University Business November/December 2019 - 41

audio into color-coded visual blocks to
highlight specific aspects of the class, such
as PowerPoint presentations or discussions about final exams. It replaced peer
note takers who used to provide copies of
lecture notes within 24 hours of a class.
Owens led 25 workshops during the
first two weeks of the fall semester to teach
students how to use the software.
His role in training students is critical
to creating accommodations that work on
campus, says Brian Flatley, associate director of the Student Access Office. "If you
don't teach the students how to properly
use the technology, it's a waste of money
and a waste of time."
Assistive technology specialists also
customize individual accommodations
for students with special needs. At Adelphi, Owens helped a nursing student
who had a hearing impairment by purchasing a Bluetooth-enabled stethoscope
that transfers the audio of a heartbeat to
an earpiece she wears during her clinical
work, Flatley says.
Disability services centers that employ
assistive technology specialists may still
need to rely on IT departments to introduce new apps and tools. When Augsburg
University purchased a Braille-reader
printer for its library two years ago, IT
staff installed it and trained students on
how to use it.
"My job is to look into the right type
of software for a student based on their
needs, but I may not have all the technology expertise to provide that software,"
says Lauren Dusek, the assistive technology and accommodations specialist at
Augsburg.
Providing accessibility liaisons
across campus
Students with disabilities aren't the only
ones on campus who may need accommodations. Faculty, staff and visitors with
special needs may also require help accessing a variety of services.
UniversityBusiness.com

ASSISTING WITH TECH-Liam Owens, the assistive technology specialist at
Adelphi University, works with students to show them how various tech-based
accommodations can help manage challenges related to their disabilities.

One way to monitor how a college is
meeting everyone's needs is to appoint access coordinators in every major division,
from the library to dining services. These
liaisons can assess how their division is doing on physical and digital accessibility.
Ohio State, for example, has an access
coordinator in each department with a
major budget line. The coordinators, says
Lissner, "reach out to the local purchasing
person for the division or college so we can
ensure new digital services and IT are built
or bought with accessibility in mind."
Feedback from the coordinators is
sent to a collaborative unit that includes
disability services, ADA and IT. That
partnership also funds a digital access
center on campus. The center evaluates
standards and procedures for purchasing and implementing digital platforms,
and provides training and technical
assistance.
Integrating disability and IT services
through collaboration ultimately provides better accommodations for students
with disabilities. "They get a much more

seamless experience of accessibility," says
Lissner.
Such partnerships can also more
effectively solve problems that students
with disabilities encounter. At UW-Milwaukee, staff from disability services and
IT decided to purchase a video magnifier for a visually impaired student who
couldn't see a professor calculating math
problems on a whiteboard. The device enlarges the professor's writing so that it can
be viewed on a laptop, says Kevin Jahnke,
manager of classroom services for University IT Services.
"Trying to resolve a specific problem, we brainstormed and came up
with that idea," he adds. "I'm not sure
that would have been solved easily if
we hadn't been working together."
Sherrie Negrea is an Ithaca, New York-based
writer and frequent contributor to UB.

More coverage on IT and AV:
UBmag.me/it

November/December 2019 | 41


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University Business November/December 2019

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