The Post Graduate research seminars are continuing in the Dearing Building at the University of Nottingham Jubilee Campus. These are students led, with a view to sharing PhD and MA expertees in Education. The next session is scheduled for Friday 26th October, 11-1pm in B37. This will be focussing on Poster Presentations from Education. We are inviting any students in Education to come to find out more about posters, or bring posters they themselves have presented. The focus will be very much on applied and practical advice and we have invited staff who have judged Graduate School competitions to give us their view on what makes a successful poster, and the nature of a poster competition from a judges perspective.
No booking neccessary. Tea and Coffe available. I’ll be talking about accessible posters and re-hanging "Mapping the experiences of disabled students who use Computer Mediated Communication in Higher Education" which recieved 1st prize at the Nordic Network on Disability Research conference. Download PDF Poster. Posters from the recent ALT-C and BERA conferences are confirmed and will also be discussed.
Due to an imminent change of name, I’m currently in the process of updating all my personal effects. Nottingham’s School of Education supplies basic business cards to all PhD students, however, in an effort to make myself as accessible as possible, I’ve begun pursuing a braille option to increase the accessiblity of my communications arsenal. People who read braille are in the minority amongst visually impaired people, so I will be exploring other avenues simultaneously (large print cards are an obvious first step). But if you’ve investigated braille and always thought it out of your price range – consider AZZABAT. The website is in the process of being updated – but in terms of supplying Braille Business Cards, their claim that they are “First for Accessible Products for the Blind and Visually Impaired” is not overstated!
AZZABAT supply transparent braille stickers that can be applied over a normal sized business card, or anything else. As with talking labels this gives them a lot of flexibility. This format allows one card to hold two sides of braille text (important considering the 30+ font size of standard braille, and the traditionally tiny format of the average credit-card sized business card). Prices are also remarkably low, at 20p per unit ($0.39) with no set up fee and no apparent minimum order (as of today’s date). Postage is extra, but reasonable. Amazing, considering that a straw poll average of alternative printer quotes start with a one-off set up fee of around £150.00 ($300.00), too much for many individuals.
I’ve ordered two sets of 50, one set covering my name and organisation, the second disclosing my email and phone details. This gives me not only braille business cards, but also stickers with braille contact details that can be applied to academic posters, or anything else, without concealing printed text.
I’ve been experimenting with Talking Labels. For the NNDR poster I used a label to supply a 60 second overview (linked to below) with the intention of summarising my poster for delegates with print impairments when I wasn’t present(ing). Listen here if you like:
The device was practical when I wasn’t there and, if I was already presenting, when print impaired people joined the group; delegates could then get an overview without relying on an assistant’s interpretation of the poster. Tips for use:
Initially I put the label at the top left, thinking this would be prominent, however positioning the device low on the poster meant it could be reached by all.
In the venue (a very large hall previously used for ship-building) the sound was not strong. As a result, I would recommend advertising it as a detachable device (use Velcro) that can be held to the ear.
The big issue is keeping the label prominent – I’m not sure I succeeded here. However, the response from those who did use the label was very positive.
In my search to add Audio files to my Poster Presentation(s) I’ve discovered Talking Labels. These are small recordable and re-recordable devices with 60 seconds playback. They measure approximately 3 inches by 2 inches and attach easily to most things. They can be used again and again and come in at a relative snip for £6.99 each (three for £19.99). I’m also pleased to say I ordered mine yesterday, and despite the ‘7-10 days delivery’ claim on the website, my order arrived this morning. I’m hoping to attach two to my poster for two purposes – firstly to illustrate some auditory elements of my data collection, for example the sound-effect exclamation marks make on some screen-reader software(s). Secondly, to act as a 60 second introduction/overview on the occasion that I’m not right there with my poster. Too gimmiky? I just hope they have enough volume!
I’m back from my Easter break and have begun work on my Poster Presentation for the NNDR conference next month. I’ve already been on Nottingham’s Graduate School course on the subject, but, I’m seeking some extra Va-Va-Voom. There are potentially three prizes at stake: The NNDR prizes supplied by studentlittertur in Sweden, and some healthy cash prizes for Nottingham Uni’s own Local and Regional poster competitions:
Getting Your Message Across – Presenting to the Public: Regional Poster Competition and Networking Event for PhD Researchers University of Nottingham Graduate School Poster Prize 2007: Thursday 10 May 07
Regional Final: Wednesday 11 July 07 1 st Place £1,000 Funding for entry and return flights for a European Conference 2 nd Place £600 Funding for a conference 3 rd Place £400 Cash prize 4 th Place £200 Cash prize
Unfortunately two out of three competitions appear to take place on the same day – I’m working on a way of entering both, but meanwhile… I’ve sought out some sage advice online. I’m particularly interested in making my poster as accessible as possible, without slipping into gimmickry. As such, I heartily recommend:
I will be presenting a poster entitled ‘Mapping the experiences of disabled students who use Computer-Mediated-Communication in Higher Education’ to the Nordic Network on Disability Research conference "Participation for all – the front line of disability research" (May 10 – 12, 2007) in Göteborg, Sweden. This poster is based on MA research completed last year. If you are interested in the topic and would like a copy of my research please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. I will post the poster file in accessible formats here, online, after the conference.
Mapping the experiences of disabled students who use Computer-Mediated-Communication in Higher Education.
Participation in UK Higher Education is increasing. Universities are embedding blended-learning across departments. Consequently the drivers for accessible e-learning tools and materials are paramount. However, the implied social dynamics of online text-based constructivist tools also need consideration.
Are forums, discussion groups, Listservs and other Computer-Mediated-Communication (CMC) tools transforming or perpetuating traditional (dis)ability difference?
This qualitative study is based on phenomenographic interviews with 3 Undergraduate and Postgraduate students who considered their own CMC experiences. Activity theory was used to guide contextual questioning.
Results indicate that disabled students experience CMC in ways different to those described by frameworks established according to perceived ‘norms’ of online behaviour and embodiment. For some, the notion of controlled or conscious disclosure facilitates Social Presence and cognitive engagement meaning a purely functional experience of CMC is routinely blurred with higher social usage. This has potentially beneficial educative outcomes. However, results also show that access barriers persist for all participants. Furthermore, CMC has the capacity to actively disable students with print-impairments, who withdraw from participation. In conclusion, CMC is both transforming and perpetuating disability.
Continued research must ensure that the assumptions of research based solely on the actions of enabled student groups are challenged by disabled experience.