Accessible Digital Content Committee

The Accessibility Advocacy Committee charged a subcommittee to work on Accessible Digital Content this summer. We’ll be working on:

  • curating tips and resources to make digital content accessible,
  • implementing a Bb tool called Ally to help make content accessible and available in multiple formats,
  • working with the ICC to make the syllabus template accessible and providing guidelines for accessible content, and
  • formulating communication and workshops for the fall.

Committee members:

  • Tristan Cary
  • Tim Dalton
  • Siben Dasgupta
  • Semere Habtemicael
  • Kimberly Hall
  • Sara Hammond
  • Kathleen Ives
  • Jojo Jacobson
  • Jessica Matson
  • Ali Moazed
  • Gloria Monaghan
  • Kelly Parrish
  • Troy Peters
  • Dave Rosenberg
  • Karmon Runquist
  • Ke’Anna Skipwith (co-chair)
  • Pat Stanard
  • Rick Trilling
  • Stephanie Wooler
  • Tes Zakrzewski (co-chair)

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) mandates colleges that receive federal funding provide reasonable accommodations to students with disabilities. The legal definition of disability is any physical or mental impairment that lasts longer than 6 months and substantially limits one or more major life activity. Major life activities include, but are not limited to, learning, eating, sleeping, hearing, walking, standing, communicating, and concentrating.

Around 12% of Wentworth students report a diagnosed disability. Based on national statistics and issues around stigma it is safe to assume that many more students are diagnosed with disabilities and choose not to disclose to the University. Over 90% of Wentworth students who disclose a disability have learning, developmental and psychiatric disabilities which are considered invisible disabilities because they are not always immediately obvious.

Given that we know 12% of Wentworth students disclose a diagnosed disability that is most likely invisible ( i.e learning, developmental, and psychiatric disabilities) and that it is safe to assume many more students with diagnosed disabilities do not disclose due to concerns around stigma, it is essential that accessibility is built into course materials from the ground up. This can be done by:

* Entering in to purchasing agreements with vendors only if the product is deemed accessible per federal electronic information technology accessibility guidelines (Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973)

* Providing closed captions on all videos and auditory materials (benefits people who are deaf/hard of hearing, people with AD/HD, people with auditory learning disabilities, people who prefer to learn visually or both auditorily and visually)

* Ensuring all electronic text is readable via screen reader and text to speech software (people who are blind/low vision, people with AD/HD, people with print-based disabilities, people who are auditory learners or who prefer to learn both auditorily and visually)

I hope you were able to learn and enjoy the Global Accessibility Day activities on May 17th.