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E.A. Draffan 

Research Fellow

Personal homepage

My main roles have involved collaborative research on a series of projects whilst lecturing and supporting post graduate students on subjects related to digital accessibility and disability related subjects.  Recently I have been involved in EU funded projects such as MOOCAP that resulted in a series of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCS).  These have had over 20,000 registrants and the free materials have been used when working on other projects such as SlideWiki which offers open educational resources as an authoring and presentation platform. 

A spin out from the Arabic Symbol Dictionary project  funded by the Qatar National Research Fund has resulted in the development of Global Symbols where the Tawasol AAC Symbol set has been linked to several other open symbol sets as part of the UNICEF Innovation Fund project for Augmentative and Alternative Communication app development.  Global Symbols is a growing resource that aims to allow international use of locaclised AAC symbols to be harmonised, so that they can have multiple uses for individuals with speech, language and literacy difficulties. 

The ATbar in Arabic  funded by the Mada Center in Qatar is now being used in English and Arabic and originated from the LexDis project.  The ATbar Marketplace has followed on,  allowing the user the chance to buid a user specific browser based toolbar to enhance web page reading. Depending on the plugins chosen it is possible to have text magnification, font style and colour changes, increased line spacing, spell checking and word prediction for plain text boxes, text to speech, a dictionary and many more plugins.  The Localisation of Assistive Technologies and development of culturally appropriate tools for disabled users has also become a focus of new projects with the team. 

STEMReader is an SBRI funded project to develop a Mathematical equation reader for the web and desktop applications. Jisc TechDis is promoting and managing the SBRI competitions specifically aimed at exploring and developing assistive technologies to support independent learning, working and living. 

Synote Researcher and Synote Mobile both JISC funded projects related to the original Synote Project, looking at making annotations and transcriptions from lectures and reseach data easy to learn as well as use which also being accessible in all senses to both students and research staff whether on a desktop computer or mobile phone.  Synote Researcher is a download version of Synote whereas Synote Mobile will stream videos onto the mobile phone and allow users to annotate and share their notes across mobile networks. 

Project REALISE was JISC funded and has since received conitinuation funding from Devices for Dignity working with ScHARR at the University of Sheffield,  in order to further explore open innovation for Assistive Technologies. These groups frequently express the unmet need for collaboration in accessibility. REALISE addressed this through an on-line community and combining experience of accessibility and open development in the key education, employment and health sectors.

The METALL TSB funded project lead by Dolphin Computer Access Ltd built on the Accessible Resources Project  and was aimed at improving the availability of published materials in formats that are accessible for visually impaired elderly individuals and dyslexic pupils.  There are links with the Load2Learn Projectand an appreciation that unless the resources (that have been converted to accessible format) can be easily found, the user will not willingly access ebooks or ebook market places.  At present the metadata available does not tell the user how accessible the book will be on their chosen device and often depends on the ereader software/app available. 

The MyDocStore Project  was SBRI TSB funded, run by Iansyst Ltd, developing an iPhone app that can pull down accessible documents from the web using the chosen settings of the user - so a document can be be received by email or available on the web and found to be inaccessible - it is sent to a server to be scanned with optical character recognition and then returns to the user in a chosen format such as Mp3, MS Word doc, epub etc.  The app has since been made available as AZZAPT 

The JISC funded LexDis project, with participation from students, has provided insights into the strategies and technologies used in e-learning situations.  This Project has resulted in a database of strategies, guides and descriptions of technologies used by students and has continuation funding from the Student Centredness Fund at the Univeristy of Southamtpon.

The Web2Access JISC TechDis funded project is also helping us to understand a wide range of access issues. Ongoing ease of use and accessibility checking of many interactive Web 2.0 applications and services (using a set of criteria based on Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) has resulted in an online evaluation toolkit along the development of an Access Menu for USB pen drive applications and a tool bar for making the access of many web sites easier - more Accessible Technologies information.

My career began as a Speech and Language Therapist spending eight years as the District Speech and Language Therapist at a group of London Hospitals.  The work involved supporting disabled people with a wide range of communication difficulties.Having left the National Health Service, I then worked in schools and colleges, specialising in the support of those with Special Needs whilst encouraging the use of assistive technologies (AT).

A Winston Churchill Fellowship provided the chance to see how centres of AT were set up in the United States.This resulted in ten years work at the University of Sussex, building and running a regional AT Centre, whilst liaising with others to introduce the concepts of equal access to teaching and learning for those with disabilities.I went on to work with JISC TechDis and withProfessor Paul Blenkhorn and for the last few years in ECS at the University of Southampton with Professor Mike Wald and the ECS Accessibility Team. I was a member of the committee that worked on BS 8878 and am now on the WCAG Cognitive and Learning Disabilities Accessibility Task Force and the UK National Contact Person for AAATE and on T4iAHGBDA and BCS committees. 

