Spring 2021 Accessibility Initiative Update

The University of Alabama 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 and to help our institution’s faculty, staff, and students develop digital resources that are accessible to all. Since March 2020, we have been exerting much of our efforts to help make sure newly virtual and remote resources and events are as accessible as possible.

We have seen substantial growth in the use of captioning grants for public-facing and campus wide media. Captioning grants for live public-facing or campus wide virtual events are also available now.

Additional efforts since January 2020 include:

  • Launching Blackboard Ally for Learn, which provides students with accessible versions of course content, offers instructors guidance on course content accessibility and remediation, and gives institutional insight into accessibility progress for course content.
  • Resolving more than 1500 tickets in the HelpSpot customer service/support ticket system.
  • Offering 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 12,000 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.
  • Continued education, outreach, and enforcement around the 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.

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 can 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 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 compliance reviews, as well as partnering with the University’s IT Enterprise Development and Application Support team to develop a web inventory portal for accessibility liaisons.