2009 CIC IT Accessibility and Usability Working Group Annual Summer Conference Proceedings
Sub-Committee Updates Session
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>> Margaret: I'd to thank John for adding to the foundation of information that we are paying attention to with regard to issues of accessibility and access and which are the focus of the work of the CIC working group. It might be interesting now to find out what has happened on some of the campuses of the member institutions. Unfortunately, we are not all here. We have, I believe eight and possibly nine if the one person can join us through Talking Communities. So I would like to ask those of you who are going to be giving a campus update to come forward, and if you don't know who you are, and this comes to you as a surprise, I apologize, but I have my goon squad. They'll come out and recruit you. I'm hoping that, sorry, John, I'm hoping that Mike Ellege [assumed spelling] will participate, Christian, Penn, and Dean from Purdue, Alice Anderson, if she's accessing us via Talking Communities, Haddie [assumed spelling], and Julie Hardysee [assumed spelling]. And what we're going to do is in many cases, the person who is the campus representative to the CIC working group, the official campus representative to the CIC working group committee is also the person who chairs one of the CIC working groups. So that person will give both the update and also the campus update as well as the committee update. Haddie, I think that is there to help you find a place to sit.
[ Pause ]
>> Margaret: For those of you who are new, and I think there are a lot of you, one of the goals of this annual conference is for us to gather ideas from people who are in accessibility and access. We want to gather information. We want to then set goals and objectives, gather more information, and then form a set of working plans that we want to forward or set aside a, a, a body of information that we want to forward to the CIO's of our institutions in order to get the kind of buy in that both John spoke of and the kind of buy in that Dr. Rosenbaum [assumed spelling] spoke of because we need that buy in at higher levels in our institutions, and this, the work of this group helps that to happen. We're a little bit over schedule. We, this session is supposed to go from now until 10:30, and we'll just see how long it goes.
Julie Hardysee and I were talking about the conference before we got it set up, and we tried very hard to find some kind of a timer because we knew the timing of this session would be tight. Some comical timer that would make a quacking noise or honk like a gong, [laughter] something, and unfortunately, in the time we had, we don't, we came up with nothing. So Dean from Purdue, who will be helping with the conference next year, start looking now for a timer [laughter] that will make it amusing to have to jump in and say to somebody, a ding, too much time. We will just start with Mike, if you, do you want to go first. University of Michigan, Michigan State rather, sorry. Michigan State University, Mike Ellege. And Mike, you'll be reporting on both the campus update as well as the work of your committees. And you have about 30 seconds. [laughter] No, you've got about ten minutes.
>> Mike Ellege: Great. And I'm, you know, really impressed with the way that technology is working this morning. I mean, there hasn't been a glitch, and having done this last year, I'm very aware of, of how easy it is for glitches to take place. So, before I start, maybe we should give a little round of applause to the tech people who are making this work so well. [applause]
>> Mike Ellege: So, Margaret, that means I have 20 minutes now, right?
>> Margaret: Yeah.
>> Mike Ellege: [laughs] I'm Mike Ellege. I'm the assistant director of the Usability and Accessibility Center at Michigan State University. We have done something that in the last year and a half, which I think is really quite remarkable and I think is, is very much on the minds and on the calendars of a lot of the other CIC schools. We have implemented a formal accessibility policy across the campus that requires all websites and eventually course materials to meet the requirements of Section 508, and at this point, web content accessibility guidelines of 1.0. For those of you who don't know about [inaudible] 1.0 and Section 508, they're a set of checklists that are required to, that you need to follow in order to, from a standard standpoint, make your website accessible. In the past, we've had what was called a recommendation for, for making websites and course materials accessible, and there's been, as I'm it's true on other campuses here to us, I know it's true on other campuses here, there's been a, a lot of interest and adoption by web developers within the community a very strong good-faith effort to make websites particularly accessible, but what's kind of unique about what we've done is that it's gone from the point where we're making a, a statement of encouragement to making a requirement that things be accessible. So for the last year and a half since it's essentially been adopted, we've been in the process of, of implementing this on campus. We're at the, the point now where we are receiving what are called web accessibility remediation forums from each of the units on campus that indicate how compliant their websites are.
The, the way that the processes work, I think it's been very, so far it seems to have worked pretty well, is that initially there was a committee put together that developed some language, some statement of policy that the, the legal department was part of a high-level group of, of administrators who helped draft the policy for making things accessible, setting out why it was important and how it should be done. And then there's a process put in place where we asked the different units on campus that have to do with university business [beeping] and academic activities to evaluate their websites and their course materials by a particular date. Now, something that's an important distinction is that we didn't say to everybody, you have to have your sites and your course materials accessible by, initially it was January 5th I think, and then it was later moved to May 15th of this year, but what we said is that you need to evaluate your sites so that we have a sense of how accessible they are and where they're not. We put together a checklist for people to go through, essentially self-administered, provided some support for people who didn't have the resources to do it themselves were primarily pushed it down into the organization and said, here's the criteria by which you can evaluate your sites. This is a checklist. These are the tools. And then we held workshops to provide people with that instruction.
The, what has happened is that [beeping] we've had about 500 sites at this point provide an analysis of how compliant they are, and I don't have the, the numbers in front of me, but [beeping] as I recall, there were maybe 15 percent of the people who came back with those forms and said, we are compliant, and then there was another 50 or 60 percent of them who said we're not compliant, but this is how we will become compliant in the next two years. And then there was maybe 25 percent who said, we aren't compliant, and there's something that's on our site that's going to prevent us from being compliant so we want an exception.
So this is what we've been doing over the last year and a half in total, and since really last summer when the evaluation guidelines went out toward evaluating sites on campus and seeing how compliant they are.
