An Excellent Adventure or Bogus Journey? – The Aftermath of Implementing a College-wide Web Accessibility Plan

Concurrent Session 6

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

This session will focus on the aftermath of Pikes Peak Community College’s implementation of a Web Accessibility Plan, including lessons learned, success stories, suggestions for other institutions, and what the future holds for digital accessibility.

Presenters

Marc has worked in the accessibility, web design, library, and instructional design fields. Currently he works at Pikes Peak Community College as a UDL and OER Specialist, with the focus of ensuring the accessibility of curriculum and instructional platforms are as accessible as possible. He has also been focusing on OER as a solution to providing accessible instructional materials for all students. He currently serves as the digital accessibility "guru" at PPCC, along with serving as the Chair of the Digital Accessibility Committee, and the lead on the Accessibility Validation Committee.

Extended Abstract

In 2014, Pikes Peak Community College created a Web Accessibility Plan, based on a charge from the Colorado Community College System. The idea was that the plan would have various goals identified for each department/area of the college, when it came to web accessibility. From 2015 through 2018, the college worked on implementing the Web Accessibility Plan, while also thinking about how the process and plan could be improved.

While other institutions have planned and implemented web accessibility plans, Pikes Peak decided to transition to evolving our web accessibility efforts into a grander vision of “digital accessibility”. This means implementing proactive processes and mechanisms of support when it comes to tasks such as:

  • Textbook and instructional material adoptions
  • Open Educational Resource Creation/Implementation
  • Software development (I.E. apps, class websites)
  • Learning Management System (LMS) changes
  • Accommodations
  • Partnering with publishers to evaluate and review platforms/materials
  • Incorporating Universal Design for Learning (UDL) practices
  • Creating support mechanisms for students, staff, and faculty
  • Training and professional development

As Bill and Ted would say, Pikes Peak embarked on a "most excellent adventure", in finding new ways to collaborate and provide solutions for challenges in web accessibility conformance and awareness. Like any other adventure though, it had various antagonists and obstacles to defeat and overcome.

Some example obstacles were:

  • Changing the culture
  • Acquiring expertise
  • Creating a new support network
  • Budget restrictions
  • Acquiring resources
  • Meeting the needs of students, faculty, and staff

Thankfully, Pikes Peak’s efforts in digital accessibility did not turn into a “bogus journey”.

This session will focus on the following topics/learning outcomes:

  • How to design a digital accessibility plan
  • How to implement a digital accessibility plan.
  • What benefits can you expect from digital accessibility?
  • What challenges will you face in implementing a plan?
  • Success stories
  • Lessons learned
  • What is the future of digital accessibility in higher education?
  • What is the role of higher education in digital accessibility?