Global Accessibility Awareness Day on May 16
Thursday, May 16, marks the eighth annual Global Accessibility Awareness Day for raising awareness about digital access and inclusion for people with disabilities.
The University of Arkansas is committed to ensuring equal access to all programs, services and activities, including those in digital formats such as online courses and websites. The recently released Policy 204.2 Electronic and Information Technology (EIT) Accessibility including Website Accessibility, formalizes what is already the law: an inclusive learning experience and education should be completely accessible to everyone.
The Center for Educational Access serves as the central campus resource for students with disabilities and accommodations to remove barriers to accessing digital services.
"When a student has multiple online courses in one semester, the student often shares with us their struggles about navigating the digital content within those different courses," said Heidi Scher, associate director of assistive technology at the Center for Educational Access. "We hear this from students with all different types of disabilities, such as low vision or blindness, visual processing disorders, ADD/ADHD and short-term memory difficulties."
Faculty must ensure accessibility for any course materials and information they upload for their students. For information on how to create accessible course content, visit the Global Campus TIPS website and the CEA website under Faculty - Understanding Accessibility.
University Relations offers employees a two-part course covering web page accessibility and tools to assist with making web pages and other digital content accessible. The training takes place on the fourth Wednesday of every month from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Employees can register for Web and Document Accessibility 101 through the Employee Development Program calendar.
"Digital accessibility is the single most important aspect of providing open access for all in an increasingly digital world," Chris Nixon, director of digital strategy, said. "Practically speaking, good digital accessibility positively affects all of us in some way on a regular basis, whether we know it or not."
The university's technical standards for measuring accessibility are those published by the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) of the Worldwide Web Consortium, W3C. The university follows the most recent Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.
Chancellor Joe Steinmetz and Vice Chancellor Yvette Murphy-Erby gave updates about the return to campus and efforts to be more inclusive.
The Path Program provides mentoring and scholarships to support exceptional students from underrepresented populations.
A $1 million gift from Ray and Deborah Dillon of Little Rock will be split between the Anthony Timberlands Center and a new endowed chair.
Students in the U of A Department of Communication recently finished a documentary film, Barrier-Breaking Women in Indian Cinema, for the online 2020 Bentonville Film Festival.
Sherif Sharfadine, a U of A graduate student, has been selected to participate in the Global Burden of Crop Loss Initiative, which focuses on the impact of pests on food production and availability.