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Tackling today’s Web-Based Learning Technologies: Issues, Challenges and Solutions

| Proposal No: 851

Bios & Handouts


  • Kara Zirkle, Accessible Technology Coordinator, Miami University
  • Kara Zirkle, IT Accessibility Coordinator, George Mason University

Disability Area:          

Topic Area:                

Length of Session (in hours): 1-hrFormat: Lecture Expertise Level: All Levels Type of session: Not provided

Summary of Session

We will address issues and challenges faced throughout Distance Education, in class accommodation, purchasing and document and video accessibility. We'll review specific examples and solutions that has happened at Mason along with long term ideas to help face future challenges.


How do we balance the need for accessibility with an institution’s need to provide innovation technologies that keep them competitive with other higher education institutions? Have you ever had a faculty member use an application in class such as Pearson MyLabs or McGraw Hill Connect, only to find that a student who was blind was taking the course and couldn't access material? What about faculty using TechSmith Camtasia because it is cheaper compared to Adobe Captivate which can be more accessible? We have ran into issues such as these and other similar situations and want to share our challenges - we're here to tell our story giving specific examples like this and discussing our outcomes.


  1. Review strategies of accessibility concerns found in the classroom and specific challenges that were faced.
  2. Share stories of recent issues and discuss solutions and outcomes.
  3. Dealing with vendor specific issues - work around and when to walk away!

Speaker Bio(s)

Kara Zirkle

Ms. Zirkle has over 15 years experience working with individuals with disabilities. Kara has worked in Government and Higher Education. She is currently working at Miami University building accessibility procurement and policy. She worked at George Mason University prior for 9 years working closely with Enterprise Architecture reviewing accessibility. She works to ensure that Section 508 and WCAG 2.0 compliance of electronic and information technology (E&IT) is accessible to faculty, staff, students and public both with and without disabilities.

Kara Zirkle

Kara Zirkle has worked at George Mason University as the IT Accessibility Coordinator for 5+ years. She works to ensure that the electronic and information technology (E&IT) is accessible to faculty, staff, students and public both with and without disabilities. She specifically looks at Section 508 compliance for the University as a whole which includes but not limited to: web and document accessibility, captioning of videos, transcript for audio and purchasing and procurement of applications. Ms. Zirkle has 12 years’ experience working with individuals with disabilities in the government, non-profit and education/outreach industries. She is an advocate and educator with regard to providing technical support and guidance on assistive devices and assistive technologies, as well as the laws that protect individuals with disabilities. Ms. Zirkle has experience in various assistive technologies, Web Accessibility and Section 508 standards.