What strategies can disability and information technology (IT) professionals implement to encourage accessibility of webpages, videos, and documents on their campuses?
Steps that disability and IT professionals can take to ensure the accessibility of their campus IT resources include:
- Create a video starring campus leaders inviting administrator and faculty buy-in for campus-wide accessibility in order to raise awareness and build acceptance.
- Develop an accessible campus guide to instruct professors and staff on inclusive practices as well as start a big-picture conversation.
- Collaborate with other institutions to push accessibility. This could include weekly accessibility tips, strategic IT project planning, and the promotion of searchable captions to improve everyone’s experience.
- Share resources with other schools.
- Hold training sessions with stakeholders, including those in IT positions and in disability student services, marketing communications, and faculty. Teach participants about web and document accessibility and about the sort of assistive technology their students might use.
- Create an interdepartmental accessibility task force at each college to set realistic goals. Track activities and create an annual report.
- Make sure there is a strong, ongoing relationship between disability services and IT staff. A partnership puts accessibility at the forefront of IT projects and teaches members of IT about disability, accommodations, and universal design. Provide training and plan goals together.
- Hold paid strategizing sessions with students with disabilities to encourage participation and better understand accessibility problems and solutions.
- Focus on short-term goals and long-term goals separately. Choose what you can fix now by looking at Office of Civil Rights (OCR) cases for ideas on what can be changed easily and then plan for the future. Creating a gap analysis is a great way to set the ideal situation and see where you need to close the gap.
- Send stakeholders to conferences on accessibility including Accessing Higher Ground and the California State University Northridge Annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference.
For more information on how disability and IT professionals can ensure the accessibility of their campus IT resources consult the Proceedings of the February 2015 IT Accessibility in Higher Education Capacity Building Institute (CBI).