Bill Welsh Power Point Presentation

Office of Disability Services
Presentation by Bill Welsh to the Montana
Accessibility Interest Group
November 7, 2014
Office of Disability Services
Bill Welsh
• Executive Director, the Office for Disability Services
Rutgers University, New Brunswick, N.J. (April 2013present) [email protected]
• Director, the Office for Disability Services
Penn State University (1999 – April, 2013)
• Former member co-chair, Penn State’s Accessible
Technology & Information (ATI) committee (20112013).
• Access4All, LLC Consulting
owner and consultant
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Outline for Today’s Talk
1. Different way of thinking about accessibility and
responsibility. Changing the mindset to usability for all.
2. Overview of the PSU plan and changes to the culture.
3. Starting over at Rutgers. A proactive approach without a
complaint. Lessons learned.
4. Strategies learned from both experiences. How to move
from why to how and who to involve?
5. Final Thoughts about the future.
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General Comments
• Too much emphasis on the law
• Need more emphasis on usability and design for
• Knowledge is very Powerful!
• Being proactive increases revenue and provides
access for people from many groups
• Vision for the future: Proactive design for
everyone rather than accommodations
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Disability Statements that make an
• Significant increases in enrollment to college.
• People with disabilities complete college at a lower rate than
• The nation's largest minority group, and the only group any of
us can become a member of at any time.
• The single largest minority group seeking employment in
today's marketplace.
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Who is Responsible?
It’s not my problem, it’s yours
You take care of YOUR people,
we’ll take care of everyone else
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Changing the Reasons
• Technology lawsuits and compliance
• Potential accreditation issues for higher ed.
• Diversity issue and social justice components
• Potential financial losses created by bad press.
• Since 1 in 5 have a disability, would you consider leaving 20% of
potential customers and revenue out?
• Accessible technology may also mean usable by most!
• It’s the right thing to do!
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Accessibility and Usability
• Accessibility is about ensuring an equivalent
experience for people with disabilities
• Usability is about designing products to be
effective, efficient, and satisfying
• Usable accessibility combines usability and
accessibility to develop positive user experiences
for everyone
Source: World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
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Practice Groups
• Practice group: a group of people who share an interest
a particular domain or area. It is through the process of
sharing information and experiences with the group that the
members learn from each other, and have an opportunity to
develop themselves personally and professionally (Lave &
Wenger 1991).
• Knowledge and understanding is key to success of any
organization for a cultural shift to occur.
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NFB Complaint
• November 2010, National Federation for the Blind (NFB) filed
complaint against Penn State.
• NFB contends a variety of technologies are inaccessible to
individuals who are blind at PSU.
• Included websites, Angel (course mgmt. system), clickers, ATM’s,
smart podiums, library search engines and databases.
• October 2011, agreement to resolve the complaint includes
timelines for the next three years.
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Accessible Technology and Information Committee
• Develop trainings and best practices for faculty, staff, students
on accessible information and technology.
• Develop and maintain coordinated efforts on resources, tools,
trainings and best practices.
• Identify additional system-wide resources required.
• Development of Practice Groups to meet strategic plan and
implementation goals and objectives.
• Reorganization of IT to include an accessibility division for all
information and technology at university.
• Little additional funding streams or staff.
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Highlights of the ATI Committee
The ATI committee at Penn State established university-wide
communities of practice groups that include:
• Web accessibility review and implementation
• Accessibility training incorporated into other trainings
• a University-wide accessibility web site - Penn State's
Accessibility and Usability web page
• Accessible online learning; captioning; assistive and adaptive
technology; accessible instructional materials.
• Procurement
• University Libraries accessibility initiative
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PSU Assessments
• Yearly progress reports
• Reports of training sessions, attendance, what departments
attended and evaluations at each event.
• Reports from HiSoftware
• Feedback and collaboration using Yammer, social media site.
• Purchasing worked with ITS to vet all technology purchases
for accessibility. Not just accepting VPAT’s but real user
experiences and assessments of technology and information.
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Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC)
Information Technology Accessibility Group (ITAG)
• Formed in 2012, supported by CIO’s at each institution.
• Partner on various projects:
Vendor Relations and Procurement
Media Player
Open Web Accessibility Alliance
– New group-Training and possibly electronic course materials
• Working together to pool resources and efforts across the
country on accessible technology and information
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First Year Plan at Rutgers
Goals and Tasks for Web Accessibility
Fall 2013
Various university departments met to discuss plans
for developing web accessibility.
