DOE Federal Government Grant Proposal
Criteria for Learning Resources Used by People with Disabilities
Project Purpose. To develop and promote open access specifications and support the execution models that assist people with disabilities seeking access to learning resources. Department of Education. Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education FIPSE.
Our partnership seeks to create develop and support open access specifications and execute models which people with disabilities will have access to distributed learning. The specifications will involve the entire community of payers and providers of learning resources. Project activities are designed to impact learning environments and demonstrate impact on accessibility for the disabled.
The partnership created among nonprofits corporations schools colleges universities social service agencies hospitals and technologists involves four year initiative focused on distributed learning. The collaborative worked to develop promote and evaluate open access specifications and encourage the execution of models which enabled people with disabilities to access distributed learning resources. The entire community is affected by this work and project activities are focused on demonstrating results with the online learning resources available at multiple locations around the community. The Non Profit Foundation JZZ Learning Corporation IBM Microsoft Blackboard.com the Library of Congress and others will lead the project.
Guided is also being given by industry partners focused on providing learning solutions for the disabled. The Educational Testing Service ETS will serve ad an advisor along with Pearson Learning Solutions Sun Microsystems Oracle and Virtual University. Plans are for the solutions developed to serve the online learning industry especially technologists developers curriculum developers and platform designers. Solutions are aimed at providing benefit to the nation’s million disabled persons.
The Non Profit Foundation and its partners project four year integrated initiative which involves major stakeholders from every facet of the distributed learning. This Partnership will develop and promote open access specifications and support execution models which enable people with disabilities to access distributed learning resources. Provisions will involve and serve the entire community of public and private companies organizations and individuals developing learning resources.
Project activities and their outcomes are expected to impact the accessibility of online resources in every conceivable learning environment. Including Pre 12 vocational and post secondary education the government the military nonprofit social services in faculty development and workplace training. The Public Broadcasting Foundation’s Center for Accessible Media NCAM and the JZZ Learning Consortium will co lead the Project. Committed industry partners include Blackboard Inc.
Educational Testing Service ETS Pearson Education Sun Microsystems PeopleSoft Saba Software and the Virtual University. Advisors include the leadership of membership organizations in education and disability. Disabled end users will contribute to identification of barriers and evaluation of proposed solutions. Fabricated solutions will serve the online learning industry technology developers content providers and platform providers and the ninety percent of the nation's postsecondary institutions which enroll students with disabilities.
Solutions will benefit the nation's estimated million deaf or hard of hearing people million blind or visually impaired people and the people with motor impairments.
Project Partners and letters of commitment are found in the Appendix. Partners include.
- Blackboard Inc.
- Educational Testing Service ETS
- Pearson Education Sun Microsystems
- Oracle Saba Software
- Educational Testing Service ETS
The Public Television Educational Foundation pioneered captioning and video description on television and on the Web and is founding member of the Web Accessibility Initiative WAI of the World Wide Web Consortium W3C. It has directed and participated in standards setting activities related to built in television closed caption decoders delivering captions and video descriptions through digital broadcasting multimedia delivery of captions for the Web and CD ROMs and Website navigation for users with disabilities. Our staff has served on the Texas Education Agency's Task Force on Electronic Textbook Accessibility the NY State Task Force on Post Secondary Education and Students with Disabilities the American Foundation for the Blind's Textbooks and Instructional Materials Solutions Forum and the Federal Access Board's Electronic and Information Technology Access Advisory Committee.
The JZZ Global Learning Consortium is world wide coalition supported by members representing all stakeholder constituencies in the distributed learning industry. More than companies education and training concerns are members of the Developers Network. Over organizations including colleges and universities the Department of Defense the Department of Labor and companies such as Pearson Education Microsoft Sun Microsystems Apple IBM Blackboard Saba PeopleSoft WebCT and Eduprise are Contributing Members.
IMS' mission is to facilitate the delivery of internet based distributed learning technology to all users and all use environments world wide.
Advantages for learners and professionals with disabilities. This Project will have pervasive impact on access by people with disabilities in every conceivable learning environment 12 vocational and post secondary education the government and the military and in faculty development and workplace training.
The development of Partnership Working Group on Access will impact the accessibility of online resources nationally and world wide by actively engaging leading companies involved in product development institutions implementing distributed learning environments and international standards organizations
Advantages for all learners. This Project will enrich the overall learning experience by proliferating presentation methods and the exploitation of alternative devices which correspond to students' various learning styles. All learners will benefit from this initiative whether they are physically disabled learning disabled or simply prefer reading text which accompanies audio employing speech output or utilizing hands free access. There is general agreement among educators that offering multiple methods of presentation and multiple avenues for exploration of concepts offers the best solution for all learners.
