Congratulations to Diana Montealegre of Front Range Community College (FRCC) on winning the eLearning Consortium of Colorado’s 2019 eLearning Advocate of the Year Award! Diana was recognized during the 30th Annual eLearning Consortium of Colorado Conference earlier this month. This award recognizes exceptional efforts by technologists, trainers, instructional designers, instructional coaches, online student services, administrators and academic technology staff who have demonstrated leadership and innovation in elearning and ubiquitous learning at their institution and beyond.
Diana Montealegre has joyfully, creatively and wholeheartedly led the way to make F2F, online and hybrid resources accessible at Front Range Community College and to share what she learned in the Colorado eLearning community and nationwide. She has gracefully advocated for universal design and equity and continued to work diligently on it when it was considered a college priority. She has listened with understanding both to students with disabilities and faculty new to technology to provide eLearning solutions for both. She has been a pioneer in using OER for online courses and her content is currently available on the U.S. Department of Labor’s Skills Common. She continues to do OER and instructional design for optics technology and machining providing richer and more interactive content than is normal for OER which includes collaboration, hands-on and soft skills activities. Equity in educational technology is not often considered past accessibility in courses but she is a strong, intelligent Latina woman who brings a voice and advocacy that is frequently missing in many eLearning discussions and initiatives.
One of her most innovative initiatives are three new training she designed based on listening to how her faculty wanted to understand their students with disabilities but still offer ubiquitous learning through technology. For these she employed sophisticated design thinking elements and empathy to create a new series of beyond the basics in web accessibility.
Step into My Shoes includes an immersive role-playing experience for faculty, instructors and staff to understand the positionality of students with disability when they use technology ubiquitously across the learning environment.
Creating Auditing in D2L is an accessibility audit she created through her involvement with the University of Illinois and the Online Learning Consortium which is a deep dive into looking at how every course can be more accessible and equitable for all students.
Visually Engaging is her newest training development. In her accessibility training, she often heard from faculty that accessibility means giving up aesthetics, immersion and creativity. This training refutes that misunderstanding and shows how to use universal design to artistically enhance their eLearning environments.
Across the three campus of FRCC, she is the college-wide resource for technology and accessibility. For the past two years, she has trained faculty, instructor and staff on universal design and accessibility. She has done one-on-one consulting, F2F trainings on each of the campuses and college-wide training during FRCC in-services and also at the annual Teaching and Learning with Technology conferences. For the past five years, she has been the instructional designer for machining and optics technology courses which have become part of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Skills Common. She represented FRCC at the Colorado Community College System’s (CCCS) TAACCCT CHAMP Grant. She is currently working with eLCC’s Multiculturalism and Equity Interest group on gender, race and diversity issues in online learning and the technology field. To continue to advocate for accessibility in eLearning, she is involved with the Online Learning Consortium’s accessibility group. She has been working to help increase activity inCU Accessibility & Usability Group. As an independent member, she joined and is part of W3C’s official accessibility group. In order to support the continued progress of technology, she is participating in reviewing Ally Blackboard and is a member of the Adobe Accessibility Task Force.