Research

Research interests

My research interests range from the use of e-learning and web technologies with assistive technologies to the way assistive technologies should be considered to be a much wider range of computer and mobile based applications that can help many people, even though they have not been designed specifically for those with disabilities. I really want to see web accessibility in its widest sense being taken seriously and spent time on the BS 8878 committee with the idea that it is all about the user experience not just the technical aspects of accessibility that need to be considered.  

In the last five years work with the Mada Center in Qatar and UNICEF Innovation Funding for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) solutions has led to further support and research into the complexities of localising technologies.  This in turn has impacted on web accessibility work with links between access technologies, personalisation, productivity tools along with free and open source technologies. 

The co-design and participatory nature of the Tawasol AAC symbol set development was exciting and has led to further links with other free and open international AAC symbols on our Global Symbols site and I look forward taking these interest into new areas.  Developing Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and other online training sessions using SlideWiki, also makes me appreciate how complex the field of human communication can be when we want to make it work for us all in so many different ways.  

Publications

Wald, Mike, Seale, Jane and Draffan, E.A. (2008) Disabled learners experiences of e-learning. At World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications (EDMEDIA) 2008 World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications (EDMEDIA) 2008. 30 Jun - 04 Jul 2008. 9 pp, pp. 6374-6383.

Seale, Jane, Draffan, E.A. and Wald, Mike (2008) An evaluation of the use of participatory methods in exploring disabled learners' experiences of e-learning: LEXDIS Methodology Report to JISC Southampton, UK. University of Southampton 71pp. ,

Seale, Jane, Draffan, E.A and Wald, Mike (2008) Exploring disabled learners’ experiences of e-learning: LEXDIS Project Report Southampton, UK. University of Southampton 161pp. ,

Seale, Jane, Draffan, E.A. and Wald, Mike (2010) Digital agility and digital decision-making: conceptualising digital inclusion in the context of disabled learners in higher education. Studies in Higher Education, 35 (4), 445-461.

Draffan, E.A., Evans, D.G. and Blenkhorn, P. , Scherer, M.J. (ed.) (2007) A survey of the Use of Assistive Technology by Students with Dyslexia in Post-Secondary Education. Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology, 2 (2), 105-116.

Draffan, E.A. and Rainger, P. , Seale, J. (ed.) (2006) A model for the identification of challenges to blended learning. ALT-J: Research in Learning Technology, 14 (1), 55-67.

Draffan, E.A. and James, A. (2004) Comparative evaluation of technology solutions for supporting the writing of dyslexic children and adults. Fawcett, A (ed.) At Sixth BDA International Conference Sixth BDA International Conference, United Kingdom. 27 - 30 Mar 2004.

Draffan, E.A., Evans, D.G. and Blenkhorn, P. (2007) Innovative Practices in AT Training for LD (Dyslexic) Students. At Proc. 22nd International Conference on Technology and Persons with Disabilities, Los Angeles Proc. 22nd International Conference on Technology and Persons with Disabilities, Los Angeles. 19 - 24 Mar 2007.

Evans, D.G., Draffan, E.A., James, A. and Blenkhorn, P. (2006) Do Text-to-Speech Synthesisers Pronounce Correctly? A Preliminary Study. Miesenberger, K., Klaus, J., Zagler, W.L. and Karshmer, A.I. (eds.) At Computers Helping People with Special Needs, 10th International Conference, ICCHP2006 Computers Helping People with Special Needs, 10th International Conference, ICCHP2006, Austria. 11 - 13 Jul 2006. pp. 874-881.

Smythe, I., Blenkhorn, P., Evans, G., Siegel, L. and Draffan, E.A. (2005) A conceptual model of ICT needs of the dyslexic student. In, Smythe, I. (ed.) Provision and Use of Information Technology with Dyslexic Students in University in Europe. EU funded Welsh Dyslexia Project, pp. 87-90. ,

Smythe, I., Draffan, E.A., Blenkhorn, P., Siegel, L., Gyarmathy, L., Ghitsulete, G. and Andersson, B. (2005) What do we need now? In, Smythe, I. (ed.) Provision and Use of Information Technology with Dyslexic Students in University in Europe (EU funded project). Welsh Dyslexia Project (Minerva EU funding), pp. 105-107. ,

Draffan, E.A. (2006) Enabling Technology. In, Jameson, M. (ed.) Adult Dyslexia: A guide for LearnDirect tutors and support staff. Ufi. ,

Wald, Mike, Seale, Jane and Draffan, E.A. (2008) Disabled Learners’ Experiences of E-learning. Luca, Joseph and Weippl, Edgar R. (eds.) In ED-MEDIA 2008: World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia & Telecommunications. Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education. pp. 6374-6383.

