[Ohio-talk] College web accessibility.

Deborah Kendrick dkkendrick at earthlink.net
Mon Apr 1 19:27:35 UTC 2013


Kaiti, 
Just weighing in here with a few thoughts.  First, I think Sheri is right on
the mark when she advises you to bypass disability services and go straight
to the IT department.  Often, the techie folks will become so fascinated by
how you access things that they'll get engaged in the process of figuring it
out with you.
Secondly, just in case you don't already know this, there are other ways to
read pdf files than Adobe.  
My personal favorite is Kurzweil.  Just point to the file you wat to read.
Press the applications key and arrow down to Print.  Tab until you hear
printer choices, and arrow down to Kesi printer.  Kurzweil will tell you it
is recognizing the file page by page as if it were actual hardcopy pages and
it generally does a nice job.  
Also, if you have either a Braille Sense or Braillenote Apex, these do a
nice job with PDF files these days as well.  
You are smart andarticulate, so let that shine through when you talk to the
IT people.  
Good luck -- and please keep us all posted because we're all cheering for
you!
Deborah


-----Original Message-----
From: Ohio-talk [mailto:ohio-talk-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Kaiti
Shelton
Sent: Monday, April 01, 2013 1:37 PM
To: 'NFB of Ohio Announcement and Discussion List'
Subject: Re: [Ohio-talk] College web accessibility.

Hi, 

That was very helpful.  I will definitely take those suggestions.    

The advice to be confident and bold really struck me.  I really don't feel
confident at this point, because I too have had experiences with the school
already which unsettled me.  The first time I called the disabilities office
about their pdf file the lady I spoke to had no idea what jaws or a
screenreader was, tried to forward my call to the councelor who works with
students who have learning disabilities, and then instructed me to download
Adobe Conference, which is actually a business conference program similar to
Skype, to convert my pdf file to text.  It was quite different from calls
I've made to UD or Wright State's disability services, where students who
work in the office at least know what the assistive technology is and can
work around the minor issues like converting a pdf file to text.  I think
that call scared me, since since the disabilities office was what I called
and not a department which has very little to do with students who have
disabilities.  I agree though that confidence will probably be the best
thing to project here, because even if these people have never had a blind
student before and don't know what to do someone is going to know what steps
need to be taken if I'm going to successfully complete the course.  

As my hands are tied and I can't do anything more with the disability office
until they receive their paperwork, I'll give the IT department a call today
and see if I can connect with the person in charge of web accessibility.  I
also have to figure out who my advisor is, so perhaps once I learn that
information I can get some help with figuring out some of these issues.  

Thanks again for the helpful feedback.      

Kaiti Shelton
University of Dayton---2016
Music Therapy Major, Psychology Minor, Clarinet Secretary, Ohio Association
of Blind Students (OABS)-NFB Member of Alpha Phi Omega-Alpha Gamma Xi
Chapter


-----Original Message-----
From: Ohio-talk [mailto:ohio-talk-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of COLLEEN
ROTH
Sent: Monday, April 01, 2013 1:00 PM
To: ohio-talk at nfbnet.org
Subject: Re: [Ohio-talk] College web accessibility.

I know someone would answer Kailin's questions.
I am sure that many people would find this helpful.
It might make a good article for the Buckeye Bulletin.
Colleen Roth



----- Original Message -----
From: Smith, JW <smithj at ohio.edu>
To: NFB of Ohio Announcement and Discussion List ohio-talk at nfbnet.org
Date: Monday, April 1, 2013 12:52 pm
Subject: Re: [Ohio-talk] College web accessibility.

