Washington State Accessible IT Capacity Building Institute on Policy #188 (Dec 2018)

Tuesday, December 4, 2018
Seattle, WA

This publication shares the proceedings of Washington State Accessible IT Capacity Building Institute on Policy #188, which was held in Seattle, Washington on December 4, 2018. Attendees included disability service and computing professionals; some were Policy #188 coordinators for their postsecondary institutions across Washington State Policy #188 serves to ensure that IT procured, developed, and used by state agencies, including public colleges and universities, is accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities.

These proceedings may be useful for people who

  • participated in the CBI,
  • have been identified to be the coordinator regarding the agency’s information technology accessibility plan,
  • are developing policy and processes to support and ensure compliance with this policy and associated standard, and
  • are addressing similar accessible IT issues at postsecondary institutions nationwide.

This event was sponsored by UW Accessible Technology Services (ATS) at the University of Washington (UW), a UW-IT (University of Washington Information Technology) unit that directs both the Access Technology and DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology) Centers. The meeting was facilitated by Dr. Sheryl Burgstahler, the director of ATS. ATS’s two centers are dedicated to empowering people with disabilities through technology and education. They promote awareness and accessibility to maximize the potential of individuals with disabilities and make our communities more vibrant, diverse, and inclusive.

The DO-IT Center strives to

  • increase the success of people with disabilities in challenging academic programs and careers;
  • promote the application of universal design to physical spaces, information technology, instruction, and services;
  • freely distribute online content, publications, and videos for use in presentations, exhibits, and the classroom; and
  • provide resources for students with disabilities, K-12 educators, postsecondary faculty and administrators, librarians, employers, parents, and mentors.

The Access Technology Center (ATC) focuses on ensuring UW students, faculty, and staff with disabilities have the same access to technology—including computers, software, and special equipment—as other students, faculty, and staff. ATC staff help individuals select and use assistive technology and supports a showroom with numerous products:

  • speech and braille output
  • screen magnification
  • alternatives to the keyboard and mouse
  • speech recognition software
  • tools to make reading and writing easier and computer use more comfortable
  • the capacity to create documents in e-text and braille

The showroom includes a collection of accessible science equipment such as automatic stirrers, tactile measuring devices, and talking calculators. The ATC provides braille embossing and tactile graphics for the UW community.

ATC staff promote the development and use of accessible technology products by

  • encouraging student computing facilities to include assistive technology;
  • offering courses, delivering presentations, and conducting ATC tours for UW classes and other groups;
  • working with campus units to prepare documents, videos, and other materials in accessible electronic formats;
  • assisting campus web developers in designing accessible websites and applications;
  • working with vendors of IT products used by the UW to improve accessibility; and
  • supporting a central resource to provide guidance to technologists and administrators at the UW and beyond.

About the CBI

The Washington State Accessible IT Capacity Building Institute on Policy #188 provided a forum for prioritizing work to help every institution meet the requirements presented in the Policy established in 2016. Attendees included disability service and computing professionals and Policy #188 coordinators from postsecondary institutions across Washington State. This CBI aimed to improve the accessibility of IT developed, procured, and used by Washington State postsecondary institutions. Our objectives include increasing our capacity to build upon the following:

  • understanding of federal legislation and Washington State Policy #188
  • knowledge of successful practices
  • relationships between those who implement Policy #188

The CBI included presentations and discussions. Participants from various institutions shared promising practices and successful endeavors in accessible IT. In small working groups, participants also responded to the following questions:

  • What is (1) helping and (2) holding back your progress on implementing Policy #188?
  • What are key steps you are planning to take to implement Policy #188, short term and long term?

In this CBI

  • all participants contributed to its success,
  • experts in key topic areas were in the audience, and
  • new ideas evolved from discussions.

CBI participants shared their diverse perspectives and expertise. The agenda for the CBI and summaries of the presentations are provided on the following pages.


Location: Husky Union Building (HUB) 145, UW Seattle Campus

Hosted by Accessible Technology Services (ATS), UW-IT

Moderator: Sheryl Burgstahler, Director ATS

8:30 – 9:00 am
Pastries, Fruit, Coffee, Tea, Informal Networking

9:00 – 10:00 am
Welcome, Introductions, Goals, Objectives, Overview,
Sheryl Burgstahler
Meeting Goal: Improve the accessibility of IT developed, procured, & used by public postsecondary institutions in Washington State
Objectives: Increase understanding of requirements of Policy #188, share & develop plans for implementing Policy, and build relationships between those implementing Policy state-wide.

10:00 – 11:00 am
Evolving WCAG Guidelines
, Terrill Thompson, UW ATS Accessible Technology Specialist

11:00 – 11:15 am

11:15 – 11:45 am
Update on Policy #188
, Ryan Leisinger, WATech

11:45 – 12:45 pm
Small Group Discussion & Lunch
: What is (1) helping and (2) holding back your progress on implementing Policy #188?
Write responses on post-its & place on poster sheet under two columns.