The next part is going to be kind of the, the challenging aspect of it, and that will be going back to those units that haven't submitted those forms, who necessarily haven't done their evaluations for whatever reasons, and then encouraging them to do it, but I'm really fortunate in being able to say that that's another department that's going to be doing that rather than the Usability and Accessibility Center. So they'll have to take the initiative in, in pursuing those people and gently prompting them to, to fulfill thing. The other aspect that I think is, is important to remember, too, is that we've tried to do this, and, and I know those of you who, since we're, we're academic institutions, we realize that, that we are really in support of the faculty and the students. So we've tried very hard to make it a cooperative process so that we're working with people to help them become more compliant. There's not any talk about pulling people off of servers or blacklisting professors, but it, because you know how long that would last. About as long as it would take for all of us to be canned. So that, that's another important aspect of it is, is making it a very cooperative process. And as, as my colleagues are going through the same process at different stages, I think one of the things that this has also done for us, which has been very helpful and which again we're going to be addressing, and I think in some cases struggling with as we move forward, is that it, it raises the issues of how do you make things complaint beyond websites. And as John mentioned, and as Howard mentioned, there's a kind of a brave new world out there of accessibility when it comes to different applications and, and methodology and getting websites to be compliant is really the easy part. And so as we start moving into more and more classes that are taught through video and through, and sites that have interactive components, that's really where we're going to be stretched, and where we're going to have the greatest amount of learning in making things compliant.
Just a couple of comments about the, the subcommittee that I, I'm in charge of here, we have a, an education promotion and training group, subgroup in which we're sharing information about what's going on on each other's campuses in the way of letting people know about accessibility and how to go about promoting it. For the most part, as a group, we've really been concentrating on doing a survey this year, evaluating the information technology accessibility on each of our campuses. So, my subgroup got to the point where we started sharing information about what's going on each of our campuses, but really hasn't taken that much beyond that. What we're going to do this next year is pull together that information and set best practices among, among our campuses so we can learn from each other what things have worked well and what things haven't worked well in a way of promoting things on campuses. I guess the, they key thing coming out of it, though, is that key learning is that you can lead a horse to water, but you can't necessarily make them drink. So one of the biggest challenges is not necessarily having the workshops out there for people to attend, but getting people to attend those workshops.
[ Pause ]
>> Margaret: Thank you, Mike. And let's move on to Dean. Dean is representing Purdue University.
>> Dean Bresnehan [assumed spelling]: Hi. As Margaret said, I'm Dean Bresnehan. I'm from Purdue University. When I was made aware that I was going to be working, you know, presenting on this panel, I thought, oh, we've got a web accessibility policy that we're working on, and then Mike sent his around that he was going to be talking about his web accessibility policy. Not wanting to step on Mike's toes, and I thought, well, we've got an intern working with us this summer about captioning, and then Alice Anderson sent her thing around about a captioning. So I didn't want to talk about that. So you guys get to talk about my third option [laughs], which is video remote interpreting. Now how many of, of you have heard that term before? Just a few. OK. Video remote interpreting is a, a way to assist a deaf individual in a classroom, and instead of having the sign-language interpreter stand in front of the class, the interpreter is actually in some remote location. Could be the next town. Could be the next state. Could be several states away. And that the student in the classroom is looking at a laptop computer or some other piece of technology where they're connected via web cam to that interpreter. And so the interpreter hears the discussion that's going on in the classroom, whether that's the professor or a group discussion. They're signing in front of the web camera, and then the student gets to see it on their piece of technology in front of them, and if they have a question, they can sign back to the interpreter, and the interpreter can voice that question if need be to the instructor. Our, the group I'm in is the information technology group at Purdue, and we're collaborating with the Disability Resource Center that's our Disabled Student Services Office at Purdue. The sign-language interpreter there, we're collaborating with her to try to implement this, and it turns out, we're actually going to have two different flavors of it on campus this fall. The first one that we're engaged in is with the State Vocational Rehabilitation Office. They are interested in getting universities in Indiana involved, excited about video remote interpreting, which I'll abbreviate as VRI, because it's a cost savings to everybody. Many of you are aware that sign-language interpreters, it's a seller's market, and so, and that skilled interpreters are hard to come by. So that if we hire an interpreter, then they get paid as soon as they leave their home, and get paid all the way on the drive to the university, get paid while they're at the university, and they're getting paid for the drive home.
With video remote interpreting, there isn't that drive. So there's a, a potential cost savings. VRI, there's several ways to do that. VRI, the, the vocational rehabilitation office that we're working with, you know, we're going to it with some proprietary software and a, a vendor that VR uses in Indianapolis. We're working through the technological details of that right now, and there happen to be several. The standard setup that has been employed at IB Tech already in the past uses a cell phone to make that audio connection between the classroom and the interpreter. Well, you know, wouldn't it be great if that worked just the same at Purdue, but we have buildings and classrooms on campus that don't get cell phone reception. So we're trying to figure out what kinds of technology will be reliable and suitable for making that audio connection from the classroom down to Indianapolis and back.
I said there would be two flavors. The second flavor we're experimenting with, we'll, we'll also do a pilot this fall is using Adobe Connect. How many of you are familiar with Adobe Connect? Quite a few but not everybody. Adobe Connect is a piece of software that allows Internet conferencing, and at Purdue, it's a piece of software that's available to every student and faculty on campus. It allows voice through the Internet. Allows web cam images to be shared, and we thought, well, if this is already available on campus, maybe that's a piece, you know, a tool that we could use to make this video remote interpreting possible. There also happen to be technical, technological obstacles with that as well. So we're working through those this summer with help from a variety of people on campus, and hopefully by next summer's conference, we'll be able to report on how successful those have been and how wildly appropriate it would be for all of your to replicate what we've done. [laughs] Thank you.
