October-December 2011
Volume 6 Issue 1 

Welcome to the Great Lakes ADA Center's quarterly Accessible Technology Bulletin

Technology Trainings & Events
(Central Standard Time)

Closing the Gap Conference
October 12 14, 2011
Bloomington, MN
The 29th annual Closing the Gap conference will cover a broad spectrum of technology as it is being applied to all disabilities and age groups in education, rehabilitation, vocation, and independent living. The conference showcases hundreds of product exhibitors. For more information: www.closingthegap.com/conference/
EDUCAUSE Conference
October 18 - 21, 2011
Philadelphia, PA
The EDUCAUSE Annual Conference unites the best thinking in higher education IT by bringing together insightful people, innovative research, supportive companies, and useful resources. There is an accessibility track. For more information: www.educause.edu/E2011
HighEdWeb Conference
October 23 - 26, 2011
Austin , TX
HighEdWeb is the national conference for all higher education Web professionals, from programmers to marketers to designers to accessibility experts, who want to explore the unique Web issues facing colleges and universities. For more information: 2011.highedweb.org/
Assistive Technology Industry Association Conference
November 3 - 5, 2011
Shamburg, IL
The ATIA Conference features the latest products and services, showcasing more than 100 exhibitors. Educational programs are organized by strand and include best practices, tips and tricks, product updates, demonstrations, research updates and case studies of assistive technologies from regional,. national and international experts. For more information: www.atia.org
Accessing High Ground: Accessible Media, Web, and Technology Conference
November 14 -18, 2011
Boulder, CO
The annual Accessing Higher Ground conference focuses on the implementation and benefits of Assistive Technology in the university and college setting for people with sensory, physical and learning disabilities. Other topics include legal and policy issues, including ADA and 508 compliance, and making campus media and information resources - including Web pages and library resources - accessible. For more information: www.colorado.edu/atconference
Assistive Technology Across the Lifespan Conference
December 1 - 2, 2011
Wisconsin Dells, WI
ATALC brings state-of-the-art assistive technology information to Wisconsin. The conference will provide comprehensive information and resources through innovative presentations and an interactive exhibit hall. All categories of assistive technology will be represented; all age groups from birth through adult and senior services, as well as all levels of expertise from beginner to advanced. For more information: www.atacrosslifespan.org
Web Accessibility Metrics Online Symposium
December 5, 2011
The W3C/WAI Research and Development Working Group will hold an online symposium on measuring website accessibility. The goal of this symposium is to bring researchers and practitioners together to scope the extent and magnitude of existing website accessibility metrics, and to develop a roadmap for future research and development in the field. For more information: www.w3.org/WAI/RD/2011/metrics/

A New Webinar Series for Illinois Faculty

The Great Lakes ADA Center is pleased to sponsor a new webinar series hosted by the Web Accessibility Consortium of the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE). The Web Accessibility Consortium is a network of Information Technology (IT) professionals, which support the implementation of the Illinois Information Technology Accessibility Act (IITAA) in higher education institutions throughout the state of Illinois.

Since its foundation in 2007, the IBHE Web Accessibility Consortium has provided several courses, seminars, and workshops to develop institutional expertise in accessible Web design for local training. Additional objectives of the Consortium include the organization of collaboration groups to improve the accessibility of institutional Web applications and resources.

In that spirit the new webinar series will focus on Universal Design for Education and the role of accessible technology in that process. This series will provide insights into how to begin to implement these guidelines and principles into classroom instruction to provide a more inclusive learning environment for a diverse student population, including those with disabilities.

Sessions will focus on key concepts, strategies and instructional technology that may be used to develop course materials that are universally designed. Universally designed course materials often provide benefits on multiple levels, including accessibility, content retention, varied learning styles, as well as platform and device independent delivery.

First Session: Thursday October 20, 2011 2:00 - 3:00pm CST

Introduction to Universal Design for Education (UDE) with Speaker Chris Dobson, Harper College

Picture of Chris Dobson
Chris Dobson

The process of Universal Design for Education takes into consideration a wide range of learners from diverse backgrounds with multiple learning styles and needs. Participants will be provided a brief overview of the topic, examples of UDE, as well as tools and methods for implementing UDE in their course materials. Participants will learn: the definition of Universal Design for Education, how UDE may be implemented into instruction to provide an inclusive learning environment, about methods, resources, and examples of instructional technology that enables faculty to engage their students.

The series is free, but participants must pre-register at http://www.adaconferences.org/IBHE/

Future sessions:
  • Introduction to the Illinois Information Accessibility Act (IITAA) with Kevin Price, University of Illinois Chicago on November 17, 2011
  • LecShare Pro with Chris Dobson, Harper College on December 15, 2011
  • Microsoft Office 2010 Accessibility with Christy Blew, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign on January 19, 2012
  • MathMLwith Giovanni Duarte, DeVry University on February 16, 2012
  • PDF Accessibility with Christy Blew University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign on March 15, 2012
  • SoftChalk Lessonbuilder with Chris Dobson, Harper College on April 19, 2012
  • Adobe Captivate with Giovanni Duarte, DeVry University May 17, 2012

Crowd Sourcing Accessibility

Crowd sourcing is the act of outsourcing tasks, traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, to an undefined, large group of people or community (a crowd), through an open call. (Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crowdsourcing).

Could crowd sourcing improve the accessibility of websites for people with disabilities? Fix the Web For more Information visit : http://fixtheweb.net/ led by Citizens Online thinks so. Their solution is to make it easy for people facing accessibility issues, such as older people or people with disabilities, to report problems with websites.

The Fix the Web model uses trained volunteers to do the work of contacting the website owners and guiding them to understand and correct the issues that are reported. One does not need to be an accessibility expert to be a volunteer because there are tools and a protocol to support the process. Some website owners are not aware of the importance of making their website accessible nor do many understand the legal requirements they may face of providing equitable access to information and services via the Internet.

The goal is to raise the awareness of accessibility problems on a massive scale. Using volunteers can facilitate raising issues on a much bigger scale and it's an easier process for people with disabilities to make a complaint. The volunteers have sources of specialized technical support to offer web owners, should they request more information or have questions once contacted. Volunteers can also help website owners understand the business case and the return on investment of a more accessible and usable website. There are currently over 600 volunteers doing this important work.

Of course, the most powerful aspect of crowd sourcing is the crowd! In an effort to make a large impact, Fix the Web has made reporting an inaccessible website incredibly simple and there is no limit to the number of websites you report. People with disabilities or others facing specific accessibility issues are the reporters. Reporters do not need to register, but one can register to stay informed of progress made on websites reported and to clarify any assistive technology or other questions that may arise about the precise accessibility issue. Currently there are 172 people with disabilities participating that have reported barriers to 843 websites.

Fix the Web has tremendous potential as a new approach to addressing the scope of inaccessible websites that make it difficult and in some cases impossible for individuals with disabilities to participate in our technology societies. They have a huge goal of increasing the number of websites reported to 250,000 in the next two years. That will take us, the crowd!

You can have a look at the VIDEO here


The Great Lakes ADA Center provides expert assistance via a national toll-free information line 800-949-4232 (V/TTY) or Online via Contact Us and presents customized trainings for employers, businesses, government, and individuals with disabilities regarding accessible technology and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990.

Great Lakes ADA and Accessible IT Center
University of Illinois at Chicago
Department of Disability and Human Development (MC 728)
1640 West Roosevelt Road, Room 405
Chicago, IL 60608-6904

Last Updated on:
Wed Jul 3, 2013