Leveraging Quality Assurance Programs to Incentivize and Promote Accessibility in Higher Ed

Concurrent Session 4

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

By now most are aware of academic accessibility. But no matter how many conference sessions or trainings we offer, we still struggle getting buy-in. Enter quality assurance programs, which utilize scoring metrics to ensure excellence. By leveraging these programs, organizations can incentivize accessibility efforts through improving overall course quality.


Graduated from Wichita State with a Masters in Criminal Justice in May of 2015. Began working as an Instructional Designer in June of 2015, before transitioning into the role of Senior Educational Technologist in fall of 2018. Master's Certificate in Project Management in April 2019. Certified Project Management Professional (PMP) as of June 2019. Adjunct Professor for Criminal Justice at the School of Criminal Justice at Wichita State. Certified Quality Matters Master Reviewer and Publisher Review, as well as earned certificate in the ST8 (Standard 8) training course from QM which speaks specifically to accessibility. Accessibility has been a significant focus for the 18+ months.

Extended Abstract

Let's face it, by now everyone is pretty much aware of academic accessibility. And higher education institutions across the globe are working diligently to make progress in that direction. But no matter how many conference sessions, webinars, or trainings we offer, perhaps one of the biggest problems we all experience is getting instructor buy-in for making these advancements. Enter quality assurance programs, which utilize scoring metrics to ensure overall course excellence. These programs use certification and credentialing, whether institutional or national, to provide recognition of the course, institution, and instructor’s achievements towards course delivery. In addition, many of these programs already include standards regarding accessibility and learner experience. By leveraging these program credentials and certifications, departments and universities can incentivize and promote furthering accessibility efforts through the lens of improving overall course quality. This session will discuss our university process, types of accessibility issues that can be addressed, some implementation options, some ways to measure success, and more.

Session members will also: discuss some of the buy-in issues related to accessibility in Higher Ed.; discuss concerns about using quality assurance programs; and explore how their own institutions can start, or are already, leveraging quality assurance programs. While we will discuss some well-known quality assurance programs such as OLC Scorecard, Blackboard Exemplary, and Quality Matters, we will also discuss how to plan, build, and implement custom quality assurance metrics to achieve departmental and institutional goals beyond those relating to accessibility. By the end of the session, audience members will able to explain--not only--what a quality assurance program is, but also provide some examples, and outline the beginning process for creating an informal/formal quality assurance program at their own institution.

To aid in the full comprehension of this topic, audience members will have the opportunity to experience the beginning stages of developing an informal quality assurance process as part of the large group discussion. Furthermore, session members will be asked to participate in small and large group discussions throughout the presentation for various audience interaction. Lastly, members will be given the chance for audience Q&A at the end of the session.