The state of digital accessibility in higher ed 2023: takeaways, analysis & insight from a broad institutional survey

Presented at 9:15am in Colorado I-J on Wednesday, November 8, 2023.

#38405

Speaker(s)

  • Kyle Shachmut, Director, Digital Accessibility , Harvard University
  • Eudora Struble, Director, Technology Accessibility, Wake Forest University

Session Details

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

Summary

How do digital accessibility efforts at your institution compare? This engaging session will share preliminary findings on the state of accessibility & make recommendations for the field. The Educause IT Access Group launched its first formal survey in 2023 for accessibility professionals & higher ed leaders. Questions addressed org structures, resources, policies, compliance and more. Comparing results from across the diverse sample produces one of the broadest assessments in this field to date

Abstract

How do digital accessibility efforts at your institution compare to others, and how can you find out about the current best practices? In 2023, the Educause IT Access Group launched its first landscape survey targeting accessibility professionals and higher ed leaders to share institutional perspectives. Questions addressed org structures, resources, policies, compliance concerns and the state of accessibility. Comparing results across the diverse sample of professionals in accessibility and other higher ed leaders produces one of the broadest assessments of our field to date.

Peer benchmarking is a challenge for many this space because tech accessibility is administratively and practically implemented in so many ways across institutions–disability services, compliance offices, diversity, or IT depts like CIO offices, security, or web teams. Professionally active practitioners may know what happens at other institutions in their areas–say CIO offices or in academic tech, but what about DE&I or disability resources? The variation in approaches can make it difficult to know what is happening, how resources are allocated, and where such assets could be situated in their organizations. This survey attempted to cut across all these perspectives and gain insight from the broadest audience.

Through survey results and presenter insights, attendees will learn where accessibility initiatives are being positioned and what gaps still exist that schools wish they could fill. Furthermore, the session will share how respondents indicated their institutions are attempting to address accessibility for websites and web properties, purchasing and procurement, policies, and governance, as well as compliance monitoring and enforcement.

Presentation format will include a mix of lecture to share results with analysis and engaging participants with their own questions and insights. This session should be informative for practitioners, institutional leaders and vendor partners alike.

Keypoints

  1. The latest data in higher ed digital accessibility from the first IT Access Educause Group landscape survey
  2. Insights & perceptions about pressing issues from higher ed IT leaders and accessibility practitioners
  3. Opportunities to address at your institution and broader industry concerns we will face in the year(s) ahead

Disability Areas

All Areas

Topic Areas

Accessible Educational Materials, Administrative/Campus Policy, Captioning/Transcription, Legal, Research, Uncategorized, Web/Media Access

Speaker Bio(s)

Kyle Shachmut

Kyle Shachmut is the Director of Digital Accessibility at Harvard University, providing strategic direction to digital accessibility efforts across Harvard’s schools. He frequently works at the intersections of information technology, disability inclusion and academic administration. He led creation of Harvard's Digital Accessibility Services team and collaborates with institutional leaders to guide governance of the University's Digital Accessibility Policy. Previously, his focus area included a universal design approach integrating accessibility into at-scale learning experiences through HarvardX—Harvard’s initiative that creates online courses through the Office of the Vice Provost for Advances in Learning. Beyond Harvard, Kyle is co-chair of the EDUCAUSE IT Accessibility Community Group, the largest affinity group for accessibility professionals in higher education. He has advocated for greater accessibility in community and professional associations for over a decade, advising local state and federal policymakers. In 2021, he received the 'Rising Star Award' among higher ed technology professionals from Educause. Kyle frequently consults speaks and writes about matters related to digital accessibility, public policy, technology in education, universal design and more.

Eudora Struble

Eudora Struble is Director for Technology Accessibility at Wake Forest University, facilitating engagement to make Wake’s vibrant digital environment more accessible for the entire community. Her work expands the accessibility skills and awareness of staff, faculty, and students, and informs campus strategy and policy. She is committed to leveraging accessibility to support diversity, inclusion, and a better future. Eudora currently serves as Co-Chair and a member of the Steering Committee for the EDUCAUSE IT Access Community Group and is Co-Chair of the North Carolina Higher Ed Digital Accessibility Collaborative.