Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can I make and share a mind-map or concept map online?
A: Yes - there are several online mind mapping tools, most depend on using the mouse and drag-and-drop and are not accessible to a screen reader or by keyboard control alone. They differ enormously from the more graphical version using Gliffy to the hierachical type of mapping available with MindMeister or Mindomo. The Wild Apricot blog has discussed what they consider are the 'Top 12 Mind Mapping Tools for Web or Desktop'.
Q: Can you tell me some more about Usability and Accessibility?
The Open University and University of Leicester ...completed the PROWE report (Word doc download) in 2007 on 'Personal Repositories Online: Wiki Environments' and began their section of the accessibility findings by saying, "To expect to experience accessibility on any comprehensive basis is perhaps counterintuitive for a social computing system such as a blog or wiki which invites many contributions. For PROWE, which concentrates on personal and informal repository use it is perhaps unsurprising that there were accessibility concerns linked to the behaviours of those posting content."
- AbilityNet Web 2.0 & Accessibility for Disabled Users - article on ICT knowledgebase.
- JISC TechDis - Content Creation and Delivery and Evaluating the Usability of Online Accessibility Information. Developers and Reasonable Adjustment.
- eAccess - Can tensions between accessibility, interactivity and multimedia in e-learning be overcome?.
- Accessify - Home of the Accessibility Toolset Make accessible tables and forms (Accessibility Tools & Wizards).
- CATEA 8 Tips for Accessible Blogging and making accessible calendars for blogs and websites - example in WordPress.
- AFB - How to Make Your Blog Accessible to Blind Readers.
- WebAIM have useful guides for many aspects of web accessibility. Accessibility of AJAX Applications used in many Web 2.0 sites. Creating Accessible Forms and Web Captioning Overview.
- BBC My Web My Way "aims to help arm our audience with the tools and understanding which will enable them to make the most of the world-wide web (not just bbc.co.uk), whatever their ability or disability."
Q: Can you tell me some more about Web 2.0 for e-Learning?
There are many websites that can offer advice about the sites and services offering collaboration and interaction that may enhance on-line learning. But here are a collection using some of the tools we have evaluated in the course of this website.
- Social Media for Researchers, (2008) slide presentation of an online course given through WiZiQ using Slideshare.
- Jane's E-Learning Pick of the Day
- Learning Pick of the Day A daily item of e-learning interest selected by Jane Hart of the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies - She also has a learning tools directory including a top-ten using Typepad Blog
- The E-learning Curve blog is an elearning blog focusing on enhancing skills, knowledge, and expertise through the use of digital media and technology using Lijit Blog
- SCoPE brings together individuals who share an interest in educational research and practice. The team run a series of on-line seminars such as "Personal Management of Participation in Social Networks": Oct 27-Nov 9, 2008 using Moodle Open source course management system.
- Web2.0 and Distributed Medical Education with examples of Web 2.0 Tools using Wetpaint Wiki
- Transforming Education through Technology - 19 slides of useful websites which can be viewed from the Diigo webslides using Diigo WebSlides.
- Delicious tags for Web 2.0 with links to many different sites
- How to be an e-tutor - David Kolb offers an alternative experiential learning cycle..
- WebCredible - Designing online social networks: The theories of social groups
Q: I would like to set up a blog - which is the easiest one to use?
A: Most blogs are very easy to use and your institution may have set up a particular service that they like everyone to use. It is more about whether the rich text editor used by the blogging service is easy to use and accessible. At present it appears that TinyMCE is more accessible when compared to fckeditor but this could change overnight and neither offer a total solution. Some blogs allow for multimedia such as the addition of images, video and audio. In fact tumblr, which is incredibly easy to use and relatively accessible, is mainly an image based blog. WordPress is used extensively in academic institutions and is bundled with TinyMCE. Several organisations have written about the accessibility of blogs including The Center for Assistive Technology and Environmental Access (CATEA) and Equal Access to Software and Information (EASI) who have articles on making accessible calendars and 8 Tips for Accessible Blogging. The University of Texas at Austin also have an article on Accessibility and Blogs.
Q: If I want students to write a collaborative wiki, which is the best tool to use?
A: It depends on whether you wish to include video, audio and images and how you wish the layout to appear. Some are very easy to set up and others require some web design skills which may allow for more personalisation and the inclusion of calendars and other widgets. Wetpaint free wiki offers all of these multimedia elements and more. It does relatively well in accessibility checks and is easy to use. However, it does not appear to be a favourite in Higher Education. Developers seem to choose MediaWiki which was originally developed for Wikipedia. An article explaining some of the issues that arise for the blind and screen reader users may help with the decision making 'Accessibility and Wikis'.
Q: What is tagging and which service should I choose to find information of interest in certain subjects?
A: If you mean something like a category rather than the tags used for writing web pages, then these keywords are a way of categorising items such as images, videos and blogs or other items stored on the web so that search engines can find them more easily. There are several applications that can help you keep your own collections of tagged items or share with others in a world of social bookmarking such as del.icio.us and Technorati. Data used to be collected into folders but now it is possible to cross search shared information so a blog, a set of images and a video can come under several headings such as holiday, Greece, sailing etc. Both sites are relatively accessible and offer keyboard control although some labels are missing which may not help navigation for those using screen readers.
Q: What is Web 2.0?
Web 1.0 is all about linking documents to each other. Web 2.0 is all about linking people to each other and being able to address the issues of the contribution of individuals and knowing who those individuals are, finding out about them, rather than just treating the web as a static network or graph of anonymous documents. And then, of course, Web 3.0 is all about treating the web as a graph of data, in fact linked data. But Web 2.0 is really trying to get the human dimension into the web.