Draffan, E.A., Wald, Mike and Seale, Jane (2008) A Toolkit for Signposting ‘Access for All’ based on Student Experiences of on-line Teaching and Learning Practices. At Accessible Design in the Digital World:new media, new users, new technologies Accessible Design in the Digital World:new media, new users, new technologies. 22 - 24 Sep 2008.

Seale, Jane, Wald, Mike and Draffan, E.A. (2008) Reflections on the value of participatory research methods in developing accessible design in higher education. At Accessible Design in the Digital World:new media, new users, new technologies Accessible Design in the Digital World:new media, new users, new technologies. 22 - 24 Sep 2008.

Draffan, E.A. and Wald, Mike (2008) Post-16 students matching assistive technologies with e-learning materials and social networking applications. At 23rd Annual International Conference on Technology and Persons with Disabilities 23rd Annual International Conference on Technology and Persons with Disabilities, United States.

Seale, J., Wald, M. and Draffan, E.A. (2008) Exploring the technology experiences of disabled learners in higher education: challenges for the use and development of participatory research methods. Journal of Assistive Technologies, 2 (3), 4-15.

Draffan, E.A. (2009) Web Accessibility and Usability—Can It Happen with Flash? Journal of Access Services,, 6 (1 & 2), 303-311.

Kelly, Brian, Nevile, Liddy, Draffan, EA and Fanou, Sotiris (2008) One world, one web ... but great diversity. At 2008 international cross-disciplinary conference on Web accessibility (W4A) 2008 international cross-disciplinary conference on Web accessibility (W4A). 21 - 22 Apr 2008. pp. 141-147.

Draffan, E.A. (2009) Assistive technology. In, Pollak, David (ed.) Neurodiversity in Higher Education: Positive Responses to Specific Learning Differences. Wiley, pp. 217-242. ,

Draffan, E.A. (2008) Tools used for widening access to the web. In, Craven, Jenny (ed.) Web Accessibility: Practical Advice for the Library and Information Professional. Facet, pp. 7-24. ,

Draffan, E.A., Wald, Mike and Seale, Jane (2009) LexDis - Disabled Learners' Experiences of e-learning. ALISS Quarterly, 4 (4), 38 -41.

Wald, Mike, Draffan, E.A. and Seale, Jane (2009) Disabled Learners’ Experiences of E-learning. Jl. of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia, 18 (3), 341-361.

Bacigalupo, David, Warburton, Bill, Draffan, E.A., Zhang, Pei, Gilbert, Lester and Wills, Gary (2010) A Formative eAssessment Co-Design Case Study. At The 10th IEEE International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies The 10th IEEE International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies, Tunisia. 05 - 07 Jul 2010.

Bacigalupo, David, Warburton, Bill, Draffan, E.A., Zhang, Pei, Gilbert, Lester and Wills, Gary (2010) The EASiHE Spanish and British Sign Language Formative eAssessment Case Studies. At CAA 2010 CAA 2010, United Kingdom. 20 - 21 Jul 2010.

Draffan, E.A., Wald, Mike, Newman, Russell, Skuse, Sebastian and Phethean, Christopher (2010) A Technology Toolkit to support accessibility of formative e-assessment for disabled students. At CAA 2010 CAA 2010, United Kingdom. 20 - 21 Jul 2010.

Draffan, E.A. and Hutchins, Jean (2011) Benefits of Information Technology. In, May, Carol (ed.) Employment and Dyslexia Handbook 2011. Information Press Ltd, pp. 129-148. ,

Cudd, Peter, Draffan, E.A., Wald, Mike and Lee, Steve (2011) Designing the marriage of Open Innovation and User Participation. Assistive Technology Research Series, 29, 354-361.

Draffan, E.A., Cudd, Peter, Wald, Mike, Skuse, Sebastian and Lee, Steve (2011) An experiment in online AT open innovation. Assistive Technology Research Series, 29, 378-385.

Draffan, E.A. (2012) Dyslexia, eLearning and eSkills. In, Brunswick, Nicola (ed.) Supporting Dyslexic Adults in Higher Education and the Workplace. Chichester, GB. Wiley, pp. 84-90. , (doi:10.1002/9781119945000.ch9).

