What One School Learned from DOJ/OCR Rulings at Other Institutions


Presented at 8:00am in Cotton Creek I on Wednesday, November 16, 2016.



  • Sheryl Burgstahler, Director, Accessible Technology Services, University of Washington
  • Terrill Thompson, Technology Accessibility Specialist, Accessible, University of Washington

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 1-hr
  • Format:
  • Expertise Level: Not provided
  • Type of session: General Conference


Presenters in this session will address issues related to ensuring the accessibility of IT. They will share how the results of legal challenges on campuses nationwide have helped shape services at the University of Washington.


Presenters in this session will address issues related to ensuring the accessibility of IT to all faculty, students, staff and visitors with disabilities. They will provide a brief historical perspective on approaches to providing access to individuals with disabilities; the legal foundation provided by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 along with its 2008 amendments; a summary of the results of legal challenges regarding the accessibility of IT on postsecondary campuses nationwide; and lessons learned by the University of Washington from the resolutions at other schools that have helped shape its services. The presenters will share useful resources, including videos, documents and websites.


  1. Legal obligations to make IT accessible to faculty, students, staff, and visitors with disabilities.
  2. Typical challenges people with disabilities face in using IT deployed by postsecondary institutions.
  3. Lessons learned from institutions who reached resolutions with the OCR and DoJ.

Disability Areas

Cognitive/Learning, Deaf/Hard of Hearing, Mobility, Other, Vision

Topic Areas

Accessible Course Design, Administrative/Campus Policy, Alternate Format, Assistive Technology, Legal, Web/Media Access

Speaker Bio(s)

Sheryl Burgstahler

Dr. Sheryl Burgstahler founded and directs Accessible Technology Services, which includes the DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology) Center and the IT Accessibility Team within UW-IT at the University of Washington (UW). These units promote (1) the success of students with disabilities in postsecondary education and careers and (2) the development of facilities, IT, services, and learning activities that are welcoming and accessible to individuals with disabilities through the application of a Universal Design (UD) Framework. ITAT focuses efforts at the UW; the DO-IT Center reaches national and international audiences with the support of federal, state, corporate, foundation, and private funds. Dr. Burgstahler is an affiliate professor in the UW College of Education. She developed and continues to teach a graduate course in applications of universal design in higher education at City University of New York.

Terrill Thompson

Terrill Thompson is technology accessibility specialist with the University of Washington. In this role, he works to promote information technology accessibility by giving trainings, developing resources, providing consultation and support, and conducting research. He does this for the UW community as part of UW-IT Accessible Technology Services (https://uw.edu/accessibility), and does it for the rest of the world through The DO-IT Center (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, & Technology, https://uw.edu/doit). Terrill has over twenty years experience in the IT accessibility field, and has presented at numerous conferences and consulted widely with government, private industry, and K-12 and postsecondary education entities on IT accessibility issues.