About the project
Digital learning content creates various opportunities and is perceived as helpful by students with individual needs. However, digitization can also create new barriers which need to be avoided. It must be ensured that all students have an equal opportunity to participate in digital teaching, as required by the German Higher Education Act.
The goal of SHUFFLE is to systematically improve the current situation regarding digital accessibility at German higher education institutions. During this process, both students and instructors are involved in the analysis and implementation of measures which are based on universal design of learning WPproach (UDL) and are set to improve digital accessibility. In correspondence with the principles of UDL, accessible learning materials and environments benefit not only students with individual needs, but all students.
In order to ensure a sustainable and long-term benefit, the results of the project are summarized in a maturity model. With the help of this model, other higher education institutions are enabled to measure, evaluate and systematically improve their digital accessibility. Additionally, several pilot institutions will be chosen to adopt the developed measures in order to evaluate and improve the projects’ measures during its lifetime.
All project results will be made available to the public free of charge, and the entire source code will be published as open source.
SHUFFLE is divided into three project phases with twelve different work packages (WP). The development of the maturity model connects all phases.
... builds the foundation for a student and teacher-centered project process. All project partners work together during this phase.
Needs Assessment and Maturity Model
Work package 1 turns to the analysis of the actual state of digital accessibility at the project partners’ institutions, focusing on the perspective of students and instructors. A quantitative and qualitative assessment of the individual needs of the students, as well as the prior experiences, knowledge and training needs of instructors is being conducted. The results lay the groundwork for further actions in the following work packages. Furthermore, the SHUFFLE maturity model, which is based on the accessibility maturity model, is developed in this work package. Subsequently, the maturity model is evaluated and refined throughout the project.
... deals with various aspects of the expansion of digital accessibility. The work packages are dealt with according to the expertise of the project partners. Most work packages are done cooperatively.
Digitization Strategy and Curricula
In order to sustain digital accessibility, it is necessary to consistently anchor the principles and conditions of digital accessibility in organizational development regarding technological, social and content related aspects. The work package develops implementation strategies to systematically strengthen digital accessibility with the help of students with individual needs and the involvement of quality development bodies. Thereby, the focus resides on digitization strategies, curricula, study and examination regulations.
Supporting Instructors in Creating Accessible Learning Materials
Corresponding to Universal Design of Learning, work package 3 deals with the accessibility of content and methods in digital teaching. After all, this is a prerequisite for the successful learning of all learners. To ensure accessible learning, different multimodal forms of presentation of the material as well as diverse opportunities to engage with the learning content are required. The goal of WP3 is to provide instructors with sustainable support in the creation of accessible learning materials.
Live Subtitles and Translation of Lectures
IWork package 4 concentrates on supporting students with hearing impairments. In higher education settings, including lectures, talks or conferences, students with hearing impairment rely on personal assistance such as sign language interpreters or technical solutions like recording equipment. However, since it is possible from a technical viewpoint to automatically recognize speech and translate it into written subtitles, work package 4 tries to integrate this into the open source video platform BigBlueButton. This will not only benefit students with hearing impairments, but all students in need of live subtitling and live translation.
Multimodal Learning Scripts
In terms of differentiated accessibility of learning content, multimodal learning scripts offer a new variety of didactic possibilities to design learning content, since they are interconnected via different formats. Multimodal learning scripts consist of a lecture or seminar recording, PowerPoint slides of a lecture, a transcript, subtitles in German and English as well as an optional translation into German sign language or similar. Multimodal learning scripts allow students to study in their own time and are time efficient for lecturers who want to provide accessible material.
‘Blind Date’ – Digital Platform with Virtual Students with Individual Needs
In order for digital accessibility in teaching to be implemented sustainably, instructors must have a fundamental awareness of the concerns of students with individual needs. Against this background, a digital platform is being developed in work package 6 that identifies typical barriers through virtual encounters with students ("personas") and sensitizes university staff to the individual concerns of students. Likewise, information and materials about digital accessibility are integrated on the platform. A central concern is that the platform is developed with students with individual needs as experts.
Qualification programs and certification for instructors and students
As a further measure for sustainable barrier-free digital teaching and learning, competences in inclusion-oriented higher education didactics must be promoted. So in work package 7, training courses for instructors, staff and students will be designed and carried out. The goal is to strengthen and refine the knowledge and competences on digital accessibility of everyone involved in higher education learning. The training courses are to be linked to a certificate program.
Moodle – Accessible Learning Platform and Electronic Exams
As a learning platform, Moodle forms the basis for digital teaching and learning. Everything from learning modules and learning spaces to materials, wikis, chats, forums and electronic exams can be provided through Moodle, which is used by instructors and students alike. Work package 8 aims to ensure that students with individual needs can also use the learning platform without a loss in functionality.
ILIAS – Accessible Learning Platform and Electronic Exams
Similarly, to Moodle, ILIAS is another learning platform. Parallel to work package 8, ILIAS is analyzed and improved in regard to its accessibility. The overall goal of the work package is that all students with individual needs can use the learning platform.
... serves to sustain the implementation of the project results.
Sustainability -Transfer and Scaling
Work package 10 deals with the sustainability, transfer and scaling of the developed measures which contribute to digital accessibility. The established maturity model serves as a basis for other higher education institutions to measure and improve their level of accessibility.
...these work packages work independently and universally to the phase of the project
Ethics and Privacy by Design
When many groups are involved, negotiation is needed. Where technology is used, undesirable consequences must be prevented. For this reason, work package 11 also takes a look at ethics in the area of digital accessibility. Ethical and data protection screenings and monitoring of all work steps are carried out according to the "Ethics By Design" approach. One overarching goal is to raise awareness of ethically implicit aspects of accessibility and to develop an ethical stance on technological issues.
As SHUFFLE is a joint project, work package 12 serves as the project management, so that all results of the leading university (HdM) and the project partners are communicated to everyone involved in the project as well as to the external world.