Administrators at Purdue University are working to raise awareness of web accessibility issues and educate employees on how to create websites that are accessible to individuals with a broad range of disabilities. The campus-wide Web Accessibility Committee (WAC) drafted a campus Web Accessibility Policy, created and maintained a website containing web accessibility information and resources, and developed and delivered Accessible Web Design training sessions.
After instituting the Web Accessibility Policy, the WAC and the Office of Institutional Equity received many requests for training on how to make PDF documents and forms more accessible to individuals with disabilities. In response, WAC held a series of workshops that used a train-the-trainer model to empower individuals across campus to improve accessibility and share their expertise with others.
Purdue applied for an AccessComputing minigrant to fund expenses for Terrill Thompson, AccessComputing Technology Accessibility Specialist, to provide hands-on training and lecture-based instruction. Thompson led train-the-trainer sessions for WAC members, and several sessions on PDF accessibility open to all faculty and staff. Attendees agreed to assist with subsequent trainings and to be resources in their academic departments or administrative units. When participants were asked to describe how they intend to implement what they have learned, many individuals described extensive plans. They included fixing PDF documents already online, integrating information into resources related to web design, creating training materials for departmental staff, and sharing the information with students.
The training sessions were recorded to reach those who could not attend. Recordings have been closed captioned and posted on the WAC website, allowing regional campuses to link to the training videos directly or post them on their own websites. More information on Purdue's Web Accessibility efforts is available at www.purdue.edu/webaccessibility/.
You can find more information about applying for AccessComputing minigrants to support training, experiential learning, and other computing and information technology (IT)-related activities at www.uw.edu/accesscomputing/minigrant.html.