
  • For tutorial materials, this is somewhat dependent on the skills of the tutor. Those who are technically proficient could provide their material in a number of alternative formats e.g. electronic alternatives, podcasts of tutorials, Xtranormal with caption overlay for discussions etc. Those with more limited skills can use more basic alternatives e.g. large print, accessible Powerpoint

Are the resources readily available for your students at the time they need them?

  • Students work with OU disabled services for the provision of the manuals and text in alternative formats. I would imagine that whether they are readily available will depend on the timely provision of the DSA. The OU can loan equipment but this may not meet every student’s needs.
  • Electronic formats on the VLE are available at the start of the module.
  • Availability of the tutorial materials is down to individual tutors

Who in your organisation is responsible for providing alternative formats and any descriptions required?

  • OU disabled services and the College of Law in relation to the module material
  • Individual tutors in relation to the tutorial materials

Is anyone responsible for checking the quality of alternative format materials?

  • I would imagine that those provided by the OU and College of Law are subject to quality control
  • Tutorial materials are provided by the Module Team but these are as resources for the tutors to use as they see fit. Any adaptation will be the responsibility of the tutor but the material ultimately used does not need to be checked.

Are there any copyright issues?

  • I would imagine that this will relate mainly to the set textbook and how it is used, which in turn will impact on whether it could be incorporated into the manuals. This may be why this has not been done already. This is a useful site I have found in relation to copyright issues: http://www.publisherlookup.org.uk/whattoexpect.php
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