Leveraging blackboard A11y and campus “allies” to support a culture of inclusion

Presenters

  • Shelli Wynants, Director, Online Education and Training, CSUF
  • Willie Peng, AVP, Academic Technology Support Services, CSUF

WP: Started this conversation in early Spring 2018, when we signed the MOU, began testing and deployment, developed a rollout plan, etc. In Summer 2018, we rolled out to about 40 faculty during our Summer “B” session. In 2018 Fall, we added CourseMatch, DSS registered courses, added selective volunteers. In 2019 Spring we enabled for all courses, embarked on a big marketing and training program (we’re getting a lot of great feedback from our faculty about this product). In the near future, we’re enabling for our Moodle Community Instance and doing more marketing and training.

How has your campus implemented A11y?

Q: Are you tracking how many people are responding to your MarCom emails? WP: No, but we’re planning to switch to a new email program so that we can do that. SW: all emails do come to me, but I only fielded one negative comment from faculty.

Q: DRC connection: did they give you a list of classes? SW: Yes! So it was turned on for all of those classes.

COMMENT: at SM, we rolled it out quickly. It was not received as well as we had hoped. Lots of faculty were doing remediation of materials that we didn’t know about. We’re going to involve marketing going forward.

Leveraging Campus Allies

SW: Our Academic Technology Center is our #1 stop. Instructional designers help out with most common kinds of things, like remediation of Word documents. We also have GrackleDocs for Google Docs, Forms and Slides. We turned on VoiceThread auto captioning for presentations and discussions and that’s worked out well for us (this is complimentary to services we receive from Automatic Sync Technologies). IT completely revamped our accessible technology website.

Q: how did you go about training? SW: we created a 3-part certificate, totally online training. #1 Accessibility Awareness, #2 universal design for learning, #3 creating accessible documents and presentations. Training is individual, not cohort. We’ve had a lot of non-faculty taking this training as well.

SW: We have grant money for OER: Student Success Series for Faculty Summer 2019. I give $100 to each person who completes the certificate…I had 35!

Our goal for staff is to take 5 courses in professional development. We have lots of material on A11y, Universal Design for Learning, and more. We start with equity, student success and then dive into accessibility.

What resources does your campus use to leverage A11y as part of a larger campus discussion about inclusion? Which campus “allies” are involved on your campus for promoting a culture of inclusion?

Q from CSUMB: you’re a “pull” type of organization…it’s all opt-in. Is anyone else doing a broader “we’re going to remediate things en-masses, set a baseline and get the work done?” SW: I think we’d have a faculty revolt if we attempted that!

Q: Would focusing on new faculty be a good idea? WP: yes. We’re also using CourseMatch and remediating as appropriate (the provost is behind us on this). SW: we’ve found that the certificate goes a long way toward providing motivation. A door sign or micro-credential might be useful in this way, too.

Q: are you planning on turning on the scoring part? SW: no, not yet. However, we thought we might turn it on for our early adopters/volunteers. It would be good if we had another campus’ experience to learn from. Some campuses have resolutions around maintaining accessibility for all coursework. SW: I think our policies are generally like this, but enforcement is a question. WP: we have 2 different Moodle instances, one is for coursework, the other is for “community.”

Next Steps

  • Student Awareness: campaign to promote accessing instructional materials using alternate format
  • Support: student, faculty, staff
  • Escalation: bugs, features
  • Additional tools to support accessibility: provide tools to address accessibility at document creation

Student awareness: advisors, res life, new students, U100 classes, email address for a11y, blocks of text explaining what a11y is (messaging like “you can listen in the gym, on the train,” etc. for ePub).

Support: WP we have a faculty support center AND a student support center; walk-in centers have been helpful.

Escalation: channel to submit bugs and feature requests.

Additional tools to support accessibility: WP we’re trying to be more pro-active and catch thing early (doing things in post-production is a lot more challenging). We’re trying to create a community among all constituencies to create learning materials about making documents accessibly.

What are you doing on your campuses?

Q: Filetypes…what are people telling folks about saving and uploading particular types of files? SW: we direct faculty to our module 3. CSU MB: faculty that create their materials from pre-existing materials? Yeah, that can be kind of tough. SW: we tend to help out with Word documents the most, and we have an in-house “guru” on PDF accessibility.

Q: what are you doing on your campuses? Filetypes…what are people telling folks about saving and uploading particular types of files. SW: we direct faculty to our module 3. CSU MB: faculty that create their materials from pre-existing materials? Yeah, that can be kind of tough. SW: we tend to help out with Word documents the most, and we have an in-house “guru” on PDF accessibility.