Impact on institutions publishers and Web developers using partners' content and technology. The commitment of project partners to develop and implement solutions which serve students with disabilities will set standard of performance within the online education industry. Thousands of instructors administrators institutions and publishers currently using Project partners' technology platforms will benefit from specifications and resources that enable alternate access methods. The commitment from project partners major platform providers technology developers educational publishers and assessment services to implementing access specifications will contribute to the accessibility of electronic content in every educational arena.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics NCES 54% percent of higher education institutions offered distance learning courses. NCES also reports steady rise in the number of students with disabilities entering post secondary education. Seventy nine percent of the nation's postsecondary institutions reported enrolling students with disabilities. Once students with disabilities do obtain degree the NCES analysis suggests that they experience employment and professional outcomes similar to those of students without disabilities.
Equal percentages of college graduates with and without disabilities were employed either full or part time were compensated at similar rates of pay and were likely to enroll in graduate school. However postsecondary students with disabilities are less likely to obtain degree than their nondisabled peers. Many factors contribute to this lower enrollment and higher attrition but clearly easy and equal access to online learning environments can help level the playing field by removing barriers to resources.
Increasingly all students in class utilize institution wide learning platforms and Web based resources that enable both distance learning and online educational support. Half of all college students own personal computers making on campus online education as pervasive as distance learning. Teachers post resources which include Web page addresses PDF documents or streaming media presentations; they conduct online classes and tutorials and many offer virtual office hours via mail.
Educational publishers provide online resources to supplement and in some cases to replace classroom texts. Yet most of the learning platforms and almost all of the content used by these institutions present serious and pervasive barriers for students with sensory disabilities. The picture is equally grim for instructors and administrators.
The Non Profit Foundation has long and successful history of developing and proliferating technologies and standards which address the needs of industry while serving the interests of people with disabilities. However resolution of technical barriers and development of recommended practices is only half the battle. Integration and implementation of the specifications and solutions into the budgets practices and products of developers is an ongoing and serious challenge. His Project encompasses the key components needed to effect major change including detailing industry specifications technical solutions evaluated by end users and industry implementations all of which will occur in highly visible forum.
Partnership Workgroups will co lead the four year partnership each providing complementary expertise resources and spheres of influence. Partnership staff will provide technical expertise defining requirements and establishing quality standards. We will provide support resources and expertise to industry partners and others as they implement and expand current access technologies.
The Partnership will also freely disseminate innovative solutions developed within its own labs and elsewhere and support the development and trials of emerging technologies. JZZ staff will provide leadership for specification development and delivery and will dedicate staff resources to develop and include access specifications in the standards work that is underway both nationally and world wide. IMS will infuse access considerations into the national dialogue on technology and education and provide venues to support training and dissemination.
JZZ will also employ accessibility and alternative use requirements as harmonizing mechanism to integrate its existing specifications.
Project partners will participate in three overlapping 18 month long cycles to design build evaluate and deliver accessibility specifications and will test and develop products and services incorporating those specifications. Project partners will also provide opportunities to present the work to their colleagues developers client institutions and content providers. Maintaining Commitment to Execute.
Project partners have committed to developing accessibility specifications and once refined facilitate implementing them in products and services. The IMS process is deliberately focused on producing just enough specification to enable early implementation and use of products and services. As rough consensus concerning the boundaries and coverage of access specifications emerge early adopters will test and deliver accessible products and services. Practical feedback from industry and testing with end users and system administrators will inform the refinement and extension of the specification its implementations and effective ways of using those implementations.
This process of iterative refinement and evolution will continue until there is sufficient general consensus to warrant formal adoption and strict enforcement of compliance. The Advisory Team see Appendix will play critical role representing external constituencies affected by the specification and will provide the special expertise necessary to produce high quality result. They will contribute to research and assessment encourage widespread review of specifications attend and present at project workshops and seminars and critically evaluate solutions as appropriate to their areas of expertise. Project deliverables include.
Successively improving versions of Access Specifications and technical documentation including best practices annual access seminars documentation of access solutions and implementations white papers research reports iterative and final end user evaluations and final report.
Description of Project Activities to Realize Goals. This following section provides detail on each of the project activities charted on the timeline. Introductory Workshop.
The project will begin with an orientation workshop for project staff the JZZ Technical Board and industry partners. Partnership staff will be joined by selected members of the Advisors Team and by the Project Consultant Dr. Joel Grey of Project EASI in presenting the key access issues faced by people with disabilities. Research and Assessment of Technology.
Non Profit Foundation partnership staff will collect information from advisors access organizations and researchers assemble relevant documents and work with JZZ staff and current Working Groups to define initial access requirements for educational governmental commercial and general business applications. Members of both staff organizations will also solicit information and input from the distributed learning community at large through surveys and electronic forums. Research will focus on access technologies and learning technologies and will encompass both current and emerging applications.
