Schedule at a Glance

8:30am – 9:00am | Morning Coffee & Tea

9:00am – 9:10am | Welcome Address

9:10am – 9:40am | Opening Keynote

9:50am – 10:50am | Breakout Sessions

11:00am – 12:00pm |Breakout Sessions

12:00pm – 12:15pm | Lunch (Use your voucher to get a “to-go” meal from the MSU Union food court)

12:15pm – 1:00pm | Lunch Plenary Session

1:15pm – 2:15pm | Breakout Sessions

2:30pm – 3:30pm | Closing Keynote

3:45pm – 5:00pm | Reception and Networking Fair


Session Information

9:00am – 9:10am | Introduction

Lake Huron Room

Chris Long, Dean of the College of Arts & Letters at Michigan State University
Kate Sonka, Academic Specialist in Educational Technology at MSU

Join us for some opening remarks and reflections by the Dean of the College of Arts and Letters, Chris Long, and the conference organizer, Kate Sonka.

9:10am – 9:40am | Opening Keynote

Lake Huron Room

Designing Advocacy | Phil Deaton

What is accessibility? Accessibility is about removing barriers to opportunity in order to allow all people to interact with systems (be they digital, physical, or conceptual) equally. A system is said to be designed in an accessible way when all can interact with the system equally to accomplish their objectives. All systems are designed to fulfill user needs. If a system shuts any user out somehow, then that system has a “bug”.

Any digital content that disallows access to users or whole groups of users is systematically disallowing opportunity to individuals, and barring them from engaging with the same information and activities. That said, accessibility, even accessibility of EIT (Electronic Information Technology), is not first and foremost a technical problem, it is a cultural problem, and one that is often overlooked.

How do you account for accessibility in your work? This talk will discuss some of the efforts of MSU and discuss how everyone can be an advocate for accessibility in any line of work. There are simple steps that one can take to create more inclusive experiences at work and for our students. This talk will also introduce the Making Learning Accessible conference and discuss why it was started and what we hope you will get out of it.

9:50am – 10:50am | Breakout Sessions

Lake Huron Room

Google Your Accessibility | Dave Goodrich

Whether you are an accessibility expert or a novice, this session is geared to empower you to use Google Apps with universal design for learning (UDL) driving your content creation strategy. Participants will learn why UDL is so important for everybody in the long run. Practical strategies for creating accessible content using Google Documents, Google Presentations & YouTube will be shared. Discussion on practical applications for educational learning object development is intended to be nuanced and rich based on the experiences and contexts of attendees. Come prepared to learn and share what you know as we apply concepts on your digital devices you bring with you.

Lake Ontario Room

Accessibility Evaluation Tools | Graham Pierce

Automated accessibility scanners are limited in what they can evaluate, making manual inspection necessary to assess conformance. Professional accessibility evaluators rely on a variety of free tools to conduct manual inspections, and this presentation will provide an overview of an accessibility evaluator’s toolbox. Learn about toolbars and plugins for popular browsers that make web evaluations easier. Determine which screen readers to use when testing your content. See how to test color contrast effectively.

Web Evaluation Scanners: Tools of the Accessible User Experience Web Developer | Tommy Truong & Tylor Hoesktra

As accessibility becomes more prevalent in the work of developers and project managers, multiple tools have been created to assist programmers in analyzing code for accessibility issues according to standards such as WCAG2 A and AA. These tools, known as web evaluation scanners, are held in high value by user experience developers to track bugs, features and project progress. In this session, attendees will learn how web scanners have been incorporated into work of MSU College of Arts and Letters’ Technology Department to improve user experience and accessibility. The second portion of the session will be a guided, hands-on demonstration of how one popular tool, called pa11y, can help the development process.

11:00am – 12:00pm | Breakout Sessions

Lake Huron Room

Lessons from Marvel Comics: Developing a Framework for Audio Description in Higher Ed | Nate Evans & Phil Deaton

Last April, Netflix improved their accessibility features by releasing their first web TV series that included an optional audio description track: Marvel’s Daredevil. This series provides a good example of audio description that we can learn from. The question is: what can we learn from a lawyer/crime fighting superhero, and how can it help us develop a framework for writing audio description on our own video content?

Lake Ontario Room

Desire to Learn Accessibility | Jojo Otchere & Desiree Slaughter

When MSU faculty approach IT Services and ask for assistance making their course accessible, a number of questions arise, such as how to assess the needs of the faculty, how to inform faculty on new technologies available, and helping faculty understand the accessibility laws. In this presentation, the presenters will cover how they create their general plan of action, called a Faculty Work Plan, and the various steps involved to make a faculty’s course accessible.

Making Forms Accessible to Every User | Ryan Schroeder

When thinking and reviewing for accessibility, something that is often overlooked is the form. Forms are a vital part to many websites, therefore they must be accessible. We have forms for newsletters, for this registration process and all throughout MSU when a user is asked to enter his/her Net ID and password. This presentation will help you learn how to make forms more accessible.

12:15pm – 1:00pm | Lunch Plenary Session

Lake Huron Room

Social Media Accessibility | Gian Wild

This session will cover the accessibility compliance of LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. Ms. Wild will talk about why social media is so important and the five steps to making social media accessible to everyone.

1:15pm – 2:15pm | Breakout Sessions

Lake Huron Room

Understanding Accessibility as Process | James Jackson

This presentation will discuss recent changes in organizational thinking regarding accessibility, as well as legal expectations and advocacy, emphasizing their implications for how organizations integrate accessibility into their policies and practices, and for the changing role of accessibility consultants and specialists. Drawing from examples from legal settlements and industry, as well as recent and emerging perspectives from universal design, topics covered will include, information technology procurement, content management strategy for accessible design, integrating accessibility knowledge into teams, and appropriate tracking and prioritization of accessibility problems.

Paraprofessional Work and Learning Accessibility in a Chicago High School | Michael Nelson

The presenter will speak about his experience working to make learning accessible as a paraprofessional at a newly founded school in the North Lawndale neighborhood of Chicago’s west side. He will reflect on his attempts to be inconspicuous in a classroom so as not to disrupt a lead teacher and his or her class, while at the same time tuning into the activities of students with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) to be a resource for their learning. There will also be a brief look at what a paraprofessional is and what these individuals do in contemporary primary and secondary classrooms.

2:30pm – 3:30pm | Closing Keynote

Lake Huron Room

eText@Illinois: A Universally Accessible eText Platform | Yury Borukhovich

In this keynote Mr. Borukhovich will be talking about why and how eText was built at University of Illinois with universal accessibility in mind from the start, and the groups that helped achieve this. Other topics include, the idea of developing applications beyond just WCAG, finding ways to help those who may not want to or can’t use assistive devices such as those with learning impairments, how accessibility helps standard usability, and the importance of symantics.