>> Margaret: Thank you, Dean. I'm glad that Dean spoke second because you might come away with the mistaken impression that this conference is all and only about web accessibility, but the reach of the work of this committee goes beyond just information access so, as presented via the Web. So the kind of work that Dean is doing is, is very helpful and important to all of the rest of us because he, he identified problems which are common across all institutions. It is hard to find interpreters. It is hard to have them come on site. It is expensive. You pay travel from where the point of departure to the time that they return, and so if Dean can learn something that will help all of us create a better model for providing services to our hearing-impaired students, that's a, a tremendous benefit that would have come out of this committee. In the interest of full disclosure, I do want to mention that the Talking Community sessions are being fully recorded, if the technology is working as it is supposed to be. Not that that should put a damper on what anyone feels to, they would like to ask as a question or what any of the presenters might choose to say, but I believe there may be even some, as John was saying, is that world of law. I don't know that world. I have a daughter who's an attorney. Still don't know that world. Talk to her about grandson, great, law, no. But probably you do have to let people know if they are being recorded. The other thing I want to mention is that all of the information that is being presented now or the presentations will be available via a website. Much of it is currently available, but there's a restriction in terms of access to that website, and I will be sending a web link where you can access all of this information post-conference that will be mailed, that the, the information about that website will be mailed directly to the conference attendees. And with that, I'm going to ask Haddie if he can give us an update on course management, is that your subcommittee, Haddie? Course -
>> Haddie: Learning management system. Yeah. Yeah.
>> Margaret: Learning management, sorry. And Haddie has, hopefully, Haddie, you can make this a pitch for people to sit in on your committee, your working group committee to do more robust exploration of the issues, but I'll let you say why you think learning management systems are important and need to be paid attention to, Haddie, if you would. Thank you.
>> Haddie: Yeah. You're welcome. Good morning everyone. My name is Haddie Langdon [assumed spelling]. Web accessibility, and what else in the title, web design accessibility [inaudible]. [laughs] This is one of the hat. [laughs] I think, John Gunderson [assumed spelling] should, should be sitting here and giving a report on the access initiative. He, he briefly talked about that, but I think he oversees the old ac, accessibility force on campus. I, I have
>> We'll, we'll be covering that, Haddie.
>> Haddie: OK, please, then. Then anytime that you think, you know, I, I miss some point, please jump in. Great. We don't, we don't have any campus accessibility policies or this is, I don't need to talk about it. [laughs] My focal, my involvement with this group is usually around the learning management systems. We, there's, I think everybody knows that the, there are serious accessibility issues with learning management systems, and then several years ago we decided to address the issues in a different way. Instead of complaining and, and talking with people who are not understand, who do not understand about accessibility, we did a support team of Blackboard desire to learn on other companies. We decided, you know, to, to compile accessibility reports on those products and then try to reach the company through the contacts that we have. In, in our white paper, we did not really said that, hey, you are not accessible, and we have, we are going to sue you and, or, or threatening them. It was very detailed report, and then we addressed the accessibility issues along with pos, possible technological solutions for those issues. We had started with Web CT at that time, and then after some effort, we were able to really communicate with them, and then Web CT dedicate, assign somebody to work with us, and we have the goods relationship with them when we were about to change something in, in that company, in the accessibility of that product. During that process, Blackboards bought Web CT, and so we were, we were reset. [laughs] Took us almost 12 to 16 month until we were able to restart or to, to continue were we left off with Web CT, and bring them on board, in particular there was an, an interesting purchasing process in [inaudible] or action in, at CSU, California State University. They decided to, to remove Blackboard and desired to learn from their, what they call that, act, preferred vendor list. So as a result, none of those campuses could, 23 campuses on that CSU [inaudible]. Blackboard had desired to learn, at least they were recommending not to do that. So this really affected collaboration from Blackboard with us. So they finally realized that accessibility is really an important issue or important factor for the product.
So they, they provided a lot of, invested a lot of resources in, in, in their development team to work with us. As a result of the collaboration that we have with, with Blackboard, we work with them on almost, at least during the, the development phase, we worked on weekly basis with them. They share with us the new ideas that they have, the new implementation of the features that they have, and then we work with them, and we test for them and provide them with, with universally-accessible solution for those problems. This is going very well. We have similar working group with desire to learn the, that Ken is running, and then I, I let Ken talk about that here, but generally it is also very positive running. This is very good collaboration. Working with them is a lot easier because they are small company, and they don't have that big stack of, you know, hierarchy at, at, at Blackboard.
One thing that I personally would like to promote this, this time here, this conference is that despite some people might think, you know, accessibility policy is, is good thing to have, I'm not going to reject that, but I'm not pushing for it. I, I realize that having accessibility policy is somehow, it is not welcomed by campus community. They feel a little pressure by, by [inaudible] telling them you have to do that. Some of them might do that, but it is not easy to sell that when you, they, when they feel they are pressured to do it. My, recently, I really, I've changed my, my approach for accessibility. I'm not really considering accessibility as an extra stuff. We, I think we should never do that. When I'm trying to talk with about accessibility with companies or with administrators, I think I said consider accessibility like any other feature. If you are going to purchase a product, you are looking for a specific feature, you, a desired feature. I think accessibility features is like that. So we should not really separate accessibility feature from functional features that other [inaudible] products offer them. Because as soon as you start that, then the product will often, the, the, the blocking theme or the administrative who decide for those features to implement, they have to prioritize them. So accessibility usually goes to the bottom of the list. That, that's why I, I would like really to, to promote the idea when you are talking about accessibility, with different offers, with the administrator, do not make it a separate category. Even [inaudible], but it is as important. Con, consider for, for application, complicated applications like Blackboard. If those features, the, if you didn't have any mouse support, oh, everybody I think would complain, but it doesn't have keyboard support. Nobody cares. But if you say that keyboard support is as important like mouse support, we don't talking about accessibility, then, then, then, then, then you, you get experience that you get more attention. That, that is something that my, my point for, for this conference that I would like to know that people consider accessibility features as, as a functional feature like other stuff. As part of the learning management system work that you are doing here, the, this is long time we haven't evaluated these two products, Blackboard and desire to learn. I'm going to start exchanging some ideas about evaluation of these two products again, but based on the different, little different criteria. Last time, we evaluated these two products, mainly we focused on identifying accessibility issues. I think a better approach is that to define accessibility features for learning management systems. So we have to list all the accessibility features that you would like to see that it could help a variety of people who have assisted technology users based on that, and when we evaluate these two products, and hopefully we can publish them and all those people who come to us and ask about accessibility features when then they have access to their most recent information, accessibility for information of these two products. This is something that, that I could say about Blackboard.