Wald, Mike, Draffan, E.A., Skuse, Sebastian, Newman, Russell and Phethean, Chris (2012) Access toolkit for education. At 13th International Conference on Computers Helping People with Special Needs (ICCHP 2012) 13th International Conference on Computers Helping People with Special Needs (ICCHP 2012), Austria. 11 - 13 Jul 2012. 8 pp.

Li, Yunjia, Draffan, E.A., Glaser, Hugh, Millard, Ian, Newman, Russell, Wald, Mike, Wills, Gary and White, Magnus (2012) RailGB: using open accessibility data to help people with disabilities. International Semantic Web Conference 2012, United States. 11 - 15 Nov 2012.

Draffan, E.A. (ed.) (2012) Dyslexia and useful technology, Bracknell, GB. British Dyslexia Association, 135pp. ,

Wald, Mike, Li, Yunjia, Draffan, E.A. and Jing, Wei (2013) Synote mobile HTML5 responsive design video annotation application. International Journal of Advances in Computer Science and its Applications, 3 (2), 207-211.

Wald, Mike, Li, Yunjia, Draffan, E.A. and Wei, Jing (2013) HTML5 video on mobile browsers. International Conference on Information Technology and computer Science (IJITCS), 9 (3), 61-67.

Wald, Mike, Draffan, E.A., Li, Yunjia and Jing, Wei (2013) Synote mobile: HTML5 responsive design video annotation application. At Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Advances in Information Technology (AIT 2013) (05/06/13) Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Advances in Information Technology (AIT 2013). pp. 12-16.

Wald, Mike, Li, Yunjia, Draffan, E.A, Brierley, James, Ivanova, Alyona, Streeting, Robert and Tucker, Matthew (2013) Synote Discussion. Extending Synote to support threaded discussions synchronised with recorded videos. In Proceedings of the Eighth International Conference on Internet and Web Applications and Services. International Academy, Research and Industry Association..

Kelly, Brian, Hassell, Jonathan, Sloan, David, Lukes, Dominik, Draffan, E.A. and Lewthwaite, Sarah (2013) Bring your own policy: why accessibility standards need to be contextually sensitive. Ariadne, 71.

Wald, Mike, Li, Yunjia and Draffan, E.A. (2013) Synote: collaborative mobile learning for all. Procedia Computer Science, 27, 1-10. (doi:10.1016/j.procs.2014.02.027).

Draffan, E.A., McNaught, A. and James, A. (2014) eBooks, accessibility and the catalysts for culture change. In Computers Helping People with Special Needs. vol. 8548, Springer International Publishing. 7 pp, pp. 543-550.

Wald, Mike, Li, Yunjia and Draffan, E.A. (2014) Accessible Collaborative Learning Using Mobile Devices. [in special issue: Information & Communication Technologies in Special Needs Education] Themes in Science and Technology Education, 7 (2), 67-82.

Draffan, E.A., Kadous, Amatullah, Amal, Idris, Zahid, Aejaz, Zeinoin, Nadine, Wald, Mike and Halabi, Nawar (2014) Arabic/English symbol dictionary: early challenges and technological opportunities. Communication Matters, 28 (3), 26-28.

Ding, Chaohai, Halabi, Nawar, Alzaben, Lama, Li, Yunjia, Draffan, E.A. and Wald, Mike (2015) A web based multi-linguists symbol-to-text AAC application. At W4A (Web for All) 2015 – TPG Accessibility Challenge W4A (Web for All) 2015 – TPG Accessibility Challenge, Italy. 18 - 20 May 2015.

Draffan, E.A., Kadous, Amatulla, Amal, Idris, Zahid, Aejaz, Zeinoun, Nadine, Wald, Mike and Halabi, Nawar (2015) Synergistic teamwork using social media for innovative development of an Arabic symbol dictionary. At Innovation Arabia 8: Final Conference Proceedings Innovation Arabia 8: Final Conference Proceedings, United Arab Emirates. 16 - 18 Feb 2015. pp. 371-385.

Draffan, E.A., Wald, M. and Halabi, N. et al. (2015) Generating acceptable Arabic Core Vocabularies and Symbols for AAC users. At 6th Workshop on Speech and Language Processing for Assistive Technologies 6th Workshop on Speech and Language Processing for Assistive Technologies, Germany. 5 pp, pp. 91-96. (doi:10.18653/v1/W15-5116).

