AccessibilityOz Working to Make Higher Education More Accessible

It’s very pleasing to see the current interest shown – and genuine progress made – in improving accessibility in higher education.

AccessibilityOz has been actively promoting accessibility for tertiary level students since CEO Gian Wild founded the company in 2011 (she spoke at the Accessing Higher Ground conference in Boulder, Colorado that same year) after spending six years running Usability and Accessibility Services at Monash University in Australia. It’s gratifying to see things moving now from discussions and proposals and plans to actual implementation.

A good example can be found in a 3Play Media webinar that took place on 15 February, 2018: University-Wide Accessibility: Supporting all Students and Faculty with Disabilities in Higher Education (recording with linked transcript available).

Webinar video screenshot, linked to online recording

This particular webinar takes the form of a presentation by Carlos Herrera on how City University of New York made assistive technology software available on and off campus, to the benefit of all students, including but not limited to those with disabilities. This is followed by a Q&A that covers some issues that are very pertinent to accessibility and inclusion in higher education in general.

Ensuring that university level education is accessible to students with disabilities continues to be a key focus for us at AccessibilityOz, and we’re proud to be involved with some very exciting initiatives.

  • In 2016, AccessibilityOz was awarded a five-year, $2 million contract to assist the California Community Colleges Tech Center in making accessible web applications.
  • AccessibilityOz has an ongoing contract with Montgomery County Community College (Pennsylvania, USA) to help develop and implement an effective accessibility strategy.
  • Michigan State University in 2016 purchased a three-year license of OzART, AccessibilityOz’s accessible and automated accessibility testing tool. Since then, AccessibilityOz has been working with MSU to adapt OzART to better suit the needs of institutions of higher education.
  • George Mason University (Virginia, USA), University of Sydney (Australia) and Maryland State Department of Education (USA) all use OzART.
  • AccessibilityOz ran an Accessibility Basics session for St. Vrain Valley School District (Colorado, USA) and we are now developing accessibility guidelines for them.

In addition, Gian has recently joined the Higher Education Content Steering Group for the Accessibility Switchboard, which connects industry and consumers to solutions for technology accessibility, and the benefits of organization-wide approaches to accessibility.

As if all that isn’t enough, Gian will also be delivering the opening keynote address at the DrupalCon Nashville 2018 Higher-Ed Summit on 9 April, a key event for the many universities and colleges that use Drupal, the open source content-management framework.

AccessibilityOz will continue to play a significant role in make higher education truly accessible.