Annabel Treshansky's Blog

…in which I don't go up mountains

Tag: Accessibility

Graphic: Artificial Intelligence

Teacherbot!

Reading Time: 5 minutes
Photo of a friendly robot

This is actually Pepper, not Teacherbot

What is Teacherbot?

Teacherbot is an artificial intelligence project to automate some aspects of teaching, thereby improving efficiency and allowing for the more ‘teacher-light’ tuition required for providing courses on the scale of MOOCs.

I had been interested in hearing more about Teacherbot ever since I first heard of it at the IT Futures conference in December, so it was a very nice surprise to see it featuring in the online education course.

Teacherbot was created to engage with students of Edinburgh University’s e-learning and digital cultures MOOC on Twitter. Teacherbot replied to tweets containing the #edcmooc hashtag, with responses drawing on keywords and how they were linked through terms such as “and” or “not”. It engaged with hundreds of students, tweeting about 1,500 times over the duration of the course.

Teacherbot could answer simple questions, and could respond to more complex questions by posting key quotes or asking ‘Would anyone else like to connect?’ Students felt it helped them engage with the idea of automated teaching, and said that Teacherbot had prompted them to think.

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Web Accessibility Word Cloud

Accessibility Experiment: Listening to a Web based Article via Audio

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Accessibility Experiment

When I looked up the article about Teacherbot, I decided to try out something else new, and take advantage of an accessibility feature of the online journal it was in: I noticed they had an audio option available and I thought that was great, so I had the article read out to me!

Screenshot of a professional journal with an audio option

Audio version of Teacherbot: interventions in automated teaching. Journal: Teaching in Higher Education
Critical Perspectives
Volume 20, 2015 – Issue 4: Twentieth Anniversary Special Issue. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13562517.2015.1020783


Audio version of Teacherbot: interventions in automated teaching.
Journal: Teaching in Higher Education: Critical Perspectives Volume 20, 2015 – Issue 4: Twentieth Anniversary Special Issue.
https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13562517.2015.1020783

It was an interesting experience in itself, and listening through the navigation options was a valuable reminder of the importance of making the navigation as accessible to those who can’t see where the options are as to those who can.

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The Schlumberger configuration

Geophysics blogging means Equations!

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Following on from my previous post, ‘Geophysics blogging means new HTML entities!’, I discovered the maths was getting yet more complicated, with the need to represent equations like this:

Really complicated equation

Really complicated equation 😬

Ideally, I didn’t want to use images, for accessibility reasons, unless I could provide a meaningful alt tag, which takes me back to the original problem of representing the equation in text, but with less useful characters. Here’s a page with a lot of equations as an example: https://blogs.ed.ac.uk/easc080162019-0sv1sem2/2020/02/06/7-2-1-electrical-resistivity/. I’ve made a lot of progress using HTML entities, but they can only get me so far.

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