Draffan, E.A., Wald, M., Halabi, N., Kadous, A, Idris, A., Zeinoun, N., Banes, D. and Lawand, D. (2015) A Voting System for AAC Symbol Acceptance. At ASSETS ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility ASSETS ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility, Portugal. 2 pp, pp. 371-372.

Draffan, E.A., James, A., Cudd, P. and Bentley, C (2015) Barriers and facilitators to uptake of assistive technologies: summary of a literature exploration. Studies in Health Technology and Informatics, 217, 350-356. (doi:10.3233/978-1-61499-566-1-350). (PMID:26294496)

Draffan, E.A., Wald, M., Dickens, K., Zimmermann, G., Kelle, S., Miesenberger, K. and Petz, A. (2015) Stepwise approach to accessible MOOC development. At Association for the Advancement of Assistive Technology in Europe (AAATE 2015) Association for the Advancement of Assistive Technology in Europe (AAATE 2015), Hungary. 7 pp, pp. 227-234.

Rogers, Neil, Wald, Michael and Draffan, E.A. (2014) Classic accessibility checks fail e-readers. At IFLA WLIC 2014 Postconference Satellite IFLA WLIC 2014 Postconference Satellite, France. 22 - 23 Aug 2014.

Draffan, E.A., James, Abi, Wald, Mike and Idris, Amal (2016) Framework for selecting assistive technology user-participation methods. Journal of Assistive Technologies, 10 (2), 92-101. (doi:10.1108/JAT-01-2016-0007).

James, Abi, Draffan, E.A. and Wald, Mike (2016) Learning through videos: are disabled students using good note-taking strategies? Miesenberger, Klaus, Buhler, Christian and Penaz, Petr (eds.) In Computers Helping People with Special Needs; 15th International Conference, ICCHP 2016 Linz, Austria, July 13–15, 2016 Proceedings, Part I. Springer. 580 pp, pp. 461-467. (doi:10.1007/978-3-319-41264-1_63).

Rogers, Neil, Wald, Mike and Draffan, E.A. (2016) Evaluating the mobile web accessibility of electronic text for print impaired people in higher education. In W4A '16 Proceedings of the 13th Web for All Conference. ACM. 2 pp. (doi:10.1145/2899475.2899504).

Draffan, E.A., James, Abi and Martin, Nicola (2017) Inclusive teaching and learning: what's next? The Journal of Inclusive Practice in Further and Higher Education, 9 (1).

James, Abi, Draffan, E.A. and Wald, Michael (2017) Comparing accessibility auditing methods for ebooks: crowdsourced, functionality-led versus web content methodologies. In Harnessing the Power of Technology to Improve Lives. vol. 242, IOS Press. 6 pp, pp. 969-976. (doi:10.3233/978-1-61499-798-6-665).

James, Abi, Draffan, E.A. and Wald, Michael (2017) Designing Web-Apps for all: how do we include those with cognitive disabilities? In, Harnessing the Power of Technology to Improve Lives. Association for the Advancement of Assistive Technology in Europe 2017 IOS Press, pp. 665-668. (Studies in Health Technology and Informatics, , (doi:10.3233/978-1-61499-798-6-665), 242) , (doi:10.3233/978-1-61499-798-6-665).

Draffan, E.A., James, Abi, Wilkinson, Sue and Viney, D. (2014) Assistive technology and associated training: a survey of students who have received the Disabled Students' Allowances. The Journal of Inclusive Practice in Further and Higher Education, 5, 5-10.

Wilkinson, Sue, Draffan, E.A., James, Abi and Viney, D. (2014) Can we find the missing piece?: A survey of students who have received the Disabled Students' Allowances [DSAs]: Non-Medical Helper Support. The Journal of Inclusive Practice in Further and Higher Education, 5, 56-66.

Draffan, E. A., Leon, Manuel, James, Abi, Aljaloud, Saud and Wald, Mike (2018) Completion, comments and repurposing a digital accessibility MOOC. In Computers Helping People with Special Needs - 16th International Conference, ICCHP 2018, Proceedings. vol. 10896 LNCS, Springer Verlag. 8 pp, pp. 138-145. (doi:10.1007/978-3-319-94277-3_24).

Draffan, E. A. and Heumader, Peter (2018) Accessible elearning - Elearning for accessibility/AT: Introduction to the special thematic session. Miesenberger, K and Kouroupetroglou, G (eds.) In Computers Helping People with Special Needs ICCHP 2018. vol. 10896 LNCS, Springer Verlag. 5 pp, pp. 133-137. (doi:10.1007/978-3-319-94277-3_23).

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