Access Abilities a Success

The sun shined and the temperature soared to a balmy 84 degrees on Friday, April 13, for Access Abilities, held at the Center for Disabilities Studies (CDS). Ninety-four registrants attended the event that highlighted Apple iOS and OS accessibility features. Sponsored by Apple, CDS, Office of Disability Support Services (DSS), the Office of Educational Technology (OET), and the Education Resource Center (ERC), the event attracted regional educators, information technology professionals, and individuals with disabilities, among others. “Excellent day of learning,” said one educator, while another remarked, “Thank you for this worthwhile learning opportunity.”

In breakout sessions led by Apple representatives, participants discussed iOS and OS features for learning, physical/motor, hearing/speech, and vision disabilities. Participants also saw firsthand how an iPhone makes it possible for someone to see presentations and learned how hearing aids interacting with Apple devices make a difference for so many students. A special thank you to our Apple keynote presenter, Janette Barrios, and to our panel—Sarah Meadows of UD, Alyssa Moore of the Delaware Center for Educational Technology, and Kat Bottner, a local business owner—who discussed accessibility within each of their organizations.

For more information on Apple accessibility features, visit Apple’s accessibility site or the following resources shared by Apple:


The I’ll Have What She’s Having Alternative

One of the most important principles of data security is the principle of least privilege.  In short, that principle means that each person has access to only the files and folders that they need to perform their job.  This helps limit the amount of data an attacker can access with a single compromised account, and helps reduce the possibility of accidental deletions of files and folders from the server. To help us follow this principle, when requesting a new domain account for access to OET file servers, be as specific as you can in listing the folders that the new person will need to access, even if he or she succeeds, or performs a similar job function to, another individual. 

Even though two people may have similar responsibilities, they may not need access to exactly the same list of folders. Requests asking for a new account to have the same permissions as an existing account will take longer to process; we would need to verify the existing account’s permissions and confirm with you that the new account should access each resource before we create it.  Thanks for your consideration and continued help in keeping all of our systems safe and secure!

CEHD Computer Refreshment Policy Updated

The CEHD computer refreshment policy now includes an iPad as a possible refreshment device and increased device allowances.  The policy provides funding to replace desktops, laptops, and iPads every five-years, based on the initial date of purchase. Faculty on continuing, benefited appointments and permanent, benefited exempt and non-exempt staff, who support academic units, are eligible. To determine if your device is eligible for refreshment, contact OET.

Training Available for Delivering Online Learning

Translating in-person courses to online courses requires a planning process that often involves reflection on current teaching practices, design of engaging content, and evaluation of the course and its delivery.  What works for faculty and students in person may not translate the same online.

The Delivering Learning Experiences Online (DLEO) website, developed by UD’s Academic Technology Services, offers faculty who will or do teach online training and support.  Through the website, faculty learn how to use technology to reach their students, how to structure course content for a virtual platform, and how to engage their online students.  Interested faculty also may enroll in upcoming 7-week summer or winter courses with a cohort of their colleagues, or faculty may request a custom course to learn design principles. 

When an Employee Leaves, It’s Time to Reformat

To ensure data security, when an employee leaves his or her position, contact OET before you redeploy or send to surplus the devices the employee used.   If a device is destined for surplus, we will securely wipe the device of all data before the movers pick it up.  If you will redeploy devices, a reformat will remove user profiles, data, and any saved browser settings such as passwords.  We will reinstall purchased and standard apps, so the next person is ready to go!    

For WordPress Editors – Introducing the New Gutenberg Editor

You may not have noticed when you log in to your WordPress site, but WordPress is already up to version 4.9.  In fact, it is about halfway through its lifecycle with version 5.0 planned for release sometime this year.  When that happens, the biggest change you will notice is an updated editor.  WordPress is dropping the standard TinyMCE editor that you use today to compose Posts and Pages, and it is adopting a new interface known as Gutenberg. 

The idea behind this new editor is that it will give content authors and editors more control over page layout.  For example, you will easily be able to add columns of text to any page right in the editor.  Gutenberg can treat groups of text and images like blocks that can be placed side-by-side or stacked.  We are already moving in this direction with the new CEHD theme and the Layouts; however, Gutenberg will be useful when you just want to deal text and images and not any of the new widgets Layouts provides.

OET will thoroughly test Gutenberg and WordPress 5.0 before we run any updates on your sites; so, you can be certain that nothing will break.  WordPress also will provide the old editor as an optional plugin, should Gutenberg prove to be a problem.  You can read more about Gutenberg, or try a demo of the new editor, on the WordPress website.

WordPress Users Group

The next WordPress Users Group meeting is May 23 from 12–1 p.m. in 205 Willard Hall Education Building. We will continue our exploration of the Layouts plugin and cover how to include some of the other widgets we have developed such as slideshows and testimonials.  Bring your lunch and any questions you may have about WordPress.  We look forward to seeing you on the 23rd.