Web accessibility policy draft completed.
Timeline for University Web Policy drafted.
3 year strategic plan for policy implementation drafted.
First meeting of online accessibility group.
RU WCAG Executive Council formed and charged.
Summer 2014
RU WCAG Executive Council approved policy and
Fall 2014
CIO and Executive Vice Chancellor approved policy
Position for Manager of Accessible Technology
approved and posted.
Instructional designer and web tech. position posted.
Spring –Summer
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First Year Lessons learned:
• First year Web accessibility plan:
 Don’t take on the whole Web Content Accessibility Guidelines
 Break training into small bites and pieces
 Audit/scan websites, use free tools whenever possible
 Work with web designers/developers to remediate problems
 IT and disability services should work together, learn from each other!!
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Additional First Year Plans
• University Libraries, Disability Services, OIT and Learning Centers
are partnering to create a Learning Technologies Lab in the Main
• Staffed by an AT specialist, Learning Center personnel, with support
from help desk and IT specialists.
• Collaborative space for:
– Creating alternative format course materials
– Assistive and adaptive technologies for all
– Meeting with all students who want to learn more about learning
technologies: apps, tablets, software, freeware etc.
– Providing a technology intake for all students to determine appropriate
learning technologies
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Proposed Second Year Plan at Rutgers:
• Creating training videos for various roles; Allow
for certification or simply knowledge.
• Meet with units one-on-one to assist in implementation plans,
reports, and assessment.
• University-wide trainings, webinars and conferences to assist
in developing knowledge base. Continue Training Plan
throughout the year.
• Look at infrastructure of IT departments and where resources
can be shared to assist in efforts.
• Focus on purchasing policies and vendor relations.
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Online Course Accessibility at Rutgers
• Buy-in from VP for online courses.
• Developed online accessibility practice group
• Developing online course accessibility policy and best
• Ensure instructional technologies are compliant
Acquisition of New Technologies
Technologies currently in use (fix or replace)
Evaluate accessibility issues when considering new technology
Work with current vendors to resolve compliance issues
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Online Accessibility
• Quality Matters (includes accessibility)
– QM Certification for Rutgers Faculty
– QM Course Audits
• Development of Accessibility Resources:
Rutgers Online Accessibility web site
• Online Faculty Training: Online Teaching Certificate (4 SixWeek Courses)
– Accessibility and Compliance in Online Education
– Online Faculty Training Courses at Rutgers
• Training the Trainer
– Specialized Training for Instructional Designers, and those
assisting faculty with online course design
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Online Learning
• Online learning conference every year will include
accessibility workshops (400 conference attendees, mostly
• Ensure instructional technologies are compliant:
Acquisition of New Technologies
Technologies currently in use (fix or replace)
Evaluate accessibility issues when considering new technology options
Work with current vendors to resolve compliance issues
• Increasing number of platforms at Rutgers (4 major platforms,
plus some lesser-known examples)
• No perfect solutions regarding learning management systems.
• 100% compliance is difficult to attain, but a plan is in place
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What Can We Learn from these Cases?
1. No longer is separate, but equal acceptable.
2. Have a strategic plan and timeline
3. Have a policy or refine policies to meet current standards.
4. Training is key. Knowledge is power!
5. Start Somewhere and use these cases as Road Maps.
6. The Department of Justice, the Office of Civil Rights, the EEOC
and now the Congress mean business.
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Who To Involve?
Form a committee! Develop Practice groups!
Obtain buy-in from:
IT staff/Web developers/Instructional Designers
Disability Services Staff
IT Administrators
Academic Administrators
Faculty and Faculty Senate
Online Course Administrators
Procurement Management
Training Services
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Road Map to Success
Obtain Buy-in from administrators.
Create practice groups for oversight charged by
Assess current initiatives and resources.
Benchmark with similar institutions and share with
Develop policies and procedures.
Develop strategic plans.
Determine responsible parties or units.
Develop strategies for assessing progress.
Report progress publicly and to administrators.
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Final Thoughts
• Develop a university-wide strategic plan, policies, and
initiatives with realistic goals and timelines and obtain buy in
from highest levels.
• Develop resources, tools, trainings, workshops and best
practices to train faculty, staff and students on how to make
technology and information accessible.
• Knowledge allows change to happen!
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Online Course Accessibility Resources
• Sloan Journal, Volume 17, Issue 3
• California Community Colleges Distance Education
• 3 Play Media White Paper on Accessibility
• Sloan Consortium Project One for Online Education

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