New technology: How inclusive can it be?

Conference to explore fast-changing ramifications for higher education
By Staff

How best to make technology inclusive is the focus of this year’s Accessing Higher Ground, to be presented by the University of Colorado Boulder Nov. 14-18 at the Westin Hotel in Westminster.

The annual event draws national and international experts in the area of accessible media, universal design and best practices for Web and media design.

The CU campuses and CU system are eligible for a 50 percent discount on main conference registration fees. Click on the registration link to receive the campus discount and for other information.

The issue of the usability and accessibility of new technology – including mobile devices, web pages, cloud applications and e-Readers – is a pressing and crucial issue on both college campuses and in the business sector. These issues can sometimes have legal ramifications. For example, in November of last year the National Federation for the Blind (NFB) and the Department of Education filed a formal complaint against Pennsylvania State University because of the inaccessibility of university web pages and computer programs. A lawsuit against JetBlue for the inaccessibility of its website and airport kiosks is still working its way through the courts. A number of universities, including the University of Arizona and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, have abandoned plans to deploy the Amazon Kindle as a means of distributing e-books to students because of the inaccessibility of the device for blind students.

In this context, program coordinators at CU-Boulder are bringing together national leaders in the field of accessibility, universal design and digital media to educate staff, faculty, businesses and the community on the availability and potential benefits of designing for inclusiveness when developing web pages, digital media and other information and communication technology. The impact of e-book technology and techniques for developing accessible electronic materials will be one focus of the conference.

Other conference highlights include a number of talks on the accessibility features of the new HTML5 specification and best practices for implementing this new standard. A keynote talk by Jonathan Lazar, director of the Universal Usability Laboratory at Towson University, will discuss integrating universal design for information technology into the university curriculum. Other presentation topics include best practices for mobile technology, real-world testing for accessibility, implementing an organizational policy for digital inclusiveness, and legal and policy issues around digital accessibility.

A sampling of this year’s conference sessions include:               

  • ARIA and HTML5 Accessibility
  • Bring your own computer (or not) session: Nuts and Bolts of Captioning Digital Multimedia
  • Accessibility Testing in the Real World
  • Evaluating web content accessibility – using WAVE to facilitate human evaluation
  • Integrating Accessibility into the Design of Online Learning Management systems: Theories and Practice
  • Implementation of a Multimedia Accessibility and Captioning Policy: a case study from the University of Illinois
  • Don’t Ask, Do Tell: Making Third Party Web Sites Accessible Without the Owners’ Help and Educating Owners How to Make Better Sites
  • Lab: Working with Accessible PDF Documents
  • Recent Developments in Office of Civil Rights (OCR) Cases--Focusing on Assistive Technology
  • Accessible Digital Textbooks in the Mobile Learning Environment

For a complete agenda, workshop listing and registration, visit the conference website at http://www.Colorado.EDU/ATconference/campus2011.html.

Contact Howard Kramer at 303-492-8672 or for more information.

Accessing Higher Ground is sponsored by Adobe Systems, Inc., Dolphin Computer Access, the Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities, Disability Services, MICROCOMPUTER Science Centre Inc., ATHEN, the Consortium of Support Programs for Students with Disabilities, Office of Information Technology, and the University of Colorado Boulder.

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