The initial research will inform the activities of the Project's first year but throughout the life of the project ongoing research and assessment activities will inform seminars and presentations and will result in white papers summary reports and other products to disseminate. Establish Project as National Forum for Discussion of Access Issues. All Project partners are committed to establishing an international footprint with this initiative. Project staff will work with industry partners international partners and advisors to identify educational technology and policy arenas in which to focus attention on the issues build support for solutions and create community of informed and influential advocates for access.
Quarterly Management Evaluations by Partnership staff will monitor overall Project progress and provide management oversight. For all projects JZZ employs management monitoring team which consists of Director of Educational Research Business Manager and Manager of Project Development who meet each quarter with the Project Director to evaluate and discuss the progress which may result in adjustments to project activities timelines and budget items as well as clarified strategies to reach desired outcomes. Bi annual Technical Evaluations by the JZZ Technical Board will focus on the status of the scope of work and progress of the Working Group towards specifications and implementation.
JZZ Technical Board members see Appendix also provide technical evaluations of specifications and the surnmary evaluation of outcomes. Evaluations of specifications by industry are an integral part of the Partnership specification development process as described in the Work Plan. Additional technical review by expert advisors and collaborating standards organizations will be collected and summarized in Annual Project reports.
These evaluations will include quantitative and qualitative review. Technical Evaluations Models will be used by the Working Group which conducts formal trial implementations of draft specifications detailed in the Work Plan the results of which will be quantified and presented in Annual Project reports. Additional implementations by project partners will be evaluated by Project staff and by the Project's external consultant Dr. Joel Grey. End User Evaluations by People with ;Disabilities.
The Project will employ an external consultant Dr. Joel Grey to design recruit and conduct iterative end user evaluations of project solutions with faculty administrators and community students with disabilities.
This initiative will be led by key Non Profit Foundation partnership staff. Project responsibilities are outlined below. Resumes of staff and consultants are in Appendix X.
Saddy Johnson 100% Non Profit's Director of Research and Development will be the Project Director and will co lead this partnership with JZZ's Director of Access Specifications. She will identify and coordinate solutions and input from other access standards bodies disabilities organizations and research projects. She will co lead the Working Group on Access organize and direct access research initiatives present Project results at developer's conferences and design content and secure speakers for annual access seminars.
She will coordinate JZZ support to guide industry partners in implementation. She will also direct the involvement of other Project Directors of complementary projects in research evaluation annual access seminars and dissemination through the life of the project. Thomas Collin 50% JZZ’s Director of Systems Development and Technology will contribute to specifications development review technical documents distribute and provide guidance on JZZ accessible authoring solutions for multimedia and serve as resource to industry partners on implementation.
Juan Rodriquez 20% Director of the Media Access Group at Public Television will contribute to specifications development review technical and policy documents attend annual access seminars and represent the Project with at national and international conferences and panels. Jason Smith 10% is Chief Technologist for Public Television. He will review technical reports and specifications and serve as an going resource. Hattie Frazier 15% is JZZ's Communications Manager.
She will at technical reports policy and research white papers for general audiences and will provide Project updates to newsletters researchers and press interested in access issues. She will identify appropriate disabled consumers.
This initiative will be led by key Non Profit Foundation partnership staff. Project responsibilities are outlined below. Resumes of staff and consultants are in Appendix X.
Saddie Johnson 100% Director of Research and Development will be the Project Director and will co lead this partnership with JZZ's Director of Access Specifications. She will identify and coordinate solutions and input from other access standards bodies disabilities organizations and research projects. She will co lead the IMS Working Group on Access organize and direct access research initiatives present Project results at developer's conferences and design content and secure speakers for annual access seminars.
She will coordinate other partners’ support to guide industry partners in implementation. She will also direct the involvement of Workgroup Project Directors of complementary projects in research evaluation annual access seminars and dissemination through the life of the project. Thomas Collin 50% JZZ’s Director of Systems Development and Technology will contribute to specifications development review technical documents distribute and provide guidance on NCAM accessible authoring solutions for multimedia and serve as resource to industry partners on implementation.
Juan Rodriquez 20% Director of the Media Access Group at Public Television will contribute to specifications development review technical and policy documents attend annual access seminars and represent the Project with at national and international conferences and panels. Jason Smith 10% is Chief Technologist for WGBH.
The Non Profit Foundation’s proposed Project would help address true critical needs for disable persons. It will also create increased awareness and guidance on accessibility of online learning to the disabled. The relationship with JZZ Learning Corporation represents collaboration among large players in the field.
We are excited to collaborate on the development of specific guidance on this topic for national consumption. Our in kind contribution of $250 suggests our commitment and readiness to collaborate on finding answers to complex questions regarding the access to learning for persons with disabilities. We stand ready to assist in any way and are looking forward to the date when our roles responsibilities and deliverables are published.
