Accessible Information for Everyone: A Professional Development Program for Staff

The following information refers to a program offered in August of 2017. Amherst community members can view a recording and summary of the Keynote talk here

 The IT Department is pleased to announce a training program for staff in creating material and information that is accessible and usable for everyone, including people with disabilities. If you create or maintain electronic material for students, your department, the college, alumni, or the public, this program is for you!

Come learn what accessibility means, and see how to create accessible documents, web pages, email, forms, media, and instructional materials. Everyone benefits from universal accessibility!

This program consists of a “keynote” talk followed by hands-on workshops. All employees are welcome to attend any or all sessions, especially employees who:

  • Create or maintain course materials
  • Communicate by email or web with students, staff, faculty, or alumni
  • Create or edit content on Amherst websites 
  • Create or edit documents, video, or media shared with the campus community or alumni
  • Select and/or purchase new technologies

Faculty are of course welcome to attend any of the sessions as well!

Keynote Talk

Kirsten Behling: Ensuring Access of all Electronic Touch Points at Amherst

Thursday, August 3rd, 10 to 11:30 a.m., Stirn Auditorium 

Kirsten Behling is the Director of Student Accessibility Services at Tufts University, and former President of the New England Association on Higher Education and Disability. Her areas of expertise include universal design in higher education, obtaining campus-wide buy-in to access needs, access in online learning, and teaching the diverse learner.

Kirsten’s talk will provide an overview of what accessibility of electronic information means, what institutions are required to do, what we should do, and which areas are particularly important to pay attention to. The talk will walk through the students’ digital experience at Amherst, from applicant to alum, and the electronic “touch points” they encounter along the way. You will learn where the likely barriers are for students with disabilities, and the steps needed to begin to address them.

Kirsten has an engaging and approachable presentation style and we hope all Amherst staff will make time to attend! Come early for coffee and refreshments!

Hands-On Workshops 

All workshops are currently full, sorry! Please see our Accessible Information Technology resource pages for more information on these topics.

Accessible Documents and Email

  • Tuesday 8/8, 10 a.m.
  • Tuesday 8/8, 10 a.m. 1 pm
  • Wednesday 8/16, 1 pm

Electronic documents are everywhere on campus: from course materials and general college business to the content of email messages and their attachments. Come learn the basics of what makes a document accessible to someone who uses text-to-speech or other assistive technology. We will practice creating accessible Word documents, PDF’s, and email messages.

Accessible Forms

  • Wednesday, August 9th, 10 a.m.
  • Wednesday, August 9th, 1 p.m.

Does your office use paper or electronic forms to gather information? The first step in creating an accessible form is to make it electronic instead of on paper. Even then, not all electronic forms are accessible. Come learn about Google Forms, as well as webforms on the Amherst website, and see how they can make your workflow more streamlined AND accessible.

Accessible Media (Video, Audio, Images)

  • Thursday, August 10th, 10 a.m.
  • Thursday, August 10th,  1 p.m.

Media presents a unique set of challenges when it comes to creating accessible content. If you, your students, or your department are planning to create or use video, audio, or other visuals for outreach or education, please come learn how to make your media more accessible through the use of captions, transcripts, and descriptions.

Accessible Web Pages

  • Tuesday, August 15th, 10 a.m.
  • Tuesday, August 15th, 1:30 p.m.

Do you create or edit content on the main Amherst website? Come learn the basic elements of web accessibility and how users of assistive technology access the web. We’ll show you some easy Drupal tips for creating more accessible pages.

Accessible Procurement: Buy Accessible (or, Don’t Buy Broken Things!)

  • Thursday, August 17th, 10 a.m.

Accessibility should be a primary consideration when selecting and procuring new technologies. Come learn some initial steps you can take to address the accessibility of new technology-based products and services.