Washington IT Accessibility in Higher Education (2016)

In the students with disabilities panel, Hannah holds the mic to Blake's assistive technology.

Proceedings of the February 2016 IT Accessibility in Higher Education Capacity Building Institute (CBI)

This publication shares the proceedings of IT Accessibility in Higher Education, a capacity building institute (CBI) held in Seattle, Washington on February 11 – 12, 2016. Attendees included disability service professionals, individuals with disabilities, and information technology (IT) professionals from across Washington State. These proceedings may be useful for people who

  • participated in the CBI
  • want to ensure that people with disabilities have access to postsecondary education
  • would like to access resources and explore strategies to help make their campus IT more accessible
  • have promising practices to share with others

This event was sponsored by UW Accessible Technology Services at the University of Washington (UW), a UW-IT (University of Washington Information Technology) unit that supports both the Access Technology and DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology) Centers. These 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
  • 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 students, faculty, and staff with disabilities have access to technology—including computers, software, and special equipment—that supports them in accomplishing their work. ATC staff help individuals select and use assistive technology and supports a showroom with numerous products, including

  • 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 show room 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 materials in accessible electronic formats
  • assisting department web developers in designing accessible websites and applications
  • supporting a central resource to provide guidance to technologists and administrators at the UW and beyond