Dalmatian in boat sailing in ocean

Guest post by Catherine McKee, Assistant Distance Learning Coordinator at Mt. SAC

Sailing through SPOT: Six Tips for Completion

Want to get your SPOT course in top shape when you submit? Avoid time-consuming revisions with these suggestions from the Assistant DL Coordinator who manages SPOT!  

1. Read every page in the SPOT 2.0 course

The SPOT 2.0 course is the course shell that contains the lessons you must complete. You are a student in the SPOT 2.0 course and you complete the work in your SPOT CERT course, where you are a teacher. Reviewers can tell what you’ve looked at, and often faculty have questions about, or are missing, tasks that they didn’t read about in SPOT 2.0.

2. Rely on the SPOT Rubric

The SPOT Rubric is The Way! We rely heavily on the rubric when we review your course. Ensure you’ve completed all of the tasks. Make sure your rubric, in the Faculty Comments column, tells us exactly where to find each task in your course. Telling us that something is “throughout the modules” is not helpful. If you have multiple examples of the task, tell us where to find the examples. A specific rubric may save hours (literally) of reviewer time, thus benefiting you and faculty awaiting review. The SPOT 2.0 course contains examples of good rubrics in the SPOT Rubric Module and on page 7.3.

3. Make sure Videos are Captioned Accurately

Video captions must be accurate. Auto-generated captions are not accurate enough. It’s not enough that the words are pretty accurate. Words, punctuation, and capitalization must be 99% accurate. SPOT courses are commonly returned to faculty for further work based on inaccurate (or missing) captions. See the FCLT’s Captioning Basics page for further details, but here are some guidelines from 3PlayMedia:

  1. The captioning must be complete. This means the video must be captioned from start to finish, including noting opening music and background noises, when intentional.
  2. The captions must be 99% accurate. This means, literally, word-for-word, including grammar and punctuation.
  3. The captions should display synchronously with the audio. Transcripts are not sufficient. Captions should be timed with audio, and on-screen for an adequate amount of time to allow careful reading.
  4. The caption placement should not obscure other important information. Usually, captions are placed at the bottom of the screen.

Some YouTube, TedTalk, and other videos are accurately captioned, but often they’re not. Our library has several collections in which videos are accurately captioned: Films on Demand, Kanopy, and Swank. Or consider using Canvas Studio to make and caption your own videos. It’s super easy and fun! You can also submit videos for captioning by completing the Mt. SAC Caption Request form. This link is also available at the Help link in the Canvas Global Navigation Menu. Please caption your videos before submitting your SPOT course for review.

4. Avoid using PDFs

PDFs are often inaccessible. Even Word documents and PowerPoints can be inaccessible. Instead, put document content directly into Canvas, and then use the Canvas tools (headings, lists, links, tables, etc.) to make the content accessible.

5. Minimize Reliance on Publisher Content in your Courses

Publisher content may not be accessible. Further, federal and state regulations require that your students have regular and effective contact with you, not the publisher. Finally, your SPOT reviewers may not be able to access the publisher content when we review your course.

6. Use the Quick Video Tutorials on Accessibility

We recently added a new page to the SPOT 2.0 course: Accessibility Quick Video Tutorials. It contains short videos on the following accessibility challenges: tables, page headings, image alt-text, auto-captions, and use of the WAVE accessibility checker. Thanks, Mike Dowdle, for putting this together.

Reminders and Contacts

These are just some SPOT tips which may save you from having to revise your course after you submit it for review. If you have any questions about SPOT, please email Catherine McKee  (cmckee@mtsac.edu).

It’s not too late to register for SPOT! SPOT is ongoing; registration questions should go to Sandra Weatherilt (sweatherilt@mtsac.edu).Need SPOT Certification for Spring 2022? Please note the Oct 2, 2021 submission deadline for possible certification for spring 2022.

Need to complete SPOT Recertification? Attend live Zoom workshops on Friday September 17 and complete your recertification in one day! 

Do you have other questions for the SPOT reviewers about the process of SPOT certification and recertification? Perhaps you have completed SPOT and you have a tip for those currently working on SPOT. Please add your comments below!

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