All session descriptions are up!

Neon Vancouver | Ugly Vancouver

The complete list of 2011 showcase presentation descriptions are up on the Session Descriptions page .  Stay tuned for the schedule.

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Session descriptions: Accessibility

We only have 2 presentations in this category, but they are going stretch our thinking about instructional design and accessibility.

Category Accessibility

Accessibility in Online Learning, Chad Leaman, Neil Squire Society

There is no perfect “accessible” website – even Google, who’s mission is to make the world’s information universally accessible, continues to struggle in making user environments that are accessible to all users.

At the Neil Squire Society, we utilize a variety of e-Learning delivery models to provide computer skills, career development, and health and wellness courses online to a variety of Canadians with a variety of disabilities.  Accepting that there is no “one-size fits all” for the needs of all learners, nor for all disability use cases, we have found two major themes in accommodating a variety of learners: universal design and open source / open APIs.

In the showcase, a variety of free, open tools and simple programming techniques will be shown in practice.  The focus will be on simple things you can immediately do to make your learning environments more inclusive and accessible to all learners.

Moodle for the Visually Impaired, VCC

One never know what someone else sees, or hears, until they put themselves into the other person’s shoes. We had heard in a couple of occasions that the Visually impaired (VI) program was having some challenges with Moodle, but didn’t really understand what that could be all about.  The project was assigned to the new DLSupport person. She took this task very seriously, with a pair of earphones, and working through the material like a Visually Impaired person, she worked on the course for 1 month. She consulted with the department every step of the way.  Some of the most important changes were:

*       Removed blocks that were unnecessary or inaccessible

*       Consolidated information (week 0 and week 1)

*       Changed links and labels so everything starts with a number to correspond to the week

*       Removed formatting in the content to read more smoothly in a screen reader

*       Organized content to view in pop-up windows so it is easier for visual impaired navigation.

We also considered some best practices in this process:

*       Simplicity is best

*       Taking into account screen reading capability when designing text and content

Currently the course is a good model and template for other accessible courses and future development. We know that if we develop Moodle courses with these guidelines in mind, they will be accessible and wont need a complete overhaul of the existing courses.

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Session Descriptions: Mobile

We were pleased to see some good entries for the Mobile category, which will most likely kick off the day.  Here are the three presentation descriptions for Mobile.

Tablets in the Fire Service, Jerome Rodriguez, JIBC

Tablets have been historically viewed as toys or fancy cell phones by first response agencies. This presentation will showcase how tablets and applications are being used in the fire service not only to teach and train, but also to save lives, enhance fire ground and inspection capabilities, track equipment and monitor supply levels, training records, incident reports, and team member availability.

In a recent course development project, JIBC course designers took key features out of the course, made them freely available /publicly downloadable outside of the LMS as standalone tools via a digital object repository.  A year later, we will explore how the portal has assisted learners, practitioners and organizations and how the use and development of mobile tools can sustain learning, enhance professional development and support public service through operational usage.

Anytime, Anywhere: Mobile Companion for Face-to-Face Course, Paul Hibbitts, SFU

What would be the challenges in creating a mobile-friendly course companion website using an “off the shelf” Content Management System? For the Fall term of CMPT-363 User Interface Design, user experience consultant and instructor Paul Hibbitts wanted to explore how to best provide his students mobile access to an extensive collection of learning resources that were tightly coupled with his face-to-face classes.

Paul pursued a “Mobile First” strategy, creating initial designs for viewing the website on mobile devices but with the same content base and tools that would be available when viewed on a desktop browser. He also evaluated a variety of Content Management Systems (CMS), choosing WordPress along with the Headway Framework to help streamline the design and development of the desktop presentation of the website. The WordPress Plugin WPtouch Pro, along with various customizations, were an essential component to enhance mobile viewing of the course website content. For further details, explore the Mobile Companion case study at

In this presentation, Paul will share some of the key lessons he learned along the way, ranging from his viewpoint on numerous user experience design challenges to specific feedback he received from his students.

Mobile Moodle, Jason  Shaw, VCH

System: Moodle New Physician Orientation.

The course was developed from day 1 to be accessible via a mobile device. This includes  tabs that open up side blocks, online quizzes, and all of the Moodle activities/resources. The aspects of this can be easily implemented on other Moodle sites. None of the customizations will make the instance of Moodle upgradeable.

  • Course format, Interface is based off an iPhone interface. With custom icons based off tradition Moodle activities/resources.
  • Moodle Theme, The interface changes when the screen becomes compact, for example ipad, iphone, or BB.
  • Moodle Media Filter, Video is inserted in a HTML5 manner, but a filter actually swaps out that code and determines the player based on device.
  • mp4 video that plays on any device.
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Submissions closed and selections made


We got a lot of good submissions this year and will have some good variety in this year’s program.  We are getting close to finalizing the schedule and will have the session descriptions up by tomorrow-ish.  Registrations are a bit ahead of last year, so turnout should be good too.  So far only 6 people have signed up for the webcast, so if you are thinking of tuning in via webcast, please register so we can track interest and send you the link.

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Preliminary Schedule

Proposal submissions close on Nov 15, but this how we are planning on blocking out the day based on what we know about topics being submitted **nb. this could change**:

845-915:  meet and coffee in Atrium

915-930: settle in Theatre, intro words

930-950: mobile 1

955-1020: mobile 2

1020-1045: mobile 3

1045-1055: bio break

1055-1115:panel discussion


1115-1140:  accessibility

1140-1205:  accessibility 2

1205-1230:  panel discussion

1230-100: lunch in Atrium

1-125:  general online course 1

125-150:  general course 2

150-215: general course 3

215-240: general course 4

240-300: panel discussion

300-315: summary and wrap up

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Present at a distance!

Because we’ll be web casting this year’s online showcase event, we are also inviting proposals for presentations for those of you who can’t physically be here in the New West theatre on Nov 30.

Instead of presenting in person, you will need to do a 10 minute screencast presentation (eg. you walking us through your online course and telling us why it’s so good) and get it to us.  We will play it at the event, and bring you in via Skype, Facetime or some other means to have you participate in the question period and/or panel.

If you want to present this way, fill out the very short proposal form at this link and submit it by November 15.

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Online showcase will be web streamed

Sonic Neon Sign

photo by KB35

The online course showcase is a f2f event, but we’ll be able to web stream it this year, thanks to the JI’s fabulous Tech Services department.  This will be our first stab at it, so keep in mind that some portions of the day might not be captured, and there might be some unknowns.  So with this disclaimer, we ask that you still register for the event, but check the “attend in person” or “attend via web streaming” boxes on the registration form, so we can track participation via web.  If you are local, we really hope you’ll attend in person, since we serve a fabulous lunch and it’s a great way to meet other colleagues.  And please do the poll on the right of this screen to help us plan the event.

If you aren’t local, and want to be a remote presenter, we’re working on that too.  Details will follow, so stay tuned.

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