Exam arrangements have eaten a lot of my time this year: guiding a record number of students through deadline extensions processes; adapting exam modalities to make sure student with technical or broadband issues are able to present their work; encouraging students to seek assessment and exam arrangements to compensate for the toll the pandemic is having on their mental health or the abuse they face at home; and generally feeling that exam arrangements and deadline extensions processes are not up to the task of ensuring assessment fairness.
(I’m pretty sure I should state here that these views do not represent University of Sussex, the teaching team I am part of or my department and school, and that my examples are drawn from personal, colleagues’ and friends’ experiences and that each represent several incidents and not individual students)
years of evaluating innovative accessible or assistive technology in
Human-Computer Interaction research and how we could do better
Quantitative, if possible experimental, studies and evaluations are central in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and to motivate policy initiatives. Yet, few technologies for children with visual impairments have been evaluated this way in education research; it is also an issue in research on technology for locomotion and mobility. Even if they were evaluated: the current replication crisis calls for revisiting our practices, and standards for quantitative evaluations have changed through time. We set to investigate how quantitative empirical evaluations of technology for visually impaired people are conducted in papers published by top HCI venues in this area (CHI, Tochi, Assets, Taccess), and to identify areas of improvements. We suggest that single subject experiment designs might be more adequate with this group. We also outline practical steps for authors and reviewers to improve their evaluation practices.
Many discussions about making our classrooms more inclusive in higher education revolve around our attitude as teachers. This post summarises them, then presents my classroom policy to encourage inclusive behavior between students, even outside of the learning contexts.
This article follows two posts on how to make disability a focus in the design curriculum: the first discussed my own experiments (and partial failures); the second outlined Cynthia Bennett’s advice for teaching disability design. She is a blind scholar specialist of participatory design with disabled people. Benjamin Gorman asked me if I had thoughts about the coursework and design of a computer sciences unit on Accessibility and Assistive Technologies. This is the curriculum I developed for such a unit for post-graduate students in UX design – but this could arguably be used or adapted to other courses on disability and design, or students of other levels. This is a course that was workshop intensive, and about 30 hours long. In terms of philosophy, I know well that I won’t be able to turn them into accessibility or disability experts. I thus aim at making them aware of the resources available, their moral duty to implement accessibility standards in any work they do and to equip them with the basic design and research skills needed.
A few weeks ago, I published a few reflections on teaching disability design through design projects, as a teacher in both UX and product design degrees.
Folks from the disability design community took the time to discuss, comment and add to this discussion, for which I am very grateful. Cynthia Bennett (@clb5590) made further recommendations on Twitter. I thus invited her to write them up on this blog, so as to ease archiving and to dive a bit deeper in the issue.
There are countless articles and mailing lists debates about what is design and what is design research out there. This will not summarize these debates, nor is it an attempt to reconcile these views. It is a couple of observations on how I turned to ethnography, preparing a design research course at University of Sussex, my experiences as a designer turned academic and as committee member of a support and networking group for French design PhD students. I have read and taken part to many epistemological, etymological, historical and methodological debates about design research, but I am simply hoping this can provide some insights on design research as people and practices, a world, in reference to Howard Becker, as I have experienced it.