About, can we talk about desires to learn. As you probably, or some of you might know that, Angel has been brought by Blackboard. So it is not an option for us to evaluate that again because very soon that they will, will [inaudible], they, they have to merge their products in their, the Blackboard framework. Regarding Saki [assumed spelling] and mood, we are not using them. I would really like to encourage those campuses who are using these two products to bring, to come together and establish a collaboration group. I'm pretty sure through the collaboration, you can reach a lot more accessibility feature. It can get a lot of more accessibility feature in, in those products. I do not know at this, this time how the accessibility of Saki is, but I very like to learn today or then tomorrow about that, and then hopefully our collaboration application that John briefly demonstrated earlier, they can use it to bring people together.
>> Margaret: Haddie, thank you, and you brought up a point that I would like to make, which is that there are lots of different flavors of learning management or course management system. Indiana University does use Saki and is heavily involved in the development and, and accessibility testing of Saki, which means that it's somewhat more accessible than it would be if there were no accessibility testing. And echoing all of the things that had been said here at this conference so far, I am the replacement for Mike, who did an excellent job as the lead, accessibility lead for Saki. We haven't done much for a year or nine months, but part of that is because we had no backup from anybody higher than Mike or myself. So when Mike was involved, the accessibility testing was done by IU. When Mike wanted to move on because his job changed, he suggested that I would be a good person to take this on, and I, I think now was semi-hoodwinked the same as, because it's a lot of work. And the work is the same work that we're talking about. It's getting people to pay attention. And just recently I had a, I finally went to the director of the Saki Foundation, Michael Corcusca [assumed spelling], and we had a very positive phone call, and I actually, if I were Steven Colbert, I'd use a much more gross way of describing this, but, well I can say, grew a pair, and I said, "You know, I don't understand what accessibility. How is this important?" We put these juror [phonetic] tickets up saying here's a problem. This is inaccessible. This is inaccessible, and then nothing happens, and he said, "Yeah. That's, that is an issue. You and I need to talk more about that." I also said the accessibility testing is done by us at Indiana University, and wouldn't it be great if we had a pool of people. I'm working with people at UC Davis. What would really be cool is if you would pay somebody to do this accessibility testing. We can find students who have disabilities of a variety of types and use the tools that you would use to access this learning management system. Why, why not, they won't come in for free. I know that. That's pipe cinch [phonetic]. They're not going to give up their Coke break or an extra hour of sleep to come in and do something for us, and he said, "Oh, I can give you money." And I was like, oh, I have to keep breathing. I have to keep talking. [crosstalk] So, you know, that was cool. He was calling from Paris. It's probably very easy to say you're going to give somebody money if you're in Paris, and I'm in Bloomington, Indiana. But hopefully that will be a step forward, but the story is merely illustrative of why there is a group like this, and why we have to keep plugging away and plugging away and bringing these issues to the forefront, and without groups like this, the, every one of that's in the audience and focusing on these issues then will have a hard time making progress.
>> Haddie: I think, Margaret, since this is a panel discussion, I, I need to share that. I think that the better approach is that, you know, that people who are in charge of the accessibility, they dedicate some of, some, some, some, some of their time for this purpose.
>> Margaret: Oh, sure. Sure.
>> Haddie: I mean, just with volunteers and putting out of their, their regular job duty, it, it isn't, it might not work.
>> Margaret: It will be a combination of both for sure, Haddie.
>> Haddie: Yeah.
>> Margaret: It will be a combination of -
>> Haddie: So, you know, finding volunteer, it is always difficult.
>> Margaret: Right. Well, [crosstalk] we'll, we will -
>> Haddie: So, that's, that's why I think it's [inaudible] idea, you know, that put a part of their job duty, you know, to work on such collaborations.
>> Margaret: We are, yes, and you're, where Haddie makes a very good point. You can't do it only with volunteer support, but we can't do it all with just the staff that exists either. And you know, if you're lucky, maybe you'll grow to the point where these issues have enough importance and visibility as John was saying. He, they created positions and hired staff, and that's great. And, and that, that's, you know, John's a very excellent example of what can happen sort of like California. If you have government, state government legislation backing you up, that makes things easier. But just because they're not easy doesn't mean you shouldn't try, and try like the dickens. So that's what we're all about.
>> John: Through discussions with the, the Saki guy, did you talk about, like, accessibility architect because one of the things we try to do with -
>> Margaret: Do you -
>> John: our [inaudible]. One of the, I think, the most important things that Haddie does with our collaborations is when we try working with companies, we actually want to get into the design process and, and internal QA process because testing with people with disabilities is very expensive, and, I mean, expensive in terms of it takes time, it takes a lot of coordination, compiling reports, and you don't want to use that scarce resource to find, you know, dumb accessibility problems. Because if you're just finding the, you know, OK, there's no headers on this page. OK. There's no old text for the images here. You know. Those kinds of things waste a lot of time, and probably, you know, take a long time to get, especially headings if they're not using them or not using them properly, take a long time to get fixed. So we really need to get into the design process. What's, is there an accessibility architect for Saki? Is there somebody who's responsible for building, you know, architecting and developing internal standards in the Saki project that all Saki contributors need to conform to to be considered part of Saki? In their own internal QA process, you know, I, there's always some level of internal quality assurance, even an open source product, project, what, what type of accessibility testing goes on in, in those processes, and those are the type of things, like with Blackboard and other collaborations that we're trying to do is we're trying to build into the company. And I think some companies are starting to understand that and try to learn, well, how do we develop design specifications for accessibility. You know, what, what do we want our coders to do as opposed to. So I think these are important strategic things that we need in these types of collaborations so that we get accessibility built in at design time. And by the time it gets to the students and people with disabilities, we're really looking at more usability issues. Yeah, you have headings here, but this heading doesn't make sense to me. Or, [inaudible], or, you know, you're using too many headers. I want to know, I don't, and things like that so that, and those things, hopefully, are easier to fix because the internal structure is already there.
