Technology Tools for Teaching

Building from the ground up: How to create curriculum that is flexible, accessible, and editable

Dr. Nate Evans and Dr. Stephen Thomas

Wednesday, February 17, 2016 11:30 - 1:30

1425 BPS

Lunch Provided


The educational landscape has expanded, so that the learning environment for a student is no longer just limited to a textbook and an instructor’s lecture. The environment might include adaptive homework systems, mobile learning experiences, videos, animations, podcasts, or virtual reality avatars. At the same time expectations are that your curriculum be accessible to persons with disabilities and more available for students outside of the classroom. The question then becomes, when making new curriculum materials, how can you maximize your creation time to take advantage of new approaches and technologies that will still allow your materials to be accessible and open? In this workshop, we will examine some of the changing landscape of education, work with you to produce more accessible materials, and discuss strategies for curriculum development that will keep your production lean and responsive. For this workshop, bring your laptop and your willingness to explore a changing landscape.

Stephen Thomas is the Associate Director for the Center for Integrative Studies in General Science and the Digital Curriculum Coordinator for the College of Natural Science. In his teaching capacity, Stephen strives to integrate technology in ways that improve student understanding of course concepts and connection among students and between students and their instructor. He was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to create and run one of MSU’s first massive open online courses (MOOCs) and has won three AT&T Awards at MSU for Best Online Course.

His research and curriculum development work examines visual communication of science, which blends his interests in biology and art. Current projects focus on novice/expert drawings of the greenhouse effect, the development of a rubric for evaluating the efficacy of visuals, and Instruct 2020, a system for open source iterative design of visuals.

Nate Evans works with faculty, staff, and administrators across Michigan State University to help create better student experiences by coordinating efforts to ensure campus-wide EIT accessibility compliance. Technology is always changing, so it is exciting to be a part of a team that encourages inclusion through design and usability.

Links to resources mentioned in the workshop

Videos from the beginning:

Video interview of D2L developer talking about her disabilities and how D2L deals with accessibility: (to min 1:48)

TV news story about the increase in textbook prices:

Student interview discussing issues of working at the same time you are going to school:


MSU’s website for accessibility:

MSU syllabus template for accessibility:

Digital form of the MSU checklist for accessibility:

MSU’s video/audio capture system with machine generated captioning:

Step-by-step guide for using CaptureSpace to capture your lectures:

Other ways to capture text:

Google Docs Add-In: “Speech Recognition”

Siri: “Make a note”

Camtasia Studio (PC): “Speech to Text”

Dragon Naturally Speaking: DragonPad

Other applications to play with text:

iBooks Author - Program to create an etext.

Respondus - Software the University has purchased to be able to upload and download questions to the D2L question bank:

TextExpander 2-

Avatar that speaks whatever text you put into the box:

Workshop Slides