University Business November/December 2019 - 40

UB TECH

ech-ommodations:

Digital-age disability services
establish closer partnerships with campus
technology administrators and increase
their own tech expertise.
Forming a task force with IT
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's
Accessibility Resource Center and University IT Services created a group five
years ago to encourage collaboration.
"We needed to have better communication between the two of us, so technologically we could know what we needed
in the classroom for accessibility," says
Shannon Aylesworth, the center's adaptive technology specialist.
The initiative's success prompted
Aylesworth to form a systemwide group
to work on issues involving disability services and IT. Launched in spring 2019,
the group will meet twice a year and support the staff who focus on accessibility at
all 26 University of Wisconsin campuses.
The task force model works at smaller

colleges as well. Augsburg University in
Minneapolis, for example, just launched
a committee to work on technology accessibility. "I think it reinforces the idea
that having access is everybody's job," says
Kathy McGillivray, director of the university's Center for Learning and Accessible
Student Services. "It's not just the disability resource office."
Marist College in New York has several committees that address accommodations for students with disabilities, including one that is reviewing accessibility
across campus and the training offered on
assistive technology.
"When we're evaluating tools to
push out campuswide, we are definitely
looking to make sure they will be accessible to all students," says Julin Sharp, assistant vice president for information technology and a speaker at UB Tech® 2019.
As technology has infiltrated every
aspect of campus life-think digital

Examples of newer
assistive technology
resources for students
Video magnifier
Enlarges printed or handwritten
information on a whiteboard so it is
viewable on a student laptop
Smart glass technology
Allows a visually-impaired person,
wearing glasses with camera and
earphones attached, to be guided
around campus by a person off-site
Remote captioning
Provides captioning for lectures and
video in real time by a note taker who
works off-site

40 | November/December 2019

Accessibility platform for learning
management systems
Scans content posted by a professor
on an LMS and makes PDFs
accessible through text-to-speech
software
Note-taking software
Records lectures and turns the
audio into color-coded visual blocks
to highlight specific aspects of the
class, such as exams or PowerPoint
presentations

NOTE-TAKING HELPING HAND-
Lauren Dusek, an assistive technology
specialist at Augsburg University,
demonstrates how a smart pen records
a lecture as notes are being taken.

washing machines and pizza vending
machines-disability services offices
have also partnered with IT staff within
student affairs.
The University of Connecticut, for
example, has two joint committees that
address accessibility: one for academics
and one for student affairs. The student
affairs committee focuses on residential
and campus accommodations issues.
"The more that access is automatically
embedded in these offices, the easier it is
to have the accommodations set up," says
Alyssa Marinaccio, assistive technology
coordinator for the university's Center for
Students with Disabilities.
Hiring an assistive technology specialist
Some disability services offices have their
own assistive technology specialists. Adelphi University in New York, for instance,
rolled out several new digital tools for
students with disabilities after adding a
specialist to the team in fall 2018.
The first platform the assistive technology specialist, Liam Owens, introduced
was for recording lectures and turning the
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