>> Margaret: John, thank you. You're, you're absolutely right, and we're also working on getting that built into the Saki development process, and it is to some extent at, and, and hopefully, eventually the testing will be, usability testing for individuals with disabilities, but I don't think that we're there yet. And, again, a good reason to be sharing information at a conference like this because when we'll be talking to you soon. I, I'd like Julie Hardysee's going to be the new chair of the library subcommittee, and she's giving a report for which schools. Julie, I forgot.
>> Julie Hardysee: Well, University of Wisconsin - Madison. Is Alice Anderson not going to be able to, she's on Talking Communities right now?
>> Margaret: Is Alice Anderson on Talking Communities, Thomas?
>> Thomas: She was earlier.
>> Margaret: Is Alice Anderson on Talking Communities? Is she. [inaudible audience response] OK. And, [inaudible] she can give the report or Julie Hardysee can give the Madison report for her, but I certainly want to give her the opportunity if she's there. So in the meantime, Julie, why don't give us the library subcommittee report.
>> Julie Hardysee: Yeah. The library subcommittee, I can give you the charter. It's, we developed that last year at last year's meeting, and that it is to facilitate communication and increase participation and awareness among member libraries on accessibility issues and library services. And, by the way, my name's Julie Hardysee, and I'm the usability and interface specialist for the digital library program here at Indiana University. And so for the, the committee last year got together for the first time, and created that charter, and we created a plan, which kind of dealt with two different things I think. We were looking at setting, developing a set of criteria to evaluate library systems, and I think it was mostly, we were mostly looking at vended products. So a way to, a way to be able to evaluate those products that we already have to assess how accessible those products are and so that we can provide that information to our users who are already coming to our site and needing that information about which databases, which online journals are going to be most accessible and how they rate. And a second part of what wanted to do was to create a list of questions that libraries can take to vendors when they're looking at products or when they're developing products in house as well to make sure that those products are, are accessible and meet the needs of all the users that could be coming to the library to use different systems.
So we developed that plan last year, and we haven't done much with it. But my hope for this year is to review that plan, see if we need to update, update what we want to focus on and then actually implement that. I'm hoping that we can develop, develop that either both, the list of questions that libraries can use when talking to vendors, when purchasing products and also a way, a list of things possibly, I'm not quite sure, something to use to evaluate systems that libraries already have so that you can providers users with information about what products are going to be most accessible and being able to move forward from there. So that's kind of the very short thing. [inaudible]
>> Margaret: Great. Great. Thomas is, no. Do you want to briefly give the Madison report, Julie -
>> Julie Hardysee: Yes.
>> Margaret: Since she's not back from her appointment.
>> Julie Hardysee: So the University of Wisconsin - Madison, they gave a report for this year on media captioning and transcribing pilot project. They've had a web accessibility policy since 2001 based on Section 508 standards, and they found that the campus was increasing its use of media ranging from audio and video files and formats to, to lecture capture in the classroom. And so they wanted to make sure that that media, that form of media was compliant with their campus policy on web accessibility, and so for in, in May of 2009, media representatives from the major campus departments came together to discuss the need for campus solution. They wanted to try and find a one-stop captioning transcribing service for all the media types and to achieve a quantity of scale, some sort of affordable solution rather than having individuals try and deal with these media captioning problems on a case-by-case basis. So they developed, they, they paid for a small, they did a small pre-paid account with a company, I guess, called Automatic Sync Technologies, and there are different areas on campus that were invited to submitted their files to Automatic Sync for a beta project to see how this could work. And let's see. So they're, they're working on evaluating that system. They're working with the campus CIO to determine how to secure a campus captioning service. So this is all part of this project, and I think it's probably to look at, if Automatic Sync is the way to go, if, you know, paying someone to do that, if it should be something that's done in house, that sort of thing I think. And the participants in the project were also asked to identify a best guess as to how many media captioning, transcribing files, that sort of, or how many, you know, how many hours. I'm sorry. I should just read this. [laughs]
The participants in the project have also been asked to identify what the media captioning, transcribing needs for the upcoming fiscal year will be. So there are estimates from eight representative departments, and it, it currently exceeds 47,000 hours of media that needs to be transcribed, captioned, and there's all sorts of categories for this. There are third-party produced things for YouTube and commercial VHS videos. There's internally-produced media which, you know, is welcoming. It's press releases, training videos, that sort of thing. There are events with live viewership and necessitating live captioning. So that's another area. There are events with no live viewership where post-production captioning can occur. So, and then there are also audio files, podcasts, and that sort of thing. So they're, they're working with trying to figure out how to, how to organize all of that so that captioning can happen in some sort of orderly and probably consistent way across all of, all the campus. So I think that's the update from them.
>> Margaret: Thank you, Julie, for pitch hitting for Alice from Madison. And now let's move to Ken from Penn State, from Ohio State, via Ohio State. Sorry. The Ohio, Penn State.
>> Ken: Yes, The Ohio State.
>> This is being recorded. [laughter] [crosstalk]
>> Margaret: Yes it is.
