- Mar 2021
The Landscape of Digital Accessibility in Higher Education
Charles Collick Jr, Rutgers
Pat Kogos, University of Chicago
Nate Evans, Michigan State University
Handling legacy applications
- Involve students! Paid or volunteer. They can edit captions, add alt text, etc, and have first-hand perspective on student needs & experience
- Use a priority-based approach to determine how you can make the biggest impact on faculty and students
- If anything can be sunset, retire it rather than allocating resources toward overhauling
- Anything that has high usage and directly impacts learning & research activities should be hi-pri
Securing budget for a11y & promoting culture
- Focus on storytelling and "sell" the need for a11y as much as possible. Start with the "why" before trying to secure cash
- Focus on the benefits rather than threatening with negative consequences
- Diversity, Equity & Inclusion gaining traction in the higher ed world right now. Those are likely the ideal folks to partner with.
- Student experience also a more popular topic these days - tie to a11y.
- "Get in trouble" - call attention to things that aren't accessible, taking to Twitter/public forums when appropriate
- While the speakers on this panel don't participate in buying consortiums, lots of info sharing (if one school reviews a tool for a11y they might share the results of those audits across the consortium)
- To watch: Big 10 Alliance: Library E-Resource Accessibility
Tools used to evaluate a11y and share results back to content owners
- Enterprise tools allow for more robust reporting than free tools
- Using built-in a11y tools in Canvas, Blackboard Ally
- Axe & Deque are popular tools
Getting Faculty buy-in
- Teaching & Learning with Tech groups help with outreach
- Make a11y part of conversation about course design & pedagogy
What initiatives are you excited about for 2021? And If you could recommend ONE change to improve web a11y in higher ed, what would that be?
- Rutgers: Initiatives: New procurement process, Ally rollout, and mandatory training for IT. The one recommended change: awareness.
- U Chicago: Initiatives: Scaling up use of enterprise tool, training for IT staff & faculty. 1 Recommended change: integrating a11y into processes from beginning.
- U Mich: launching a11y audit team, including hiring students. 1 recommended change: don't think you have to be perfect to get started or make progress.