YuJa Panorama Has Proved to be an Invaluable Accessibility Tool at River Parishes Community College
YuJa Panorama Was Recommended as Innovative Accessibility Platform RPCC Needed
River Parishes Community College (PRCC) serves a diverse set of students across four campuses in Louisiana’s River Parishes region. In addition to courses offered on campus, the institution has partnerships with community partners across its service area, along with technical training, dual enrollment for high school students, and workforce training opportunities.
When James McCrary joined RPCC as the Director of Innovative Teaching and Learning in 2020, he started in his new role by working to understand the institution’s goals, which included building capacity for online programs and creating innovative ways to help students learn.
One thing that stood out, McCrary said, was that instructors wanted to provide accessibility for students beyond the built-in tools available in the learning management system. “We have a tight-knit community within the Louisiana Community and Technical College System, and through a contact at Delgado Community College, we learned about YuJa Panorama,” McCrary said. “What really struck me was how we could easily reach the goals we wanted to for our students.”
Because of the timing of McCrary’s joining the institution – during the height of the pandemic – it was important to provide a tool that provided a holistic approach to accessibility that was simple to implement and use by faculty.
About the College
About River Parishes Community College
Part of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System, River Parishes Community College is an open-admission, two-year, post-secondary public institution serving the River Parishes. The college provides transferable courses and curricula up to and including certificates and Associate’s degrees. River Parishes Community College also partners with the communities it serves by providing programs for personal, professional, and academic growth.
“What really struck me was how we could easily reach the goals we wanted to for our students.”
Deploying YuJa Panorama was a Fluid Process
McCrary is a Canvas administrator and has been for over a decade. That aside, “YuJa did a really great job of navigating the implementation,” McCrary said, adding that in the time since RPCC and Delgado Community College deployed Panorama the entire LCTCS system is now piloting the platform.
“We have an overwhelming sense of gratitude that there is a product that is really focusing on student experience, yet has other features that allow us to have quality assurance,” he said. “So many times, you’ll find products that are either/or, and there ends up being a compromise that doesn’t meet the needs of anybody.”
Panorama Has Helped Create a Positive Experience for Students
Because RPCC has a large service area, students have diverse backgrounds. In some instances, students have limited access to technology and may be using a mobile device for learning. Others have technology, but don’t have reliable transportation to the institution, or are nontraditional students who need flexibility in their learning.
“A lot of what we do in my office is focused on student experience. Everything leads up to that. All the decisions we make are through the lens of student experience,” McCrary added. “We want to make sure we’re identifying barriers and gaps, and then taking conscious steps to continually improve.”
Along with other elements the institution has implemented, YuJa Panorama has helped make learning more accessible to students in a more inviting and intuitive manner. “We’ve been very encouraged by feedback we’ve received from students, including with them saying they appreciate that courses are easy to navigate and complete,” McCrary said.
YuJa Panorama has Helped Instructors and the Institution Meet Accessibility Goals
YuJa Panorama provides a centralized location with reporting for all content, which has been helpful for instructors. “I don’t want to say it’s magic, but it really does help that our faculty can look in one location to see what their course looks like, issues, and not only that, how to remedy issues. Then, you can remedy most of those issues in the same place,” McCrary said.
Instructors’ reactions to the accessibility platform have ranged from interest and curiosity to excitement, McCrary shared, adding that training was short and sweet. “Everything is centralized and it’s really easy to understand. That’s what got our folks the most excited.”
YuJa Panorama has provided helped the institution in numerous ways, but notably by:
- Removing barriers for student experience regardless of their abilities
- For those who have gone through Quality Matters process, YuJa Panorama provided an easy way to ensure they were meeting compliance without having to wait through the course building, development and approval process
- Helping meet compliance standards
“When I shared the news that the Office of Civil Rights is auditing courses for accessibility compliance, there wasn’t panic. People realized this is why we’re using Panorama,” McCrary emphasized.
YuJa Panorama’s Use Has Expanded to Online Course Development
YuJa Panorama has now taken a role in formal online policies the institution has created, McCrary explained, noting that in south Louisiana, online courses are potentially the only viable option for students to take higher-ed classes. Meeting students where they’re at and meeting their needs to be successful is critical.
RPCC has taken the Quality Matters model, which provides quality assurance in online and blended learning environments, and built its own metrics for course designers and instructors to reach.
“We provide them metrics they need to hit in the Panorama dashboard to make sure their course is at its best to present to students,” McCrary said. “We emphasize making sure you’re at that 85% mark, you’re ‘in the green,’ all severe and major items we have designated are solved before class starts and all minor issues are at least addressed.”
The policies are in a soft rollout phase now, but will be on full display next fall when RPCC unveils a number of new, entirely online programs. “YuJa Panorama meets the students’ needs first and helps us, as an institution, make sure we’re supporting students. It’s invaluable,” McCrary concluded.
YuJa Panorama was a recommendation to RPCC from Delgado Community College.
The platform helps RPCC meet students’ needs first, but also meets instructor and institutional goals.
The use cases for YuJa Panorama have expanded to online program accessibility and benchmarks are now written into course creation requirements.
“We have an overwhelming sense of gratitude that there is a product that is really focusing on student experience, yet has other features that allow us to have quality assurance.”
James McCrary, M.Ed., Director of Innovative Teaching & Learning
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