Projects: UDL : UDL Technical Specifications
This page last changed on Jun 29, 2007 by scytacki.
UDL Tech Guidelines - March 20, 2007
This document contains technical guidelines for the UDL activity environment. It does not contain UI designs or graphic designs, but describes the architecture at a high level and discusses some aspects of the user experience.
All components need to allow for variations in font size. The UI will have to account for these variations.
Default font sizes:
3 font sizes overall: 12,14 and 16 point. The user can increase their font size, but in the case of Grade 5-8 we do not allow them to lower their font size. This is a suggestion, but we could choose otherwise. If we want 5-8 to be able to go to 10 point, for example, the layout needs to be designed for 4 different font sizes.
We will need to choose the font (Arial?). It may be fine to allow variations for the main text font (Times, Arial, etc) but I doubt we want to get started on allowing fonts to change within components. The layout issues with this may quickly become a problem.
Since all components need to change, we also have limitations on what sizes we can support. Whenever possible, tools will use images to convey a function as opposed to words, but graphs need titles, and other components may need labels, etc. Tool tip sizes should change as well. We will try to minimize text within flash, but eventually we need the ability to change this text size also.
Skin color scheme. The overall environment needs to allow for different background colors and font colors.
The user will have control over several color options
The controls will need to be smart to some degree. For example, if the student chooses a font color of purple, the hyperlink color cannot be purple, nor can the background color. I don't think we get into restriction contrasts - font is purple, so hyperlink cannot be black - but we may want to discuss.
Localization options need to include text language changes and audio conversion to multiple languages. The environment needs to support this.
Are we dealing with text-to-speech conversion software, or spoken voice. Some commercial vendors, and others, prefer recorded spoken voice. I do as well, but as an exemplar, we may be able to get away with a software version.
We will initially have two levels of preferences: Teacher defined and student defined. The software will initially default to some defined state. For example, grade 3-4 will have a font size of 14, sound will be on, the color scheme will be green text on a white background, etc.
Before deploying the software to the class, the teacher will be able to choose what she would like students to see, on a student-by-student basis. For example, the teacher generally does not want sound on, so she switches the whole class to sound off. But two students have a really difficult time reading, so she turns sound on for those two students. She then tells the software to hide the sound on/off control to all students, so in essence the sound controls are fixed based on student log-in. She decides all students can choose font size or color, so she leaves these controls available. She then sets learning preferences for some of the students:
As a method of setting up a course, the teacher will have the ability to define a number of things, including:
Need to look more closely at what these learning style preference are. They are discussed in more detail in the section below on the Question tool.
In any lesson, the student will have a preferences toolbox which will allow for UDL flexibility. Some of these may disabled based on what the teacher defined. Some of the items include:
The question tool will display a question and an answering mechanism based on a numeric scaffold input of 1-5 (or 1-x). The Question tool will allow the author to write x number of variations of the question, for example:
Give two more examples.
Answer Type: Text Entry
Answer Type: Multiple choice with text entry.
Answer Type: Fill in the blank.
When scientists ask "why" questions, they are looking for evidence. Think of two examples. Explain how they suggest that there is water in the air.
Answer Type: Text Entry
(graphical multiple choice - multiple select)
The current thinking on how questions will be handled is as follows: Question types will have tags i.e. open-ended, graphical, guiding, highly guiding, etc. There may be more than one type of answer that would be graphical, guiding, open-ended, etc. For a given activity, the author will define several paths: general path, graphically oriented, open ended, guided. The teacher can then set a parameter for each student, as to how they think the student should go through the activity.
Student Learning Style Preference Selection
"General Path" above would be the authors recommendation on an approach that contained different styles of questions based on the situation, much like the current TEEMSS model.
Note that the activity still has to have a natural feel to it. By choosing the "Graphic" assessment variety, the student will see predominantly graphic assessments, but may still see other types of questions where appropriate.
The control panel depicted above would be in the Teacher Preferences window, where she could be setting sound, font, color preferences as well. For the teacher who did not want to be inundated with variables, the General Path option above would be the default.
Molecular Workbench can be imbedded within the environment. Will we have any control over color schemes or text labeling within MW?
Flash zoom will be enabled through 2 different swfs. The controlling swf will give an overall context (macroscopic) and provide zooming hotspots. For example. The macroscopic image could be:
Two or more guiding characters that can "speak" when words are spoken. These would likely need to be time-synced to the spoken text, or else we need some simple animation that implies that the character is speaking or at least present, while not being as complex as an actual speaking animation. Even if sound was off, a guiding character could be present as someone to go through the activity with.
The thinking is that the UDL model would be one person working on a computer. The guiding character can be "someone" that the student goes through the activity with. It probably becomes less compelling if multiple students are working together on a single computer. However, if this is the case, many of the UDL features will be challenging to implement.
Slider. Vertical or horizontal slider than can define a variable for a flash file or for MW or any other component within the environment.
Allow for an invisible button or a button that can load a graphic file, roll-over and click image. Button should be able to pass variable to flash, MW, etc.
Some of the features of the Smart Grapher:* auto-resize, so you can find your way home
Interactions Between Tools
Tools need to be able to talk to each other and be controlled within the instructional text. For example, a hyperlink in the text needs to tell a Flash file to zoom in. The flash file then needs to be replaced with a drawing where the student can annotate, then be replaced with a model from MW. The environment needs to allow for these types of communications.
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