Digital Accessibility Events & Workshops: Academic Year 2022-2023

We are all creators of digital content. It is essential that we keep digital accessibility in mind so that the documents, websites, readings, and media created by and shared with the community are accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities.

Over the course of this academic year, we invite you to come to a keynote talk and a series of workshops and events that will be offered in Fall 2022 and Spring 2023, as well as take advantage of online resources to learn more about digital accessibility. Come learn how to make your content accessible, and learn how accessible content makes life better for everybody! 

Faculty Sharing Lunch | Keynote Talk Information | Training Workshops Information

Spring 2023 Events

Faculty Sharing Lunch: Inclusive Practices with Technology 
Faculty Panelists: Darryl Harper, Pat O'Hara, and Paul Schroeder Rodríguez

Date and time: Wednesday, March 22, 12:00 p.m. noon - 1 p.m. 
Location: Valentine Hall 1st floor Mullins-Faerber Room (next to Lewis-Sebring)

portrait photo of Professor Paul Schroeder Rodríguez   portrait photo of Professor Pat O'Hara   portrait photo of Professor Darryl Harper

Portrait photos of Professors Paul Schroeder Rodríguez, Pat O’Hara, and Darryl Harper.

Please join Academic Technology Services for a faculty sharing session featuring Professors Darryl Harper, Pat O’Hara, and Paul Schroeder Rodríguez. ATS has been gathering and highlightng examples of faculty inclusive practices with technology. Please see the Faculty Spotlight - Inclusive Practices with Technology section of the Academic Technology in Action website

Enjoy a group discussion, as we learn together with and from our panelists, who will share their inclusive practices with technology and incorporation of the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) into their teaching. Lunch will be provided. 

This event is fully enrolled.

Fall 2022 Events

Keynote Talk : Digital Accessibility - What can I do to contribute to an inclusive campus? 

Link to captioned video recording of the talk, video transcript, and the Amherst College Highlights slideshow

Speaker: Dr. Cyndi Rowland

Date and time: Wednesday, November 2nd, 2022 from 2:30-3:30 p.m.
Location: Stirn Auditorium

This event is open to students, staff, and faculty. Information Technology is sponsoring this event with co-sponsors: Accessibility Services; the ADCs; Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion; the Academic Resources Team; Office of Communications; and the Library

Our first campus digital accessibility keynote speaker in 2017 addressed the why of accessibility and shared some accessibility basics and practical tips to use to improve digital accessibility. Our second speaker in 2018 spoke about his own experience as a person who is blind studying and working in higher education and shared practical tips specifically for providing effective alternate text for images. We are excited now to resume this annual keynote talk on digital accessibility. As part of our efforts towards continuous improvement in our college awareness and practices for accessibility, we are inviting Dr. Cyndi Rowland to address how each of us in our campus community can keep digital accessibility in mind and contribute to an inclusive and equitable campus.

Dr. Rowland's talk will draw attention to the role of digital accessibility in contributing to an inclusivity mindset, the continuous improvement efforts at Amherst College, look outwards to other institutional models and national trends, and discuss how to go about system change efforts of digital accessibility in higher education. 

portrait of Cyndi Rowland, PhD Dr. Rowland is the Executive Director of WebAIM, the Associate Director at the Institute for Disability Research, Policy, and Practice, and is extensively involved in the National Center for Disability and Access to Education where she is the chair of the Technology Institute.

She currently directs projects that focus on the development and use of accessible technologies. WebAIM is one such program. Dr. Rowland began WebAIM in 1998 with federal funding and has worked to sustain the excellent contributions of this group over the years. Dr. Rowland is considered by many to be an expert in accessibility policy and law. She has worked extensively with education systems in transforming their practices to those that are accessible.

Dr. Rowland has presented to over 90 groups on accessibility, and writes on topics of interest (currently the impact of accessible design on individuals with cognitive impairment). She has written over 30 articles on the web, in journals, and in books. Dr. Rowland has taken leadership roles in 25 federal and state contracts and grants. She looks forward to a day when she is unemployed when her goal of the web being a space that can be accessed by all is achieved.

Training Workshops 

The workshops below are for Amherst faculty and staff only. Students with questions about creating accessible content are welcome to get in touch with IT and we will be happy to provide assistance. Student centered workshops are being planned for Spring 2023.

Workshop on Accessible Documents | Workshop on Accessible PDFs

Creating Accessible Documents and Instructional Materials

Fall 2022

This workshop will be offered twice: 

  • Wednesday October 26, 2022 from 10-10:45 a.m.
    (this workshop is fully enrolled)
  • Tuesday November 29, 2022 from 2-2:45 p.m. 
    (this workshop is fully enrolled)

We create digital materials every day, but are they digitally accessible to everyone including people with disabilities? In this workshop, you will learn the basics of what makes email, slide shows, and documents accessible to someone who uses text-to-speech or other assistive technology. We will practice creating accessible emails and Word documents, as well as saving Word documents as PDFs and Google Docs with the accessibility content retained.

Workshop Facilitators: Susan May (ATS), Kathy Glista (ADC), Kara McGillicuddy (ATS)

Creating Accessible and Searchable PDF Basics

Fall 2022

This workshop will be offered twice:

  • Tuesday November 1, 2022 from 2-2:45 p.m.
    (this workshop is fully enrolled)
  • Wednesday November 16, 2022 from 10-10:45 a.m.
    (this workshop is fully enrolled)

We often create documents in the form of a PDF, but have we paused to think whether they are digitally accessible to all users including people with disabilities? In this workshop, you will learn the basics of what makes a PDF accessible to someone who uses text-to-speech or other assistive technology and how to fix inaccessible PDFs. Bonus - accessible PDFs are also searchable PDFs! We will practice creating an accessible and searchable PDF and fixing an existing PDF. 

Workshop Facilitators: Susan May (ATS), Kelly Dagan (Library), Kara McGillicuddy (ATS)