Recently I presented at the 44th annual ICCHE conference on the work of our student accessibility workers, and it seems fitting to share some of the results of this work with UIS faculty and staff.  UIS made a bold statement by hiring a team of student workers to assist my office with the task of institutional accessibility in February 2018. By mid-March four students were hired, and began their training. The student worker team launched the accessibility work in late March. 

In Spring 2018, College Deans provided priority class lists for accessibility work. Faculty received communication through my office regarding how to submit files and students began work. After much monitoring, shuffling, and training on the spot for difficult files, together, we all learned ways to more fully provide accessibility services to all of our students.  Many faculty worked with me to build opportunities for future students to have accessible files. Most of our work focused on making Word, PowerPoint, and PDFs accessible for screen reader users. We also provided captions for videos. Over this semester the Accessibility Team was able to complete:

  • 42 classes
  • 919 total files
    • 498 Word files – 2,018 total pages
    • 228 PDF files – 4,921 total pages
    • 94 PowerPoint files – 2,376 total slides
    • 56 Videos – 16:14:08 total run time
    • 43 assorted files

Over the summer faculty continued to work on accessibility issues, and the library expanded their accessibility work with our office, as well. As I mentioned at the end of last semester the library began making their scanned course reserves accessible. This has been a major move as it allows faculty to have one place to contact to get their materials scanned, made accessible, and posted for online access.

In Fall 2018, we brought 2 new student workers on board which required additional training. We also were able to add to our service offerings a bit. As discussed last year, audio descriptions are required for videos. We are now adding audio descriptions where possible, and making notes of the need for audio descriptions when not possible. The Team is also providing transcripts along with the caption files. Over this semester The Accessibility Team was able to complete:

  • 50 classes
  • 840 total files
    • 325 PDF files – 5,256 total pages
    • 209 Word files – 683 total pages
    • 183 PowerPoint files – 5,168 total pages
    • 119 Videos – 58:17:15 total run time
    • 4 assorted files

We had a substantial decrease in the Word files received which is credited to all of the faculty who attended workshops, reached out, or came to COLRS for one-on-one consultations with the Accessibility office within the last year.  To faculty who are making accessibility of digital documents for their students a priority, thank you! 

And in this semester, along with continuing work on courses, we’ve been doing work for some of the OER fellows to make the materials they are adopting or writing accessible for all users. These efforts have pushed the skills of the student workers to a new level.  The Accessibility Team has now made an entire textbook accessible for one of the OER faculty fellows teams. So thanks for the excellent effort: Alana, Brandon, Daniela, and Kayla.