Olson creates website on accessible online education

DSU professor Chris Olson recently launched the website, www.accessible-education.com, a free series of self-paced video tutorials on using speech recognition software for online education. Olson and fellow DSU professor, Dr. Jack Walters, were able to produce the series with a Quality of Life grant Olson received from the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation.

Olson created the tutorial series as a way for quadriplegics, disabled war veterans, amputees, those with neurological disorders that affect upper limb mobility or anyone who has difficulty using a mouse or keyboard to be able to participate in online educational opportunities. Olson hopes the free tutorials will help those with motor disabilities be able to fully access and eventually complete an online degree.

"The demand for web programmers is extremely high right now,” says Olson. “If we can show users with disabilities how to control a computer using speech recognition and then program with their voice, they can get jobs that may otherwise have been unattainable."

The videos walk users through a variety of tasks that can be completed with the speech recognition software, Dragon NaturallySpeaking. The series touches on training your voice, an overview of basic tasks, personalizing the software, writing a program and creating a webpage. All of these functions can make an online degree a reality for those who may have never thought that option to be possible. 

Olson also serves on the Barrier Free Learning Committee at Dakota State University created to leverage intellectual, technological and physical resources of the campus to educate and create opportunities for those with disabilities. Faculty and staff from all areas of campus make up the committee, which is pursuing opportunities to make DSU a regional and national leader in providing the best access for persons with disabilities.

Olson and his website were recently featured on the www.geteducated.com eLearning and Education blog.

Last Updated: 6/1/12