Online Learning Capacity Building Institute (2019)

Accessible Technology Services
University of Washington
Seattle, WA

This publication shares the proceedings of the Washington State Online Learning Capacity Building Institute that was held on May 14, 2019, at the University of Washington, Seattle. The content may be useful for people who

  • participated in the CBI,
  • create online learning tools,
  • promote the inclusive design of online learning technology and practices through the application of universal design principles and strategies,
  • seek to increase their understanding of issues surrounding the participation of students with disabilities in online learning opportunities,
  • would like to access resources to help make their online learning tools welcoming to, accessible to, and usable by everyone, including those with disabilities, and/or
  • have promising practices to share with others.

This event was sponsored by 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;
  • 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 or potentially used by the UW to improve accessibility; and
  • supporting a central resource to provide guidance to technologists and administrators at the UW and beyond.