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Workshop Descriptions

Workshop Descriptions

Basics of Universal Design

People Centered Designs

Presented by Brooke Barton, Boise State University Office of Continuous Improvement

Incorporating Universal Design techniques into a project can seem like a daunting task. Some may even ask, “Universal Design. What is that!?

During this presentation, you will gain an understanding of what Universal Design is, why Universal Design is important, and specific techniques you can use that align with a Universal Design approach. The focal point of this presentation is user experience and user feedback. Gathering feedback throughout a project benefits both the end-users and the designers; this presentation will highlight some of the benefits of incorporating user feedback into projects.

We will discuss different techniques, both big and small, that can help you create and revise tools and resources so they are relevant, easy and enjoyable to use, and beneficial for everyone.During this presentation, we will discuss techniques that naturally keep end-users in the center of your design and redesign efforts. After attending this workshop, you’ll have a greater understanding of:

  • What Universal Design is and why it’s important
  • The value of gathering user feedback
  • Approaches you can take to gather user feedback

Reducing Barriers to Access

BluePath Accessibility App

Presented by Mark Leeper and Vicki Leeper, Disability Action Center NW

BluePath is a nationwide interactive online guide to disability friendly businesses. Now available in an app, this resource serves to market accessible businesses FREE to people with disabilities and their friends and families. Unlike other resources, it is not review based, but instead uses real time ADA accessibility information. Cross disability as well, it covers wheelchair and mobility, deaf and hard of hearing, blind and visually impaired. It makes it easier to get around and get business done!

This presentation teaches participants how to map an accessible business with user friendly ADA requirements (takes about 10 minutes) through training and hands on experience. Participants can take this knowledge back and start mapping accessible businesses in their area, and use the app to find disability friendly places to visit, shop or dine at in their area.

Born Accessible: Ensuring You’re Adopting Accessible Course Materials

Presented by Erin Lucas, RedShelf

There has never been a more important time than now for higher ed institutions to place an increased focus around accessibility. It’s no longer just a “nice-to-have,” it’s a requirement for today’s students. Nearly one in five college students have some type of disability, but on average only eleven percent of all undergraduate students formally register with a Disability Service Office (DSO). That means your institution isn’t even aware of the more than half of students with some form of disability.

So, how do you make sure your institution is meeting government requirements and providing an accessible experience for all, specifically when it comes to course materials? How do you create a groundswell on campus to ensure that everyone from individual faculty to admin offices are making sure course material accessibility needs are being met? And how do you understand the types of accessible digital content and its delivery for technology-enhanced learning?

This dynamic workshop will dive into all of those questions and more to help campus stakeholders understand the impact of accessible digital course materials, including both instructor-created materials and publisher materials.

After attending this presentation, participants will understand how each stakeholder in the course material adoption process plays a role in ensuring campuses are providing the most accessible course materials for their students.

Developing an Equally Effective Alternative Access Plan for Library Resources

Presented by Pamela Kindelberger, and Mary Aagard, Boise State University Albertsons Library

Albertsons Library strives to purchase, license, and provide access to content that is in compliance with accessibility laws and standards. In cases where technology, resources, or services are not fully accessible, the Library has developed an Equally Effective Alternative Access Plan (EEAAP) to address user accessibility needs while remediation is in progress.

The EEAAP provides a process for access to material that the library licenses, purchases, adopts, or creates when the technology that provides the material is less-than-accessible. Having a process in place to provide alternate access will help ensure users have equal and fair access to information in a timely manner and in a format appropriate for their needs.

Join us for a discussion about how we are developing: our EEAAP; training strategies for public services staff; and procedures for helping patrons get the information they need. After attending this workshop, participants will:

  • Understand the purpose of an Equally Effective Alternative Access Plan and why it is important to proactively have it in place.
  • Leave with examples, ideas, and considerations for libraries complying with university policies to ensure electronic resources they purchase or license are accessible to all users.
  • Review collaboration strategies between public services staff and electronic resource managers.

Digital Wayfinding Demonstration Project on the Boise State University Campus

Presented by Dianna Willis, Idaho Access Project and Boise State’s GIMM Lab

This presentation will introduce participants to the Digital Wayfinding Demonstration Project at Boise State University and its implications for universal design generally, and for people with disabilities specifically. The Idaho Access Project is collaborative partner with the Gaming Interactive and Mobile Media Lab (GIMM Lab), which is working to test the feasibility of developing a campus-wide digital wayfinding system. This emerging technology has the exciting potential to improve accessibility for people with disabilities who matriculate, visit, or work at Boise State University.

Digital wayfinding technology is designed to enhance indoor and outdoor navigation for people with sensory, learning, or intellectual disabilities. For people who cannot use visual cues to navigate indoor and outdoor spaces, the campus environment can be overwhelming, isolating, and potentially dangerous. Digital wayfinding technology is a potential cost-effective and user-friendly solution. This innovative smart technology creates a seamless audio-based navigation system through the use of smartphones and Bluetooth beacons. The presentation will include an experiential activity focused on navigating indoor spaces without vision, a short presentation on the demonstration project and technology, and a Q&A session.