12:45 – 1:15 pm
Report Out From Small Group Discussions

1:15 – 2:45 pm
Panel of Participants Sharing Promising Practices for Implementing Policy #188

Each will speak up to 15 minutes about overall progress or a specific successful practice. Q&A for all will be at the very end.

  • Carly Gerard, Western Washington University
  • Bridget Irish, The Evergreen State College
  • Ana Thompson, University of Washington, Bothell
  • Joetta Sieglock, Eastern Washington University

2:45 – 3:00 pm

3:00 – 3:30 pm
Small Group Discussions: What are key steps you are planning to take to implement Policy #188, short term and long term?

Write responses on post-its & organize on poster sheet in categories.

3:30 – 4:00 pm
Report Out From Small Group Discussions

4:00 – 4:30 pm
Conclusion, Comments, Future Plans & Evaluation

Discussion Summaries

What is (1) helping and (2) holding back your progress on implementing Policy #188?

Factors that promote IT accessibility efforts include the following:

  • Access360 grants that offer a yearlong mentorship opportunity for cross-functional campus teams as they implement accessibility policies on a broad scale to effectively, efficiently and equitably serve students, employees and community members
  • capacity building institutes that offer opportunities to talk more in depth about accessibility issues and find more resources
  • strong support received from campus leadership, supervisors, purchasing, administration, faculty, and other groups
  • trainings offered to staff and faculty
  • ongoing engagement continued across campus through events, emails, workshops, reminders, and discussion groups
  • resources offered by Washington State Board for Community & Technical Colleges, Accessible Technology Services, Disability Services, and other groups
  • committees created to continue engaging on accessibility topics and push for change around campuses
  • standards confirmed and stipulated in a method that is easy to understand, carry out, and enforce

Factors that hold IT accessibility efforts back include the following:

  • inadequate numbers of staff members to tackle necessary tasks
  • not enough people educated in accessibility issues
  • lack of appropriate resources to share
  • a procurement process that does not always consider accessibility when purchasing new hardware and software
  • costs to make IT accessible that are higher than the institution or individual departments are willing to pay
  • the State‘s lack of processes in place to enforce accountability practices
  • staff and faculty that resist change or see accessibility as a disability services not an IT issue
  • lack of mandatory IT accessibility trainings for all staff and faculty
  • inadequate buy-in from leadership can make accessibility a lower priority
  • inaccessible testing software and methods, creating a complication for faculty and students
  • different website platforms that offer different accessibility features, thus making it difficult to train the average web developer or staff member on accessible practices

What are key steps you are planning to take to implement Policy #188, short term and long term?

Short term, we plan to

  • set regular meeting schedule and invite new members to the Accessible Technology Team;
  • keep stakeholders and others on campus informed on a quarterly basis, as well as share resources and awareness;
  • determine spending costs on training options and create a schedule of training opportunities;
  • reorganize the budget to include accessibility practices;
  • select which staff can follow through with specific tasks and create an ongoing auditing process;
  • review all policies and make sure all standards include accessibility; and
  • update Canvas resources for faculty to include more demonstrable accessibility info.

Long term, we plan to

  • follow through with scheduled, routine audits of accessibility;
  • review and revise the accessibility plan to include specific language, suggestions for Benchmark Survey of Access360, an executive summary, a training schedule, and target deadlines;
  • establish workflows for approving procurements, design, and modification of web applications;
  • establish a team for testing applications and systems for compliance;
  • identify stable, long-term funding for captioning, as well as assign staff to coordinate;
  • identify staff to run training for accessible document creation and promote these trainings to faculty and staff. Offer PDF remediation and conversion to HTML for some;
  • meet again after Policy #188 is updated;
  • add accessibility knowledge to job descriptions;
  • train web developers and publishers on WCAG;
  • update procedures in October 2019 to match new WCAG 3.0;
  • meet with leadership teams to help get buy-in and create higher priorities for accessibility;
  • include students with disabilities who could assist in reviewing, testing, and developing accessible technology; and
  • create a campus-wide plan for accessibility.

CBI Participants

Stakeholder groups represented in the CBI included

  • disability student service leaders and administrators,
  • postsecondary IT professionals, and
  • Policy #188 coordinators.

The following individuals participated in the CBI.

Ana Thompson
UW Bothell

Anna Marie Golden
University of Washington

Ashley Magdall
University of Washington Bothell

Bridget Irish
The Evergreen State College

Carly Gerard
Western Washington University

Curtis Perera
Bellingham Technical College

Dale Coleman
Tacoma Community College

Dan Comden
University of Washington

Danny Messina
Eastern Washington University

David Engebretson Jr.
Western Washington University

Doug Hayman
University of Washington

Gaby de Jongh
University of Washington

Hadi Rangin
University of Washington

Ian Campbell
University of Washington

Jeane Marty
UW Bothell

Jessica Carey
Clover Park Technical College

Joel Gavino
Pierce College

Joetta Sieglocki
Eastern Washington University

Justin Busby
Yakima Valley CC

Karla Ealy-Marroquin
WSU Spokane Health Sciences

Kathleen chambers
North Seattle College

Linda Schoonmaker
Big Bend Community College

Lora Allen
Big Bend Community College

Lyla Crawford
University of Washington

Marisa Hackett
Renton Technical College

Mary Gerard
Bellingham Technical College

Max Bronsema
Western Washington University

Rose Madison
Everett Community College

Ryan Leisinger
WA State

Sheryl Burgstahler
University of Washington

Susie Hawkey
University of Washington

Terrill Thompson
University of Washington

Communities of Practice

UW Accessible Technology Services engages stakeholders within Communities of Practice (CoPs). CoP members share perspectives and expertise and identify practices that promote the participation of people with disabilities in postsecondary education.

