Mid- 2019 Accessibility Initiative Update

The Faculty Resource Center’s Technology Accessibility team, housed in the Office of Information Technology (OIT), continues to lead the initiative to provide our technology users, including those with disabilities, a functional and accessible technology experience with our web presence and our instructional and emerging technologies. A major accomplishment this year was the approval of The University of Alabama Web Resources Accessibility Policy (PDF), which adopts WCAG 2.0 AA to address the accessibility of public-facing web resources, campus-wide web resources, and web resources needed to conduct core University administrative and academic function, including equally effective alternate access and non-compliance plans.

Additional efforts since our last update include:

  • Resolving 825 tickets in the HelpSpot customer service/support ticket system.
  • Offering 56 workshops and webinars, including offerings on web accessibility; best practices for creating accessible documents, presentations, spreadsheets, emails, social media, and other digital content; Universal Design for Learning; and other accessibility-related topics.
  • Captioning and/or transcribing over 7000 minutes of media through UA captioning grants. Captioning grants may be used to caption and/or transcribe UA-owned video and audio that will be shared on public or campus-wide websites.
  • Running 2000+ Accessibility Management Platform reports. Accessibility Management Platform (AMP) is a comprehensive accessibility and reporting tool freely available to members of the UA community.
  • Hosting Texthelp experts who offered intensive training on literacy support tools freely available to all UA students, faculty and staff: Read&Write, a literacy support solution with tools for reading, writing, research and studying; EquatIO, an application you can use to type, handwrite or speak to create equations, formulas, and other math and chemistry expressions; and Snapverter, an easy to use add-on for Read&Write for Google Chrome and iOS app that transforms papers and files into readable PDF documents.
  • Partnering with the College of Continuing Studies to plan and present a cross-campus Invisible Disabilities workshop.
  • Hosting the Accessing Higher Ground Virtual Conference.

Additionally, as of May 2019, both our Technology Accessibility Specialists have now earned IAAP Certified Professional in Accessibility Core Competencies (CPACC) certification. The CPACC credential represents broad, cross-disciplinary conceptual knowledge about 1) disabilities, 2) accessibility and universal design, and 3) accessibility-related standards, laws, and management strategies.

We continue to:

  • Maintain a campus technology and web site inventory, including technology accessibility status.
  • Conduct site audits, sharing evaluation reports with area liaisons who will handle remediation with our assistance.
  • Provide technology accessibility policy guidance to stakeholders who select, create, or share digital content.
  • Facilitate accurate captioning and or transcription of all public-facing and campus wide media, including the administration of captioning grants and training.
  • Work with campus stakeholders and accessibility liaisons to ensure the accessibility of instructional content housed in Blackboard Learn or other enterprise instructional technology tools.
  • Manage licensing and support of enterprise assistive technology tools (currently Texthelp and ZoomText).
  • Consult with and assist campus liaisons and other stakeholders with all technology accessibility concerns and questions.

Plans for this coming year include the continued implementation of The University of Alabama Web Resources Accessibility Policy, including initial compliance reviews, as well as partnering with the University’s Department of Human Resources to add accessibility-related content to the new UA LMS comprehensive professional development library.