>> Ken: I'm not sure why they ever did that. I think it was a mistake to say probably The, but anyway. [laughter] So, am, am I giving both subcommittee and campus?
>> Margaret: I can do the subcommittee or you. Either one.
>> Ken: OK. I'll, I'll, I'll let you, you do subcommittee.
>> Margaret: Sure. No problem.
>> Ken: And, like Dean was saying, you know, there have been various reports on different aspects of what we're doing on campus, and so rather than giving a review of things that overlap with what other campuses are doing, one thing that's happened at, at Ohio State recently that's, that's very interesting, and I hope will be interesting to, to people here has to do with collaboration between Ohio Board of Regents. So I guess it's just not Ohio State. It's the, the, it's what's now called the University System of Ohio. A collaboration between O, O, Ohio Board of Regents, which oversees higher education in, in Ohio, and Rehab Service, Services Commission of Ohio. What's happened is in the fall, there was a, a, an ad hoc group formed, and this ad hoc group had participation from a Rehab Services Commission that had the vice chancellor for finance for Ohio Board of Regents. People from OSU main campus, Mansfield campus, and Yma [assumed spelling] campuses, Wright State University, which has a very, very strong disability program, Columbus State, which is located in Columbus, hence the name, and Southern Ohio Council for Higher Education, Ohio Library and Information Network, which is Ohio Link which oversees all of libraries in, in Ohio, you know, public libraries in Ohio, public campus libraries in Ohio. And they got together to, to, to talk about how can some of the moneys that Rehab Services Commission gets through federal matching dollars be used for supportive services across all of the campuses.
So apparently, and I didn't know this until I started attending these meetings, but Rehab Services Commission, at least in Ohio. Now I'd imagine there's similar in other states, have the ability to get federal matching dollars for, for funds that they have, and the ratio in at least in Ohio is 3.68 to 1. Every year, the Ohio Board of Regents has about $700,000 that they can leverage to support services for people with disabilities on campuses. And what the proposal was is to take this $700,000 and give it to Rehab Services Commission of Ohio, and they go out, and they get federal matching money for it. So we come, we, we, we translate $700,000 into 3.2 million dollars, and, which sounds like a pretty good deal.
What had to happen for this to go through, and it did go through, it was sort of up in the air for a long time with lots of conversation. You know, will, will campuses be held harmless? Will, you know, current services be maintained because essentially what they were doing is taking Board of Regents money and giving it to, to Rehab Services Commission. An omnibus bill, amendment to the budget was introduced in the last minute, and basically what it says is, it said that the University System of Ohio chancellor gives authority to request that the Office of Budget, Budget and Management transfer student support services funds to Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission for the purpose of obtaining federal matching funds and to serve students with disabilities. So this was a little, small piece of legislation that was, that passed, and allowed this deal to happen. The deal will be renewed for at least two years, and there are a number of things that are going, going to happen as a result of it. In order to hold campuses harmless, to not take away any funds that they're already being given through, through, will be honored through Ohio Board of Regents, they created this under the rubrick [phonetic] of services to groups a series of, of grants. So you can apply for a grant. Your campus applies for a grant. You itemize the services that you need. You apply for a grant, and the general agreement is that if you already have services that are in place, those services will continue to be supported, and hopefully, improved so you can apply for new, for, for new services too. There are also two FTE's that needed to be created for service and project management from Rehab Services, and then the rest goes for assisted technology purchases and project development.
So there's a, a commission being formed, a committee being formed right now that has E Tech Ohio as part of it. E Tech Ohio is the Ohio Board of Regents, University System of Ohio oversight for technology, Ohio Link, and Board of Regents are all on this committee. OSU has representation on this committee, and the committee's mission is to decide what, what assistive technologies ought to be purchased, and, what projects in, for access technologies should be promoted across the entire state. OSU's portion of that is, we've got five projects that we're, we've submitted for potential funding to the tune of about $350,000. Some, some having to do with, with captioning, transcription service pilots. There's a video search software project, PDF remediation tools, and then a, a user's group to support users across campus especially people who are in charge of administration of access technologies. So, the jest is this is a really great thing. At least, I'm, I'm thinking it is. And if anybody wants to talk to me about it individually or about how we went about doing this, does anybody here have anything similar working at any of their campuses? Yeah. I think this is, this, I think this is fairly unique, but you know, in really strapped financial times, to have the ability to use these, these federal matching dollars that are sitting around, and to, to, you know, to pump services back out to campuses, improve current services, and, and, and give money for, for, for special projects, it's kind of a neat thing. So that's the, that's the big news from Ohio.
>> Margaret: Thank you, Ken. Ken's obviously a very brave man in this economy. I would never use the phrase "money sitting around" for fear it'd disappear. [laughter]
>> Ken: I take back the money sitting around part.
>> Margaret: What, Ken?
>> Ken: Strike that from the record. Strike, strike that from just the [crosstalk] edit that from the recording. [laughter]
>> Margaret: Recording for sure. I'm sure it's really not literally sitting around. It's being repurposed and directed in with good intention to very good cause.
>> Ken: Yeah, exactly. Just, just one other thing. One, one of the things that was, that was difficult about doing this particular deal is that Rehab Services Commissions tend to serve individuals. So there, and, and the number of people who are registered with rehab services commission that are on campuses is relatively small. So one of the things, one of the key pieces in this, this agreement was this notion of services to groups. It allowed Rehab Services to envision, to sort of break out of the box of service to an individual, and, and to, you know, explore the, this, this ability to provide services to groups. And, you know, and what's going to end up happening is their, their people, people that are registered with them will, will be, will benefit, but so will the sort of a follow-on benefit for all of the other people of the campuses who are, you know, getting this money and being able to strengthen services.
>> Margaret: Thank you, Ken. Christian from Penn State is going to give us the campus update from Penn State.
