AccessComputing partners are considering and implementing a variety of interventions in order to make their computing or IT programs more welcoming and accessible to students, including veterans, with disabilities. Listed below are some ideas generated by AccessComputing project staff and partners.
Institutional partners can receive assistance with implementing any of these activities by contacting AccessComputing program coordinator Brianna Blaser (firstname.lastname@example.org). Other institutions can benefit from considering this list as well as articles posted in the AccessComputing Knowledge Base.
- Bring together representatives from multiple campus and community stakeholder groups to conduct a Capacity-Building Institute (CBI) to shine a light on accessibility issues and brainstorm solutions. Guidelines for conducting a CBI on your campus can be found in the publication Building Capacity for a Welcoming and Accessible Postsecondary Institution. Sample proceedings from CBIs can be found on the DO-IT Capacity-Building Institutes page.
- Pull together a team to review Equal Access: Universal Design of Computer Labs and select and implement strategies for making a computer lab more accessible to students with disabilities.
- Pull together a team to review Equal Access: Universal Design of Computing Departments and select and implement strategies for making a computer science or IT department more welcoming and accessible to students with disabilities.
- Form a Community of Practice (CoP) on your campus with representatives of computing/IT faculty and staff, disability services, other student services, the campus veterans organization, students with disabilities and other stakeholders to regularly meet (e.g., quarterly) to discuss ways the campus and specifically computing/IT departments and services can be made more accessible to students with disabilities.
- Invite someone from the disability services office to attend a faculty meeting to talk about accessible design and accommodations for students with disabilities. Work with this office to arrange for a panel of students with disabilities to present their experiences and recommendations at a faculty or other meeting.
- Take steps to make sure that data on disability status is collected whenever data on gender and race/ethnicity is collected from students.
- Link to resources from a faculty resource web page. Consider linking to AccessComputing, The Faculty Room, The Center for Universal Design in Education, and the campus unit that provides disability-related services to students.
- Develop a campus website on accessible technology design and encourage campus units to link to it. Or, refer them to an existing site such as the University of Washington IT Accessibility site.
- Host an intern with a disability to help with a project designed to make your computing/IT department or campus more accessible or to work on a research project.
- Apply to AccessComputing for a minigrant to support these activities.
- Review your department or institutional websites for accessibility.
- Increase awareness in your department that individuals with disabilities can be successful in computing. Bring speakers with disabilities to your department. If pictures of people are used on your website or publications, consider adding pictures of individuals with disabilities.
- Encourage students with disabilities to apply to be a part of the AccessComputing team in order to receive mentoring and learn about internship opportunities.
- Write descriptions of activities you've participated in that have made your department more welcoming or accessible. Share them with other AccessComputing partners by publishing them as a Promising Practice in the AccessComputing Knowledge Base.
- Plan activities to introduce pre-college, community college or 4-year college students with disabilities to computing as a career option. Consider introducing them to professionals, familiarizing them with education requirements, and engaging in hands-on activities. You might plan a workshop, a summer camp, a weekend class, or a discovery day for the students.
- Build awareness of accessibility research in your department. Consider bringing speakers to campus for talks or teaching a class for students.
- Invite someone from the veterans services office to attend a faculty meeting to talk about the experiences of veterans on campus and offer suggestions for working with student veterans.
- Form a student advisory group of students with disabilities that can meet virtually or in person to advise your department about things that can be done to make the department more welcoming or accessible.