Innovating Toward Universal Design: Robust Accessible Media and Campus Accessibility Workflows


Presented at 10:30am in Penrose 2 on Monday, November 6, 2023.



  • Kaela Parks, Portland Comm. College
  • Jennifer Lucas, Alternate Media Coordinator, Portland Community College

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 5-6-hr
  • Format: Interactive/Discussion
  • Expertise Level: All Levels
  • Type of session: Pre-conference


Portland Community College has developed robust processes for audio description, captioning, braille and tactile graphic generation, document remediation, and pre-procurement technology reviews. This pre-con will provide demonstration of our approaches, with sharable resources and discussion focused on how participants could replicate at their own institutions.

We could do this in either a half day or full day pre-con - our team would likely include three presenters.


This session will provide participants with a chance to explore the workflows used by a large community college to produce alternate format media for students and instructors. We will share our approach and provide opportunities for discussion with a focus on strengthening practice.

Examples of topics to be covered include:

Audio Description - we will share our approach to providing audio description during live theatre performances, as well as the techniques we use to provide audio description for pre-recorded media in course shells.

Captioning - we will talk a spectrum of approaches, depending on the timeframe, type of content, and overall volume of requests. While we do leverage third party captioning vendors, the majority of our work is done in house through captioning workflows that start with foundational training and feedback around line breaks, punctuation, and other considerations. Our in-house workflows then leverage other technologies such as AI generated transcription ( or Descript) which are then reviewed, with corrections to both the text and the timing.

Braille and Tactile Graphics - Course materials are reviewed and through a combination of discussion with students and instructors, and the use of professional judgment by team members. We identify which graphics can be described fully within e-text, and which should be converted into tactile graphics. We use production embossers as well as swell paper, and when appropriate, we create three dimensional learning objects.

Proactive Instructional Support - We encourage instructional faculty to consider applying for Open Educational Resource funding, and partner with them to produce accessible interactive media for the whole class. See

Tech Reviews - We engage in pre-procurement reviews that rely on end user testing and feedback to requesters and vendors or publishers.


  1. Strong alt format media teams can do work that pushes beyond individual accommodation.
  2. Workflows must evolve and leveraging new technologies can improve efficiency.
  3. Working proactively with faculty can improve access in exciting and sustainable ways.

Disability Areas

All Areas

Topic Areas

Accessible Course Design, Accessible Educational Materials, Alternate Format, Captioning/Transcription, Faculty Development & Support, Uncategorized, Universal Design for Learning, Web/Media Access

Speaker Bio(s)

Kaela Parks

Kaela Parks, Ed.D . is the Director of Accessible Ed & Disability Resources at Portland Community College. She is a former Co-Chair of the AHEAD Standing Committee on Technology, a past Chair of the NASPA Disability Knowledge Community, and a past President of ORAHEAD. She was lead trainer for a FIPSE demonstration project aimed at supporting adjunct faculty on rural campuses in the implementation of Universal Design, and was co-editor of the publication titled "Beyond the ADA:Proactive Policy and Practice for Higher Education." She frequently offers trainings and presentations on a variety of disability and accessibility related topics.

Jennifer Lucas

Jennifer Curry Jahnke, M.Ed., IAAP (CPACC) Jennifer is the Principal Educator with - a collective of digital accessibility educators supporting higher education. She is an active member of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act’s (AODA) Post-Secondary Education Standard Development & K-12/PSE Technical Committee, Accessible Canada Act’s Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Standard Development Committee, and the International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP). An award winning post-secondary educator and academic researcher. She is a full-time Professor and creator of Mohawk College’s former Accessible Media Production graduate certificate program and micro-credentials. Currently, supporting academic institutions to implement accessibility practices at an enterprise level and build an inclusive education environment. Jennifer is a passionate leader committed to creating a culture of accessible digital inclusion.