Partnering to Lower Online Accessibility Costs

Concurrent Session 5

Brief Abstract

The presentation will highlight the many benefits of creating a programmatic approach to meeting accessibility compliance using a supplier-partner relationship. This includes the gamut of online courses from high school to graduate school. BYU’s highly collaborative partnership with Symbiosis and the program is put in place from each party’s perspective. 


Mr. Openshaw is a Certified Manufacturing Engineer with a BS in Manufacturing Engineering and a Master’s in Public Administration from the Brigham Young University. Alan is a certified Master Black Belt and a certified Lean practitioner through the University of Tennessee, ASQ, and the Delphi Automotive Group. Alan Openshaw has over 30 years of direct involvement in training and leading Lean Six Sigma transformations around the globe, which includes extensive work in Europe, Asia, and Central and South America, where he has deployed the tools and methodologies of quality improvement. Mr. Openshaw began his career teaching TQM while working in the defense/commercial aircraft/satellite industry. Since those early days in quality control, he has worked in most industry sectors, including health care, manufacturing, oil/chemical, finance, and higher education. Alan has led Operational, Transactional, and Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) implementations and provided consulting services at companies around the globe with documented savings in the millions of dollars. Mr. Openshaw worked at Autoliv in 1996 when Toyota, their supplier, came in and taught them the fundamental principles of Lean and Toyota Production System (TPS). Alan also led the Operational Excellence Department at Atlantic Research Corporation, where he received training to become one of the first DFSS Black Belt in the country under the tutelage of Clyde (Skip) Creveling, who authored the very first textbook on the subject of designing for Six Sigma quality. Alan later became a corporate trainer for Sequa, Inc. and SBTI Inc., teaching DFSS and Operational Six Sigma to engineering staff and industry experts throughout the U.S. and abroad. Today, he continues to conduct onsite Lean Six Sigma transformations as a hired consultant around the globe. He is also a guest lecturer at various universities on business innovation.

Extended Abstract

Having online courses meet accessibility standards is a “must-have” requirement and a responsibility for the ethical delivery and inclusion of all students, despite any learning disability, physical disability, or otherwise. Brigham Young University is committed to making that a reality for its online courses. However, the needed staff and cost to ensure accessibility compliance placed an ever-increasing burden on their budgeted course cost. The current model was, unfortunately, unsustainable without some form of intervention. So, what other solution or option was there? 

Look no further than your local eLearning solution provider, Symbiosis Education Consultants. Yes, “local” is relative to our new world of remote work and Zoom connectivity. Symbiosis is the Swiss Army knife of eLearning based out of New York with global resources that offer affordable, best-in-class, customized solutions to your problem. Brigham Young University reached out to Symbiosis to see if they would be willing to inspect and remediate accessibility errors for their portfolio of online courses. A proposal, then a scope of work, followed by a pilot submission, got the ball rolling.  

Fast forward to today’s seamless process of sending out courses for accessibility remediation, and it belies the needed framework and process steps necessary to allow everything to fall into place. Interestingly, a critical piece and foundation to the whole process is the Statement of Work (SOW), which contractually binds the supplier and the contracting entity. The SOW dictates the scope of work needed and the technical requirement or tasks necessary to meet the expectation of both parties. Therefore, understanding how to navigate its creation and the negotiated working arrangement between both entities is important and will be discussed in detail. 

Lastly, how do you minimize emails, texts, and phone calls between parties? Here is where cloud-based technologies are leveraged in the form of Box, Teamwork (PM software), and process mapping to improve the process continuously.