Janet Sylvia, University System of Georgia Accessibility Leader
We'd like to recognize Janet Sylvia's outstanding contribution as a leader in the higher education accessibility community for the past 15 years as Janet leaves her role as WAG coordinator. Janet co-founded the Web Accessibility Group in 2011 at the University of Georgia with the goal of sharing and discussing strategies, techniques and resources for meeting Section 508 compliance and implementing WCAG guidelines throughout the University System of Georgia. Janet's areas of expertise include Section 508 and WCAG 2.0 implementation for institutes of higher education. Janet has presented at regional, national and international events including Global Accessibility Awareness Day, Distance Learning Administration Conference and the Annual CSUN Conference on four occasions. Her accessibility articles have been published through conference proceedings and websites, including Media Access Australia. Janet has raised awareness and advocated for accessibility as she expanded the outreach of WAG and guided its transition from UGA to AMAC at Georgia Tech. Thank you Janet for your critical role as a leading voice and advocate for improved accessibility in higher education. We look forward to your continued involvement with WAG and offer best wishes in your continued work as an independent accessibility consultant and continue your work in the field of Accessible Art.
Dr. Beatriz Potter, Valdosta State University
Dr. Beatriz Potter, a member of WAG, is a faculty member in the Modern and Classical Languages (MCL) Department at Valdosta State University (VSU). She teaches Spanish and ESOL courses in online, blended and face to face classes and has been a leader in addressing accessibility issues in online courses and instructional material.
Dr. Potter’s commitment to accessibility and access began during her work as IT specialist with the VSU Distance Learning and Information Technology (IT) Department. One of her primary responsibilities was conducting workshops focusing on accessibility for faculty and staff who were developing online courses. These workshops emphasized the importance of creating content with universal design concepts and the need to implement best practices during all stages of course development. This work and presentations at local, statewide and national meetings has contributed to creating awareness of the importance of having online web content that is accessible and in compliance with Section 508 standards of the Rehabilitation Act. Early in her teaching career at VSU, she had the exceptional opportunity to work with a hard of hearing student. This was a turning point in her journey as an educator as it helped her understand the importance of addressing the needs of all students.
Tools that she uses in making her courses accessible, include closed captioned videos of her course orientation, welcome message, getting started and overview of course modules. She also uses searchable and accessible PDF files for her syllabus and course documents as well as HTML content that includes images with alternated text. Her evaluations and assessments are provided through BlazeVIEW, VSU learning management system and Blackboard Collaborate web conferencing system. She provides access to audio clips’ scripts as a part of student feedback which can also be used to work with deaf or hard of hearing students by flipping those oral skills activities and assessments into additional writing and reading skills conducted through the use of chats, text messaging and Blackboard Collaborate. Dr. Potter is currently a course and subject matter expert peer reviewer for Quality Matters and is working with colleagues to see how text publishers and their digital bundles comply with accessibility requirements. An ongoing concern is the time and dedication that faculty need to make course accessible and recognition of these issues by administrators.
Adelle Frank, Georgia Institute of Technology
Adelle Frank, Web Developer Manager Senior at the Georgia Institute of Technology Institute Communications, is committed to web accessibility. In this interview, Janet Sylvia (WAG Coordinator and Accessibility Specialist at AMAC) discusses web accessibility with Adelle Frank (Web Developer Manager Senior at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Institute Communications).
In this interview, Adelle mentions how she first got started with web accessibility. "In my first full-time web development position, I was lucky enough to work with a great accessibility advocate, Arthur Murphy (Aeolian Solutions, LLC and Arthur Murphy Twitter). He helped write the original Section 508 standards for equal access via various technologies. I was already committed to the ideal that people should have equal rights, and Arthur inspired me to apply that to website access, too. Read the Full Adelle Frank Interview
Kennesaw State University
In their presentation, Dr. Leeds and Dr. Cope outlined faculty's responsibilities for providing accessible Web-based content for all students in compliance with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. They also shared KSU's ongoing efforts to provide accessibility for web content, and focused on specific things faculty members can do to meet the needs of all students.
KSU's DLC provides leadership in helping faculty meet students' accessibility needs in all online courses. This support includes a new DLC website that provides information on DLC services to faculty and students. One important service is the captioning of faculty video and audio files so that faculty can use a wide variety of media to engage all of their students. The DLC also employees five instructional designers who help faculty produce high quality, accessible course materials. This design support is embedded in KSU's online course review process, but the designers also help faculty members review existing courses to ensure 100% accessibility compliance.
KSU is committed to web-content accessibility for all KSU students. Drs. Leeds' and Cope's presentation underscored the strides KSU is making in meeting the needs of web learners and previewed exciting changes that are coming.
- Dr. Elke Leeds, Assistant Vice President of Technology Enhanced Learning & Executive Director of the Distance Learning Center
- Dr. Jim Cope, Associate Director of the Distance Learning Center and Professor of English and English Education.
Georgia Gwinnett College
In January 2013 Rycca Blanton and Vala Clark organized a campus-wide panel discussion that lasted from 10:00am-4:00pm. The day began with a presentation for GGC about Section 508: overview, policies, issues in higher education, implementation strategies and techniques. In the afternoon, GGC personnel focused on web accessibility as it pertains to specific areas of implementation, such as: Educational Technology, Public Affairs, Academics, Student Affairs, and Disability Services. As a result of this all-day panel discussion, GGC designed a new Web Accessibility Resources page for faculty and staff, which was revealed in conjunction with Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) on May 9, 2013. GAAD announcements were placed on both the GGC public website and the internal portal. The portal directed GGC personnel to the newly created Web Accessibility Resources page to obtain information about: GGC’s Commitment to Web Accessibility, USG Policies and Accessibility Tutorial, Web Accessibility Checklists and Checkers, Desire2Learn Accessibility, and instructions for Making Your Files Accessible (Word, PDF, PowerPoint, HTML, Excel and Videos/Multimedia).
Special thanks to GGC for their ongoing efforts to raise awareness about web accessibility and helping to make web-based content more accessible for all audiences.
Nominate a Spotlight
Do you know an individual or group doing great things in the area of web accessibility? Nominate our next WAG Spotlight by emailing the following information to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Name of person or group
- Organization and/or Institute of Higher Education
- Role or job title
- How/when did this person (or group) get started with web accessibility?
- Why does this person (or group) think web accessibility is important?
- How does this person (or group) incorporate web accessibility into their current work?
- What inspires this person (or group) to continue this important work?
- What advice does this person (or group) have for others (newcomers, colleagues) regarding web accessibility?
- Anything else you would like to mention?