It Takes a Village: A Collaborative Approach to Digital Accessibility on Your Campus

Handouts Media

Presented at 9:15am in Virtual D on Wednesday, November 8, 2023.



  • Melanie Eley, Associate Director, Learning Innovations & Accessibility, UNC Greensboro

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 1-hr
  • Format: Lecture
  • Expertise Level: All Levels
  • Type of session: General Conference


Although creating accessible digital content is a shared responsibility, it is not always distributed evenly in higher education. This session will examine how one university is using a collaborative accessibility plan to increase faculty participation in its digital accessibility efforts. Participants will learn how a sound accessibility plan that focuses on building relationships and leveraging pedagogical practices can influence faculty engagement.


The importance of digital accessibility is a concept that is generally accepted in higher education. However, the actual work of making digital content accessible often falls to a few individuals on college campuses. Evidence has shown that accessibility is best achieved when it is addressed as a shared responsibility. Historically, however, it has been challenging for higher education to understand that there are a variety of roles that must share in the responsibility of digital accessibility.

Faculty are essential to creating accessible digital content but often hesitate to take an active role because they fear learning to use accessible design practices will be time-consuming and overwhelming. These concerns about digital accessibility can be dispelled through the use of a collaborative accessibility plan. An accessibility plan that works to build relationships, connect pedagogy to accessible design, and ingrain faculty support into the institution’s infrastructure will appeal to faculty interests and break down the wall of fear that so often exists between faculty and accessibility.


  1. Building faculty relationships lowers barriers to learning about accessibility
  2. Accessible design paired with inclusive teaching strategies is an effective way to improve faculty engagement
  3. An accessibility plan can drive how course materials are chosen

Disability Areas

All Areas

Topic Areas

Accessible Course Design, Administrative/Campus Policy, Faculty Development & Support, Uncategorized, Universal Design for Learning

Speaker Bio(s)

Melanie Eley

Melanie Eley is the Associate Director, Learning & Accessibility and works with faculty to incorporate accessibility into their courses through the use of design techniques and pedagogical frameworks that support accessible content. Melanie also works collaboratively on campus-wide initiatives to improve the accessibility of all university online content. Melanie received her B.A. in Psychology (University of Lynchburg), and her M.S. in Counseling (NC A&T State University). Melanie’s special interests include collaborative strategic planning and inclusive pedagogies, with a specific focus on Universal Design for Learning (UDL) as it has the capacity to open learning opportunities for all students, including those with disabilities.