>> Christian: Hello from Penn State. It's really nice to be here again. I wanted to give you some updates in more of a headline news format, and I'm just going to be, there's a quiet a bit that was happening this past year, and if you want any details on any particular subject if I happen to move on, please just raise your hand and, and ask.
Penn State's had an accessibility policy for the Web in place since 2004, and looking at it now, it's getting very long in the tooth, and now we know we have a process of updating that policy that we need to go to, go through. And in that process, we also want to repair a few defects that were baked in the first, first time that we did this. So there's some technology updates that we have to do. There, you know, it's always a balancing act between how specific you want your technology requirements to be. If you get too specific about it, you're guaranteed obsolesce very quickly. On the other hand, if you try and generalize the product, you end up with a very long document that's subject to a lot of interpretation. So there's, there's some balancing that has to go on there, and we haven't quite figured out exactly the approach we're going to take. So the updates for the policy basically fall into two camps. One is technology updates, and the second is going back and re-evaluating some of the exceptions that were, to that policy that were put into place in the first time. And there was lots of political jockeying going on in 2004 when the policy was, was first developed.
And so that leads me into my next story is dealing with these exceptions. Probably the biggest exception to the policy was actually provided for online course content, and I can't explain how that happened or why that happened, but it did happen. And so it turns out that world, Penn State's world campus, which provides the lion's share of online course content for Penn State has decided that in the face of new strategies, a new strategic plan, and in the face of a new cohort of students and very ambitious plans to increase the online course presence, they have decided upon, within, through, within, within their own organization to make their online course content accessible. And boy, it has really kind of turned the organization on its head because this was a top-down decision, and the developers and instructional designers are shaking in their boots. They just don't know what to do, which was really silly because everybody who knows how to deal with, with this technology will tell you it's not rocket science. You've heard it here not once but many times. So they're also looking at things like content management systems, how to automate parts of the process. They're afraid of having their old tools that they're familiar and comfortable and, and loved taken away from them. They have all kinds of fears, rational and irrational, and they're also looking at, or those of us that are working on content management systems are trying to convince them that it's not just a technology that you're plopping in place, but you're also changing the organizational structure. One of the things that we always recommend with a content management system, and it's important to note here that nobody has taken me up on this, this advice, is to have in place, assuming, of course, if the content management system is taking care of the accessibility of the navigation and branding parts of the page, the wrapper around the content what they need to focus on primarily is content. You can create a, an accessible CMS so we stress looking at the content, and in order to deal with content that's coming in, at different, many different quality levels, content coming from faculty. Content coming from instructional design staff and, and developers, we tell them that, I tell them, I, I should say. I should take responsibility. I've been, I've been pressing the idea of a gatekeeper role at the end of the publication process. A person who really knows their accessibility stuff so that not everybody else on your staff has to really know their accessibility stuff. It's not to say that trying to spread the training and spreading the accessibility level throughout the organization is not a good idea. It's a great idea, but there needs to be somebody, in my opinion, at the gateway to do one last check for quality to make sure that all of the accessibility pieces are in place, and that, that is a role, not necessarily a person. So we're not talking about necessarily a new staff position. We're talking about somebody who has editorial review privileges at this point, and who needs to have the training for accessibility.
So that's, you know, so we're looking at some organizational changes in addition to technology changes. Which brings me to the next story. Part of the policy that is in place also includes a committee, an oversight committee for, for accessibility at Penn State. We're looking at whether the policy is working, but we also do a scan. We take a sample of, of the websites on campus, and we run a scan. We, we do an, an annual scan, and the tool that we're using generates the kinds of reports that we're all used to seeing the, the report that John mentioned. You may have an accessibility problem, and it's quite likely that this will, if you look here, you'll find the answer to how to help you. So we are scrapping that whole aspect. Those, those accessibility reports that organ, that units will re, receive from us is just a waste of, of disc space. I mean, nobody looks at a 500-page report on their website. They just don't. And they certainly won't use it to, as a basis for updating. So we are as of this year, and John, this is a warning to you and your server administrators, that Penn State is going to be using the functional accessibility evaluator tool for all of their scans. We've kicked around ideas on how we can do baseline scan between the two systems so that we, we can possibly compare it, apples to apples, but I think that we're just simply going to make a clean break and go with the functional accessibility evaluator this year. People have looked at the reports. They're a breath of fresh air for them. It gives them some actionable items that they can follow to improve the problems that they're having. So everybody's very happy with that. They. Let's see.
A month ago or so when Blackboard -
>> Margaret: Christian, we're running, we're running just a teeny bit short. So.
>> Christian: OK.
>> Margaret: Now, are you, you can, you have another minute or two.
>> Christian: This, this is why I'm using this particular -
>> Margaret: OK.
>> Christian: Quick reporting format.
>> Margaret: Yes. Thank you.
>> Christian: So, just to say that now that Blackboard has purchased Angel, we're on a, we're, we're back on our heads again. We don't know what to do. So we're, we're looking at possible alternatives. So. That's all, well, I haven't quite run out yet, but that's all for now folks. [laughter]
>> Margaret: Christian's information will be available on the website that I will direct you to following the conference. So the tremendous information that he didn't give us now will appear there, and John and I are going to duke it out for approximately the last 12 minutes prior to the break. And I will give you more time than Indiana takes.
