The lasting impact of the pandemic on higher education and information technology is unknown. However, some lessons learned are already affecting the future of IT in higher education. One of them is the importance of digital accessibility. Based on national reports, many institutions have awakened to the broad need for digital accessibility. These conversations traditionally focused on supporting disabilities. But, the pandemic has brought a new wave of understanding the universal benefits of accessibility. This panel discussion will highlight how three Virginia public institutions are keeping the spotlight on digital accessibility. One pre-pandemic effort was a collaborative contract for captioning services. This led to the creation of a statewide organization called the Virginia Higher Education Accessibility Partners (VHEAP). VHEAP's work resulted in accessibility having a broader reach during the pandemic’s rapid transition to remote teaching and learning. We'll also discuss expanding support for captioning (post-production and live), improving document remediation, and increasing administrative and faculty buy-in.
Coordinator of Academic Accessibility, University of Virginia
Director of Inclusive Media Design, Virginia Tech
Senior Director Universal Design and Accessible Technologies, Virginia Tech
Assistive Technology Initiative Manager, George Mason University