After attending this workshop, participants will understand:

  1. The difference between wayfinding and digital wayfinding.
  2. The opportunities created by digital wayfinding to increase universal access and remove barriers for people of all types of abilities and disabilities.
  3. The hardware and software used in digital wayfinding (beacons, smartphone apps)
  4. What BSU and IAP are exploring on campus to potentially improve access and remove barriers.
  5. Experience specific barriers faced by people who are blind or low vision navigating indoor or outdoor spaces.

Is it accessible? Practical tips and tricks for making accessible electronic content accessible for all users

Presented by Carolyn Quintero, Boise State University Office of Information Technology

It can seem daunting to make content accessible, but it’s not impossible. In fact, it might be easier than you think! In this hands-on workshop, participants learn practical tips and tricks for creating content that is accessible for all users. No previous experience required.

By the end of this participants will:

1. Define web accessibility
2. Identify ways content is inaccessible for users
3. List at least three strategies you can use to create accessible content

Make Everything 1% Better with Digital Accessibility

Presented by Jeremy Seda, North Idaho College IT Accessibility

This presentation will cover 10 tips for moving accessibility (a11y) forward in higher education. Some tips include concepts and others will cover tools that Jeremy Seda has effectively used as an IT Accessibility Coordinator for two higher education institutions. Jeremy will also share a little of what he knows about the applicable state and federal laws and international treaties that impact Idaho Higher Education.

Participants should leave with a general idea of:

  1. Ways to initiate immediate improvement in a11y within their departments and/or institutions.
  2. A high-level understanding of what legal requirements we are subject to.

Tools and Demonstrations

10 Tools for Digital Accessibility

Presented by Carolyn Quintero, Boise State University Office of Information Technology

You know your content needs to be accessible but how can you verify your content meets requirements? During this workshop we explore 10 free tools you can use to draft, edit, build, and publish accessible digital content. Bring your own device (laptop, tablet, smart phone) and follow along with the presentation.

Upon completion of this workshop participants will:

  1. Identify 10 tools available to check accessibility of digital content
  2. Develop plan of action to include at least three tools into their own content development process

Creating Accessible Google Docs Documents

Presented by Laine Amoureux, Amoureux AT Consulting LLC

Have you heard that Google Docs isn’t accessible? That there is no way for students to use it to create,edit or collaborate on documents? Have you been under the impression that you cannot create content for your students in Docs, or convert it to an accessible PDF file? This workshop will demonstrate how Google Docs creators can make their content as accessible as any Microsoft Word document and test it. If time allows you will also learn how you can make an inaccessible PDF file accessible, using Google Docs!

After attending this workshops, participants will understand how to use the Google Docs web app, in Google Chrome, on a Windows PC to:

  • Use, and modify, styles to create a functional heading structure in a Google Docs Document;
  • Create an accessible table in a Google Docs document;
  • Add alternate text to images in Google Docs documents;
  • Check a document with Google Grackle;
  • Save a Google Docs document as a PDF;
  • If time allows, how to make an inaccessible PDF file/image accessible using Google Docs.

Closing the Learning Gap by Going Digital

Presented by Stacy Ray, Verba/VitalSource

Historically, there has been a large learning gap between your “average” student and those with learning disabilities. Print textbook and learning materials have left blind, low-vision, and dyslexic students to struggle with accessing alternative formats or going without key content because there was no accommodation for their disabilities. Some students may even fail to seek help for their needs leaving them at a disadvantage to their peers. By making the decision to go digital, schools can provide learners with the content they both want and need while gaining valuable analytics that speak to the effectiveness of a course and its materials.
After attending this workshop, participants will have a greater understanding of:

  • Students’ needs and wants around accessible content and platforms
  • Hurdles to digital access and ways to overcome and roll-out a digital program
  • How student usage data can help inform digital implementations

Generating Access to Knowledge in Images: The Theory and Practice of Alt-text in Digital Course Materials

Presented by Sherena Huntsman, Boise State University English Department

Accessibility guidelines such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and Section 508 recommend alternative text or alt-text accompany images used in digital documents to ensure students/users who rely on screen reading devices have access to course information. These guidelines are typically instructors’ first and only interaction with the practice of alt-text, and yet they do not address the complex process of generating meaning through the practice of alt-text.

These guidelines do not always offer ideas for developing alt-text beyond suggesting the use of a sentence or two describing the image nor do they explain the benefits and purpose of taking on this action—the “why” that informs the practice. Beyond guidelines, technological advances have made including alt-text in Word documents, PDFs, PowerPoints, and website more user-friendly — you do no longer need to know HTML coding to include this accessibility feature within common practices of course material design. Although the software makes the practice easier, much like the lists of guidelines and suggestions, it does not address the more nuanced process of constructing meaning or knowledge within alt-text.