>
>
> Sheri, this is an excellent response and I've shared it with some 
> other so
thank you for it!
> 
> Jw
> 
> Dr. JW Smith
> Associate Professor
> Interim Associate Director for Undergraduate Studies School of 
> Communication Studies
> 740-593-4838
> smithj at ohio.edu
> 
> "Regarding the past, change what you can, and can what you can't."
> 
> 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Ohio-talk [mailto:ohio-talk-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of 
> Sheri Beth Wells-Jensen
> Sent: Monday, April 01, 2013 12:29 PM
> To: NFB of Ohio Announcement and Discussion List
> Subject: Re: [Ohio-talk] College web accessibility.
> 
> Hi, Kaiti,
> 
> I preface my remarks with the info that I'm a university professor up 
> in
bowling Green, so my answer to you comes from the faculty perspective.
> 
> I recommend boldness: even if you don't feel confident or bold: it's 
> the
best approach.  Here's what I'd d...
> 
> Pick the course you want to take as soon as possible: get any outside 
> help
you need to make that happen.  You can come back later to have the argument
about the accessibility of their catalog, but  since time is limited, focus
on the summer class.
> 
> People respond best to specifics.  So, once you have picked your 
> class,
call the IT people and ask what applications you will have to run in order
to successfully take an Online class.  Ask them, for example, if the courses
ar on Blackboard, Canvas or some other course management system.
> They might not give you the full list, but they will have some ideas.
Explain your situation, and ask them to forward you to the people who are
the support staff for online classes.  They may or may not give you accurate
information about accessibility, but it's one step you can take.
> 
> There absolutely has to be someone in the IT department who knows 
> about
the creation of accessible webpages and such.  It probably won't be the
person who answers the phone though:  I've been at BGSU for 12 years, and
the last time I called our IT people, I got someone on the phone who said
he'd never heard of 'Screen Reader' and wanted to know what company made it
... because I should just call that company with my concerns.
> It was at that point that I sweetly asked to be forwarded to someone 
> who
worked with web accessibility.  S... be patient.
> 
> I would next email the course instructor. Not all instructors use all 
> of
the software platforms in the same way. I, for example, put most of my
content on my own website and use BlackBoard as little as possible.  Other
instructors add skype to their online classes while some rely on
conversation boards within something like Blackboard.  Getting a list
specific to the course might be very useful to you.
> Since this is the person who will be giving you  your grade, it's
important to project a nice combinNof confidence and respect, and to be
clear that your concern is about the accessibility of the software not about
course content.  You might add that you're looking forward to the class very
much: just checking to make sure all will be well.
> 
> Let the disability services folks know what you'll be taking and when
you'll be taking it.  Let them know you have concerns about accessibility,
and that you're eager for the course to go well, so you're asking these
things in advance. Ask them to check out the accessibility of online
classes, mentioning some of the things you've learned from your
conversations with the IT people and the course instructor.  Tell them you'd
just like to start that conversation now and that you'll check back with
them... in... whatever time they think makes sense: a week maybe?  If they
act overwhelmed, suggest that you could connect them with  the UD folks who
know how to do these things.
> 
> I know some folks would tell you that all you need do is tell the 
> disabled
students office what you want and they should take care of it for you.  This
is the ideal maybe, but in the case that they don't...' or that they forget
something... it becomes your problem... and it becomes your problem in the
middle of the class  session when you have no time to resolve it well.
> 
> Hope  this helps some.
> 
> Best,
> 
> sheri
> 
> 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Ohio-talk [mailto:ohio-talk-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of 
> Kaiti Shelton
> Sent: Sunday, March 31, 2013 12:05 PM
> To: NFB of Ohio Announcement and Discussion List
> Subject: [Ohio-talk] College web accessibility.
> 
> Hi all,
> 
>  
> 
> I'm writing in the hopes that someone who is more tech savvy and in 
> the
know about web accessibility guidelines will read this and be able to
provide some feedback, although any feedback is welcome.  
> 
>  
> 
> Long story short, in high school I participated in a two-year teacher 
> prep
program.  The senior year of that program involved completing a portfolio
based on the praxis domains, which would be graded for college credit and
passage of the course.  Sinclair Community College was in charge of
processing all the tech prep portfolios for southwest Ohio, including the
ones from Teacher Academy students.  Every student who passed their course
received a scholarship waver for a three credit hour course at Sinclair free
of charge.  Naturally, I want to use this waver on a summer course.  

> 
>  
> 
> Since I've started getting set up with Sinclair I've had a few web
accessibility issues.  The first happened when I tried to go online to
review their course catalog.  I found a pdf file which Jaws couldn't read,
so I emailed their disabilities office to let them know that the catalog was
not screenreader friendly.  I didn't hear a response back, so I called.  I
was able to get in touch with a disability councelor, who then sent me a
word version of the catalog, which ended up not having course listings in it
and being more like a brochure or student handbook.  When I told her about
the file being a misnomer she sent me instructions on how to view available
courses online.  I followed the instructions she sent me and found that the
flash interface the schedule planner uses was inaccessible.  Comboboxes were
not labeled and neither Jaws or NVDA would read them.  Apparently there is
also a huge table which shows up once you select your search criteria for
courses, and neither screenreader picked that up either.  
> 
>  
> 
> Although I was able to get sighted assistance to work around these 
> issues,
I am more concerned about the accessibility of the course distribution site,
be it Blackboard or whatever other system, as the course I want to take will
be in an online format.  I am also concerned that if their school site is
this inaccessible that their IT department may not have the training to
follow web accessibility guidelines.  At UD, if something doesn't work with
jaws I can email the tech support staff and they'll make sure the issue Is
resolved, but I'm not sure if I will be able to get that kind of support
from Sinclair based on what I've seen so far.  I feel really uncomfortable
jumping into a course which may or may not be accessible, but I also feel
like to not take my scholarship would be silly and that I shouldn't be kept
from redeeming it because of correctable accessibility issues.  It is also
quite possible that I will want to take other summer courses in the future
through Sinclair since I'm already a registered student there, so if
possible I would like for these accessibility issues to be addressed but
> don't really know how to proceed.    
> 
>  
> 
> Again, any feedback would be appreciated, and happy Easter! 
> 
>  
> 
> Kaiti Shelton
> 
> University of Dayton---2016
> 
> Music Therapy Major, Psychology Minor, Clarinet
> 
> Secretary, Ohio Association of Blind Students (OABS)-NFB
> 
> Member of Alpha Phi Omega-Alpha Gamma Xi Chapter
> 
>  
> 
>  
> 
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