Washington State Accessible IT Capacity Building Institute on Policy #188 (Dec 2018)

Tuesday, December 4, 2018
Seattle, WA

This publication shares the proceedings of Washington State Accessible IT Capacity Building Institute on Policy #188, which was held in Seattle, Washington on December 4, 2018. Attendees included disability service and computing professionals; some were Policy #188 coordinators for their postsecondary institutions across Washington State Policy #188 serves to ensure that IT procured, developed, and used by state agencies, including public colleges and universities, is accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities.

These proceedings may be useful for people who

  • participated in the CBI,
  • have been identified to be the coordinator regarding the agency’s information technology accessibility plan,
  • are developing policy and processes to support and ensure compliance with this policy and associated standard, and
  • are addressing similar accessible IT issues at postsecondary institutions nationwide.

This event was sponsored by UW Accessible Technology Services (ATS) at the University of Washington (UW), a UW-IT (University of Washington Information Technology) unit that directs both the Access Technology and DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology) Centers. The meeting was facilitated by Dr. Sheryl Burgstahler, the director of ATS. ATS’s two centers are dedicated to empowering people with disabilities through technology and education. They promote awareness and accessibility to maximize the potential of individuals with disabilities and make our communities more vibrant, diverse, and inclusive.

The DO-IT Center strives to

  • increase the success of people with disabilities in challenging academic programs and careers;
  • promote the application of universal design to physical spaces, information technology, instruction, and services;
  • freely distribute online content, publications, and videos for use in presentations, exhibits, and the classroom; and
  • provide resources for students with disabilities, K-12 educators, postsecondary faculty and administrators, librarians, employers, parents, and mentors.

The Access Technology Center (ATC) focuses on ensuring UW students, faculty, and staff with disabilities have the same access to technology—including computers, software, and special equipment—as other students, faculty, and staff. ATC staff help individuals select and use assistive technology and supports a showroom with numerous products:

  • speech and braille output
  • screen magnification
  • alternatives to the keyboard and mouse
  • speech recognition software
  • tools to make reading and writing easier and computer use more comfortable
  • the capacity to create documents in e-text and braille

The showroom includes a collection of accessible science equipment such as automatic stirrers, tactile measuring devices, and talking calculators. The ATC provides braille embossing and tactile graphics for the UW community.

ATC staff promote the development and use of accessible technology products by

  • encouraging student computing facilities to include assistive technology;
  • offering courses, delivering presentations, and conducting ATC tours for UW classes and other groups;
  • working with campus units to prepare documents, videos, and other materials in accessible electronic formats;
  • assisting campus web developers in designing accessible websites and applications;
  • working with vendors of IT products used by the UW to improve accessibility; and
  • supporting a central resource to provide guidance to technologists and administrators at the UW and beyond.