Virtual On line
June 22, 2020
June 22, 2020
June 26, 2021
The use of course management systems have resulted in a growing trend among faculty to provide students with course materials to augment lectures. This can include lecture notes, example problems or supplementary reading. In engineering courses, instructor-provided notes are often handwritten -- even in online courses. There is an assumption that handwritten notes are preferred by students and have a pedagogical benefit over typed notes.
Access to course materials for students with disabilities is also improving due to advancements in both technology and awareness. Students with disabilities often receive custom accommodation plans for course work when the original class format does not adequately support their learning. In courses that do not provide access to notes for all students, one key accommodation that students can request is access to course notes. Whether provided to all students or through an accommodation, the format of course notes often makes it difficult for students to access content using assistive technology. Current read-aloud and screen reader technologies can turn typed notes into spoken word; however, they are not able to interface with math or handwritten mediums. This limitation creates a major challenge for students with visual or reading disabilities who are pursuing degrees in mathematics and engineering fields.
The purpose of this paper is to examine the pedagogical effects of note formatting and to understand how this may impact the first steps of adapting a course to a more accessible format. Data is presented from an intervention in a mechanical engineering analysis course that examined the effects of note formatting (typed or handwritten) on students learning, as well as student preferences about the provided note styles. It was determined that note format did not influence student performance on quizzes. A discussion follows to guide the design and development for an inclusive, accessible course.
Pollack, E. R., & Recktenwald, G., & Grimm, M. J. (2020, June), Effects of Note Formatting on Student Learning: Implications for Accessibility and Diverse Minds Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34509
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