>> John: Well, I think you, in my previous presentation, learned a little bit about what we're doing at Illinois and our strategies. I concur on the multi-media issue. It's an issue that multi-media developers are struggling with. I'm, I'm happy at Illinois that they're at least thinking about accessibility and talking about it, and trying to figure out what works on campus. I think the biggest thing that I'd like to report, I guess it's also combined with the purchasing subgroup report, is I did have a chance to talk to our CIO, Sally Jackson, before last week. The CIO's did discuss the report that we sent to them, and the request we made to, related to developing purchasing requirements. I didn't have a lot of time to talk to her, but Sally said they did discuss it. She was appointed to work with our group to kind of refine the proposal a little bit. So I, I think I'm, I think we've got an opportunity now. We've got some, the CIO's attention. And I, hopefully that we can work with Sally Jackson to, to expand this, and I think one of our strategic, the strategic aspect of this group is, I think, to help educate CIO's about the needs for accessibility to get that administrative support, the resources we need to actually make the types of systematic changes we want to make on our campuses. So I see this as a, a first step because as far as I know, this is the first time the CIO's have ever discussed accessibility at one of their meetings. So, I think that's a great accomplishment for this group, and Mike Ellege for putting together the report this year and working on that and the survey. It, it, it's a huge step, I think, for this group in raising awareness about CI, with the CIO's and, and getting them to start to look at this issue. So.
>> Margaret: Is that it? Are you going to report on your committee, or were you sort of did?
>> John: Well, I think the committee needs to work with Sally Jackson now to look at what the proposal that we made to them to develop some specific requirements. I didn't have a chance to sit down with Sally Jackson. She was traveling last week, and I'm traveling now. So, I'm hoping to meet with her in the next few weeks to find out more about what the CIO's would like to see from our group, but it's nice to have the CIO's asking us for something and appointing one of their members to start working with our group. You know, I think that's a tremendous accomplishment for this group in this past year, and, again, the work people did on the survey and putting that together, I think, you know, shows that we're now getting the attention of the CIO's, and that's really the, the important strategic aspect of this group. It's nice to share information and, and to make connections between campuses, but I think strategically, we obviously know we need more resources and more administrative support for these accessibility efforts, and I'm hoping that, you know, this is a, a great accomplishment for the group this year, and so I want to thank everybody who worked on that report and Mike Ellege for his leadership on it.
>> Margaret: And we'll hear more. John, John has given us the really very good news, which sort of as he has pointed out is the quintessence of the, the reason for the existence of the group, and Mike Ellege will tell us more about what that survey process was all about and what, what the scope of the survey was after we have our break.
But prior to going to break, I would like to just give you a brief update both on the initiatives related to accessibility that IU has been involved in as well as the alternate content and multi-media policy and techniques subcommittee, which I chair. Indiana has worked very hard through a web accessibility committee that I chair to move forward a policy or administrative practice document. I have much more respect for those who write policy than I ever did prior to working on this process because we've been at it for a couple of years, really, and started out with something that was long and convoluted and complex and have winnowed it down to something that is really fairly sleek. The policy has been moved forward to be reviewed by the first administrative body, and that is the group, the vice president in the Office of Affirmative Action, and I felt, as I hope my committee did, a tremendous sense of joy and relief when we finally signed off on what we thought was a good document and assumed that there would be immediate acceptance and a joy amongst all the administrators and that we would be at this conference saying we now have this thing now, but we don't. But we are, it, it's certainly getting attention at the right levels, and in even previous conversations prior to the start of this meeting with people from other institutions, it is obviously not the kind of thing that instantly happens. So we have a good group working for this here at Indiana University.
An interesting aspect of the policy or administrative practice, whichever they choose to call it, will be, if it's, that if it is an administrative practice much the way the IU branding campaign was rolled out, there will be a huge, huge education push and the development of lots of resources so that people can learn how to either avail themselves of accessible templates via the new course management system that IU is working with, or get access to resources that will enable people to create accessible websites and, and content. One of the things that currently exists is that the adaptive technology center does web accessibility testing using John's FAE evaluator as well as several other tools, and we do provide reports to individuals who would like us to rate the accessibility of their web pages and give them suggestions for how to improve them.
Multi-media and captioning has been mentioned here at Indiana University. There has been an effort to identify a unit that could provide reliably a transcriptioning and captioning service, and Automatic Sync Technologies is the group that has been used so far. One of the issues related to this kind of endeavor is funding, and that is a good reason to have people at high levels where there is funding involved and aware of accessibility issues. Currently, the videos and podcasts that have been transcribed have been for very specific projects where there was funding in existence to cover the costs of having that work done. So it's, there's two parts to saying, yes, we've identified somebody that can do this for the university, but the second part, and perhaps the more difficult part, is making this a policy and identifying funding so that however they decide to set it up, there will be a way to pay for this to be done. Very pleased with the services of Automatic Sync Technologies with regard to transcription. There were some endeavors to use remote transcription. That was tried some time ago, but this time around, we had two or possibly three students who found it to be very helpful. The way that works is the student's in a classroom, there's a transcriber somewhere, anywhere in the world. This one goes back and forth across the Internet. The professor wears a mic that's sends the voice to the laptop receiver that goes out over the Internet to, to the stenographer-type transcriptionist type and types and what the professor is saying appears on the screen for the student. So that is a useful way of providing that kind of access for someone that has a hearing impairment and for whom that particular technology works well.
With regard to the accessible, accessible content and multi-media policy committee, we last year de, defined our mission statement and decided that this was the first time we had all assembled, which was true for all of the subgroups, and we thought that we probably needed to do a survey of the various campuses to see what they were doing with regard to multi-media and accessible content because before we could decide what to do or what to pick as an action item or a goal, we needed to know what was going on on each of the campuses and what seemed to be the areas of perhaps most keen concern. And through the good graces of Ken Petree [assumed spelling], we actually got the survey sent out and have a number of responses, and, and the alternate content and multi-media policy and techniques subcommittee, we will be discussing the results of that survey, which we will use as a, as a guide to where we want to go in the future. And with that, I haven't been sitting as long as everyone else has, but we are scheduled to take a 15-minute break reconvening at 10:45 when, at which time, Mike Ellege is going to talk to us about the survey. The break materials are there. There are bathrooms in that direction, and we'll see you in 15.
==== Transcribed by Automatic Sync Technologies ====