Procurement and EdTech Tool Selection with a Focus on Accessibility

Concurrent Session 9
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Brief Abstract

Part of the OLC and WCET year-long focus on accessibility. Will the software or hardware selected by your institution’s RFP meet accessibility requirements? How do you help faculty and student services personnel understand that the one-off selection of a piece of software needs to be usable by everyone? Panelists will share their different approaches in solving these issues in software and hardware selection processes, whether through RFP, other formal procurement processes, or individual decisions. Learn how to protect the institution, but, more importantly, how to make choices that best serve students and faculty.

Presenters

Mollie McGill directs programs and membership at WCET, a national, non-profit organization whose mission is to help its member colleges and universities accelerate the adoption of technology-enhanced teaching and learning. She spent 20 years with WICHE early in her career and was instrumental in founding WCET in 1988. McGill secured support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for WCET's role as Backbone organization to Every Learner Everywhere network. For 12 years she held a position at the University of Colorado System where she directed learning innovations and technology initiatives with CU’s campuses and served leadership roles for several Colorado statewide e-learning projects. McGill is proud of her 30 years of service to WICHE.
Kelly Hermann is the Vice President of Accessibility Strategy for the University of Phoenix. She has oversight of the university’s accessibility initiative, including the evaluation and remediation of curricular resources, and disability services office. Prior to joining the University of Phoenix, Kelly was the director of disability services for SUNY Empire State College where she coordinated accommodations for students. She frequently presents at national conferences, such as the Online Learning Consortium, WCET and the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) regarding online learning and accessibility for students with disabilities. She also chairs the standing committee on online and distance education for AHEAD and was the chair of AHEAD’s standing committee on public policy from 2009 to 2013.
Dr. Cyndi Rowland is the Founder and Executive Director of WebAIM and the National Center on Disability and Access to Education both housed at Utah State University. Since 1999 she has focused on research, tool and resource development, training, and policy initiatives for web accessibility in education. The work of both WebAIM and NCDAE are viewed as important resources in web accessibility. Both groups have a rich history of research and product development to benefit the broader community and an inclusive web. WebAIM is consistently in the top 8 Google returns when searching for “web accessibility”, where there are typically millions of returns. Some of WebAIM’s content includes issues and technical recommendations for developers who wish their designs to be inclusive of individuals with disabilities. NCDAE has rich resources for administrators and faculty alike who wish to make changes in their systems and individual practice. This includes a Benchmarking and Planning Tool as well as accessibility Cheatsheets used frequently by others. Dr. Rowland has engaged in her accessibility work at top tier national and international levels. Examples include sitting on the U.S. Section 508 refresh committee, and working on initiatives out of UN organizations. Examples include the ITU and UNESCO where she was an invited expert to assist in the creation of global guidelines for online distance education. Accessibility plays a role for UN Member States.

Additional Authors

Russ Poulin leads WCET, the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies, which focuses on the practice, policy, and advocacy of technology-enhanced learning in higher education. WCET’s members hail from all fifty states and a few from Canada. As WICHE Vice President, he advises on policy and projects for the regional higher education compact. Russ represented the distance education community on federal negotiated rulemaking committees and subcommittees. He has received recognition from the Presidents’ Forum, Excelsior College, and the National University Technology Network for his contributions to policies for technology-enhanced postsecondary education. Russ received a bachelors from the University of Colorado Denver and a masters from the University of Northern Colorado. He is also partial to movies, cats, and his wife, Laurie. Contact him at: rpoulin@wiche.edu or @RussPoulin.

Extended Abstract

Part of the OLC and WCET year-long focus on accessibility. Will the software or hardware selected by your institution’s RFP meet accessibility requirements? How do you help faculty and student services personnel understand that the one-off selection of a piece of software needs to be usable by everyone? Panelists will share their different approaches in solving these issues in software and hardware selection processes, whether through RFP, other formal procurement processes, or individual decisions. Learn how to protect the institution, but, more importantly, how to make choices that best serve students and faculty.