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Overall Project Plan

The project team will begin by setting up communication mechanisms and reporting mechanisms for the project. Wherever possible, these will be web based. Interdependencies will be identified.

Partners representing the various consumer groups (CNIB,CHS) and partners representing various education providers will gather input from potential users of the project deliverables (in many cases this has already been done in preparation for the project proposal). Collectively the partners will create an overall functional specification as well as functional specifications for each individual work package.

These functional specifications will then be interpreted into technical specifications. Common open standards, protocols and file formats will be agreed upon. Interdependencies will be identified.

Partners will collectively agree upon detailed project goals to be measured by the evaluation. Partners responsible for project evaluation will develop evaluation mechanisms for both formative and summative evaluation (see Evaluation section).

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Iterative Development

During the iterative development phase of the project, partners will develop a set of alternative input and display technologies that will be integrated into authoring and viewing tools. The alternative display tools include: a customizable, multimedia, overlay captioning tool (ATRC and Ryerson with input from CHS), a customizable descriptive video tool (ATRC and CNIB), XML Schema or DTD for the access tools, a user preference system, a database for indexing the learning objects, viewer/browser customizations and a haptic display tool (Immersion). These will be integrated into a multimedia authoring tool (Expresto) and a captioning tool (VoiceWriter). A media player will be adapted to allow viewing of the alternative display objects produced.

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From 4 to 6 courseware modules will be chosen that contain content that was previously inaccessible and content requiring broadband networks. These may include both courseware products that have been developed and courseware products presently under development. The courseware products will be enhanced using the tools developed through the project. For example captioning, ASL/LSQ translation, descriptive video, self voicing and haptic demonstrations will be added to a basic physics course. The learner interface will be modified to allow alternative inputs.

These courseware modules will be launched both in a targeted fashion and to a general audience. Where interactive broadband networks are not available, they will be simulated.

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Summative evaluations of the courseware products, the alternative display and control techniques, the learner interactive interface, the media player and the authoring tools will be conducted. Tools and courseware will be modified in response to the evaluation.

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Prepare for Commercialization and Dissemination

Collectively the partners will identify intellectual property that should be commercialized. The original general IP agreement will be enhanced and where appropriate licensing agreements will be created. A detailed strategic commercialization plan will be developed with the assistance of technology transfer departments at both universities and the sales and marketing resources of the industrial partners.

Formative and summative results will be distributed through the large array of communication channels available to the partners (see Dissemination section of report). A final report will be created (if possible as multimedia courseware) and distributed at conferences, over learning networks and on the more than 15 web sites maintained by the partners. Through partnerships with the National Centre for Accessible Media at WGBH, the report will also be distributed through the US Public Broadcast network.


This project is funded by CANARIE Inc. - Learning Program

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