Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Accessing Higher Ground - Highlights by Carl Kinney

I appreciate Regis giving me the opportunity to attend the 2016 Accessing Higher Ground conference held at the Westin in Westminster Colorado .  As with any conference there are highlights and areas for improvement.  I came away from this conference with a much greater appreciation for the need to ensure all of our electronic information and technology is accessible.  The topics and sessions were overall great, and areas for improvement were for me mainly around the administrative side of the conference.  I shared my input around the areas of improvement, on the overall conference evaluation survey.  You can see the schedule of all the events by going to: accessinghigherground.org 

I want to capture some of the highlights or major takeaways for me from the conference:
  • With accessibility we need to ensure we are being both proactive and reactive (accommodating) as necessary.
  • Standardization of all course navigation organization is critical.
  • One size does not fit all.  Designing to the average really doesn’t fit anyone!
  • Know thy users, for they are not you.
  • If the user can’t find it, it doesn’t exist.
  • The keynote speaker was Tommy Edison.  He was so inspirational.  He is a person who is blind and told his life story.  Notice the phrasing.  A person who is blind, not a blind person.  He mentioned that it makes a difference how you say it.  He wants to be seen first as a person.  He is very big on YouTube and worth checking out.
  • Things for us to consider:
o   Investigate a better or establish a method for students, faculty and staff to report access barriers.
o   Bringing accessible design and development learning to higher ed – Teach Access.  This was actually a session given by Larry Goldberg, director of Accessible Media, Yahoo.  He shared that at Yahoo 1 in 9 new hires had heard of accessible technology.
o   Having a “fair” day for everyone to experience different aspects like using a screen reader.
o   Having a badge program for ADA compliance.

Hopefully the above helps spark some new ideas and thoughts for you, and we can all continue the journey to creating better learning for all.  I have a lot more in my notes, and would be happy to discuss more if anyone is  interested.