Accessible IT CoP

This CoP is populated with disability services and IT professionals interested in increasing the accessibility of IT in postsecondary education, particularly in Washington State. Participants

  • exchange information, ideas, and suggestions for future collaboration,
  • gain and share knowledge and help identify issues related to IT accessibility in higher education, and
  • recruit others to participate in the CoP.

Universal Design in Higher Education CoP

This CoP is comprised of individuals interested in exploring universal design (UD) and its applications in higher education. Participants on this CoP discuss

  • promising practices for infusing universal design on postsecondary campuses;
  • applying UD to all educational opportunities that include instruction, technology, student services and physical spaces; and
  • specific topics in the book Universal Design and Higher Education: From Principles to Practice and contribute materials to be shared through the Center on Universal Design in Education.

Accessible Distance Learning CoP

Distance learning program administrators, instructors, and support staff use the Accessible Distance Learning CoP to increase their knowledge about disabilities and make changes in distance learning that lead to more inclusive practices. Members discuss

  • management,
  • staffing,
  • training, and
  • policy issues related to creating accessible distance learning courses and programs.

You and your colleagues can join the CoP by sending the following information to doit@uw.edu:

  • name
  • position/title
  • institution
  • postal address
  • email address
  • name of the CoP

or information about other CoPs, consult our website.


You can find the full text for Policy #188, including the minimum accessibility standard, here.

The UW’s Accessible Technology website includes comprehensive resources that include the following:

  • the IT accessibility policy and guidelines for the UW
  • UW progress and plans regarding IT accessibility
  • IT accessibility legal issues, civil rights complaints, and resolutions at postsecondary institutions nationwide
  • instructions and tips for making IT accessible, along with related procurement and other processes that support IT accessibility
  • additional resources for the procurement, development, and use of accessible IT

The DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology) website contains

  • information about DO-IT projects.
  • evidence-based practices that DO-IT employs to increase the success of individuals with disabilities, particularly in college and careers and using technology as an empowering tool.
  • resources for students with disabilities pursuing college and careers.
  • guidelines to help K-12 teachers, postsecondary faculty, and educational administrators support the success of individuals with disabilities.
  • guidelines and resources for making IT developed, procured, and used accessible to everyone, including individuals with disabilities.

DO-IT maintains a searchable database of more than 800 frequently asked questions, case studies, and promising practices related to how educators and employers can fully include students with disabilities. The Knowledge Base is an excellent resource for ideas that can be implemented in programs in order to better serve students with disabilities. In particular, the promising practices articles serve to spread the word about practices that show evidence of improving the participation of people with disabilities in postsecondary education. Examples of Knowledge Base questions include the following:

  • Are electronic whiteboards accessible to people with disabilities?
  • Are peer review tools accessible?
  • Are there computer keyboards designed to be used with only one hand?
  • Are touch screens accessible?
  • Do postsecondary institutions have to provide assistive technology (for example, screen enlargement or voice recognition software) to students with disabilities who enroll in distance learning courses?
  • Does a postsecondary institution have to provide specific hardware or software (known as assistive technology) that an individual with a disability requests so that they can access information technology used on campus?
  • Does making our school web content accessible mean I cannot use multimedia on my site?
  • How can educational entities determine if their websites are accessible?

Individuals and organizations are encouraged to link to the Knowledge Base from their websites and also to propose new questions and answers, case studies, and promising practices for the Knowledge Base. Send contributions and suggestions to doit@uw.edu.

The AccessDL website shares resources for making distance learning and online courses accessible.

Accessible University’s website featuring common web accessibility principles and solutions..

Information on universal design in education can be found at the Center for Universal Design in Education.

Conferences can be a great way to share resources, collaborate, and come up with new ideas. Consider attending the following:


The Washington State Accessible IT Capacity Building Institute on Policy #188 was funded by Access Technology Services at the University of Washington. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the CBI presenters, attendees, and publication authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the University of Washington.

Accessible Technology Services
University of Washington
Box 354842
Seattle, WA 98195-4842
206-685-3648 (voice/TTY)
888-972-3648 (toll free voice/TTY)
206-221-4171 (FAX)
509-328-9331 (voice/TTY) Spokane

© 2018 University of Washington. Permission is granted to copy this publication for educational, noncommercial purposes, provided the source is acknowledged.