In educational settings specifically, alt-text is a valuable practice because instructors use images to convey important knowledge and often new knowledge to students. This presentation addresses the need for alt-text within learning environments and how this practice benefits learning outcomes by implementing universal design principles for student across the ability spectrum. Alt-text is not only a necessity for screen reading devices but has greater implications for all students accessing digital course materials through digital platforms such as a laptop or a smartphone. This presentation teaches methods and strategies for constructing access to learning outcomes through alt-text in digital course documents.

Participants will leave the workshop with a working knowledge of the purpose of alt-text and its implications on learning outcomes and pedagogical goals. They will have a process strategy for writing alt-text and will know how to implement alt-text in Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and PDF. They will also leave knowing the resources available online and on campus to assist in accessibility practices, including other instructors within the workshop. Participants will receive printed and digital step-by-step instructions for alt-text developing with links to additional resources.

Reaching All Learners

Presented by Yogen Kushi and Dane Riley, Higher Education Systems Engineers

This presentation will provide an overview of the many, powerful accessibility features Apple has included in iOS and macOS. Many of these features can be used every day by all users. During this workshop we will focus on the main areas including vision, hearing, physical and motor skill challenges and learning and literacy. Participants will gain knowledge of how anyone can configure and customize Mac and iOS devices for vision, hearing, motor skills and learning enhancement.

STEM Disciplines and Tactile Graphics for Blind and Low Vision Learners and Professionals

Presented by Dr. Donald Winiecki, Boise State University Organizational Performance and Workplace Learning

Content in STEM disciplines is often communicated through graphics. However, there is currently no means for automatically and acceptably converting technical graphics into a form that is accessible by students who are blind or visually-impaired. In this presentation a flowchart for deciding what content can be adequately communicated through tactile forms will be presented.

You Have an Ally in Ally: Introducing Blackboard’s Accessibility Checker

Presented by Nick Webster, Boise State University Learning Technology Solutions and Tim Henningsen, Blackboard

Blackboard Ally helps improve the student experience and make learning environments more inclusive by giving faculty members tools to create accessible teaching materials. Introduced to Boise State’s Blackboard environment in February, 2019, Ally provides an accessibility score and on-screen instructions for improving the accessibility of content in Blackboard. Additionally, Ally automatically converts uploaded content into alternative formats, including audio, electronic braille, ePubs, HTML, and PDFs; some of these formats are available in 50 different languages. These alternative formats not only benefit students with disabilities, but they also provide additional value to all learners.

Join Nick Webster (Learning Technology Solutions) and Kevin Wilson (IDEA Shop) for a discussion on how to use Ally to create accessible, universally-designed teaching materials that give all students the opportunity to use educational content effectively.

Participants will know how to navigate the Ally interface, know a few of the accessibility conventions that Ally looks for, and leave knowing either how to make necessary fixes on their own or who to reach out to for further help.

Universal Design as Social Justice

Principles for Universal Design in Open Pedagogy

Presented by Ben Croft and Monica Brown, Boise State University Extended Studies / eCampus Center

Open pedagogy is “an access-oriented commitment to learner-driven education and a process of designing architectures and using tools for learning that enable students to shape the public knowledge commons of which they are a part” (DeRosa and Jhangiani, 2017). This pedagogy offers a unique commitment to centering students in the knowledge-creation process. Because of this fundamental shift in paradigm, open pedagogy offers powerful learning and accessibility opportunities for historically marginalized student populations as it allows for more knowledge plurality and representational justice than other pedagogical approaches.

This presentation will survey open pedagogy as an innovative model for engaging students with course content and academic conversations. In doing so, the presenters will trace principles of Universal Design within the structure of open pedagogy assignments. Major thematic areas include the implications of knowledge creation, the dynamics of participant power, and the facilitation of accessible learning spaces. These themes raise several questions for universal design. How might open pedagogy allow for new modes of engagement and assessment for students? In what ways can an open pedagogy paradigm enhance universal design principles? What tangible, actionable steps can instructors take towards approaching universal design with an open pedagogy?

Participants will leave this presentation with strategies and tools for building inclusive open pedagogical assignments in ways that offer more opportunities to achieve Universal Design in student activities and assessments.

Throughout the presentation, participants will explore:

  • Open pedagogy as a method for creating engaging, inclusive course content, including the selection of culturally-sensitive text and multimedia materials
  • Approaches to open pedagogical course design that align with universal design principles
  • Advantages and challenges open pedagogy may offer for neurodiverse students
  • Inclusive teaching strategies to increase access for students of historically underrepresented identities and backgrounds
    Broad assignment and assessment approaches that widen access for all students
  • Ethical considerations for student privacy, data, surveillance, and digital redlining
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