Blackboard would be very pleased to participate in the joint Project that you are proposing to the Department of Education. Blackboard strongly supports the development of specifications for online learning which address the needs of people with disabilities. Since its inception Blackboard has been strong supporter of interoperability specifications for educational software.
Extending this support in our products to include the needs of people with disabilities is an important next step for our company. Throughout the project Blackboard will participate as follows. Work collaborative to develop specifications.
Manage definitions in products among diverse users. Cooperate on Workgroups and Task Forces required to manage inclusion of specs. After discussion with the Board of Directors of the Open eBook Forum we want to for ally support your efforts to use OEBF specifications to make information mailable and accessible to students.
Of course this includes students with disabilities. The OEBF will commit George Kerscher as resource working on the project. W.ICerscher is member of our Board and of our Publication Structure Working Coup.
It is desired that your staff working on the project wi11 contact Mr. Keracher to assist with issues read to the use of OEBF specifications for the Information C+ formats. The OEBF is pleased to work with the Non Profit Foundation on such project. The expertise your organization has demonstrated in the past ensures that the information systems and the format of the content will be accessible.
We look forward to the collaboration and bib skids should benefit from the collaboration. WGBH Educational Foundation Boston Massachusetts CPBIWGBH National Center for Accessible Media. Director of Technology & Systems Development present.
Resource & Environmental Management Systems Acton Massachusetts Independent Contractor. ERT Concord Massachusetts. Environmental Software Systems Engineer. University of Massachusetts Amherst Massachusetts Instructor Minority Engineering Program.
University of Massachusetts Amherst Massachusetts. Teaching Assistant. Civil Engineering 1982 1984 Computer & Informational Science.
Software development for delivery of captions and descriptions within analog and digital television CD ROM and Web media. Computer systems applications for resource management problems IBM PC Macintosh mainframe environments. Languages include FORTRAN Pascal DBase Clipper 4D Unix SQL HTML and HyperCard.
Graphics relational database information systems mathematical modeling. Technical project and personnel management. Filno production and management. Representative Project Work.
Access Test Tapes for Manufacturers. Developed test tape of analog EIA 608 features as specified by the FCC for decoder and television receiver manufacturers to develop and test their products' FCC compliance. Currently developing digital test tape with sample MPEG video files with closed caption and descriptive narration data for manufacturers to use in testing digital video equipment for Advanced Television broadcasts.
Multimedia Access. Chairman Committee on Multimedia Society of Motion Picture Engineers. Working Group for Captioning and Titles. Developed.0 first ever captioning software for Web delivered media.
Enab1ed coding of thousands of captions data files for Microsoft CD ROMs Enc. Software Dev ternet Delivery. Developed utility to enable two way Internet delivery of caption files.
Developed utility to transmit Universal Resource Locators URL's in the text channel of line to deliver web enhanced TV programs Interactive TV Links. Multi version and Multi lingual Captioning. Developed workstation and suite of software utilities which allow for simultaneous encoding of multiple streams of real time and pre recorded caption data. In 60 Minutes became the fast prime time series in history to air with simultaneous English and Spanish closed captions.
Electronic Newsroom Interface. Developed the interfaces to download pre scripted segments of each newscast from NewStar BASYS SISCOM NewsPro and others systems. Provided consultation and technical guidelines for updating electronic newsroom systems to meet FCC requirements.
Operations Management and Systems Development The Caption Center. Oversight of all aspects of caption production in three offices with employees. Responsible for personnel software development strategic planning technical consultants. Schedule Distribution System.
Hybrid Macintosh 1BM PC system to create and distribute work schedules. Multi user interactive system operates within distributed LAN TOPS environment. Responsible for complete design and implementation. REMS under contract toWGBH Boston Engineering.
Macintosh based teleprompter allows importation of files across networks from writer to broadcast studio. Full editing and font capability including variable line width and scrolling speed. Was responsible for complete design ands implementation.
REMS under contract to WGBH Boston Engineering. The Ten O’clock News. Segment rundown development and archival system.
Tape lib archival system. Macintosh 4D database in multi user networked environed REMS under contract to WGBH Boston Engineering.
HWMS Hazardous Waste Management System
Relational database management system for the hazardous waste manifests lifecycle. Responsible for functional and design specifications and implementation in IBM PC AT environment. REMS under contract to IBM East Fishkill NY IBM Austin TX. Interactive air dispersion modeling system for tracking and predicting toxic footprints.
Includes high resolution graphics subsystem communications database management and state of the art dispersion algorithms. Responsible for system design and software team management design and implementation of various components on IBM PC AT platform. ERT Concord MA confidential clients.
Professor Emeritus and Adjunct Rochester Institute of Technology Professor of History Rochester Institute of Technology Adjunct Professor St.John Fisher College
EASI Online Workshops on Adaptive Technology EASI Online Workshops on Accessible Web Design.
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