A day to think, talk and learn about inclusive education and digital access.
Global Accessibility Awareness Day started in 2012 with the purpose to get everyone thinking, sharing best practices and learning about digital access and people with different disabilities.
Blackboard is fully committed to delivering product experiences that conform to the highest levels of global accessibility standards. We know that a mature digital accessibility program must establish a sustainable organizational culture around accessibility.
On Global Accessibility Awareness Day we host a "follow-the-sun" series of webinars about accessibility in education at all levels and all across the globe. GAAD is May 16 this year.
About the Sessions
From Awareness to Action – Disability Inclusion in Higher Education
Speaker: Matt Brett, Director, Academic Governance and Standards, Deakin University
The full participation of students with disabilities in higher education has been a policy objective of Australian higher education since the release of A Fair Chance For All in 1990. Some 30 years later students with disabilities have moved from the margins to the mainstream. This has been achieved by systemic efforts to remove barriers to participation. The long arc of history has bent towards inclusion, but full participation remains a work in progress. This webinar explores the proposition that we must move beyond awareness and move to integrate disability inclusion as a key property of higher and tertiary education systems. Exemplars of this approach will be discussed.
La Accesibilidad y los Formatos que Impactan las Inteligencias Múltiples
En los ambientes educativos cuando un profesor planifica para seleccionar formatos de contenido y transmitir conocimiento se encuentra con grandes retos. Podemos encontrar mucha información acerca de las diversas formas en que aprenden los seres humanos y cómo podemos impactar diferentes áreas del cerebro para ayudar al incremento en retención de la información. Impartir una lección en particular, la misma información, pero en diferentes formatos puede ayudar a todo tipo de población estudiantil en una mejor recepción de información y a un incremento en el aprendizaje. En esta sesión hablaremos de cómo podemos impactar las diferentes capacidades de aprendizaje de un estudiante haciendo uso de múltiples formatos de contenido.
Atlantic Cape Community College: Journey to a More Inclusive Campus
Chad Bullock, Senior Manager, Center for Accessibility, Atlantic Cape Community College
Michelle Perkins, Director, Instructional Technology, Atlantic Cape Community College
Mike Barnes, Director, Center for Accessibility, Atlantic Cape Community College
Faced with a three-year mandate to make their campus fully accessible, Atlantic Cape needed an immediate plan of action and an overhaul of many of their processes for supporting students with disabilities. In this session the team will describe their journey from 2015 to today and discuss how they embraced the decree as a “good thing” that provided them with a blueprint and motivation to take actionable steps to improving the quality of the education experience for all their students, not just those with disabilities.
How The University of Toledo is Developing a Digital Accessibility Culture
Speaker: Melissa M. Gleckler, M.L.S. Educational Technologist, Adjunct Instructor, Department of Communication, Vice-chair, UT Professional Staff Council, The University of Toledo
The University of Toledo is focused on developing the digital accessibility of their online program and all digital materials used in in-person classes. In this session they’ll discuss the challenges they have identified in this process and how the team has tackled those challenges. They’ll also describe their launch of Blackboard Ally as a part of the focus on a more accessible program overall.
Tips and Tricks of Inexpensive Accessibility Testing
Speaker: Elizabeth Simister, Product Accessibility Manager, Blackboard Inc.
This session will cover some inexpensive ways to test the accessibility of your website and applications. Methods will include an overview of how to use automated testing tools, color contrast analyzers, keyboard testing, and the built in accessibility features of an operating system.
Matt BrettDirector, Academic Governance and Standards
Matt Brett is Director of Academic Governance and Standards at Deakin University. As the child of Deaf parents he has a deep personal commitment to accessibility that has framed his career in higher education. Matt co-edited Student Equity in Australian Higher Education: 25 Years of A Fair Chance For All (2016). He was a 2017 Equity Fellow with the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education through which he examined equity performance and accountability. Matt recently led national consultation on developing a new long term strategic vision for student equity in higher education - The Best Chance For All.
Chad BullockSenior Manager, Center for Accessibility
Atlantic Cape Community College
Mr. Bullock serves as Senior Manger/Adaptive Technology Specialist, Center for Accessibility, at Atlantic Cape Community College. He holds his M. A. in Instructional Technology from The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey (now Stockton University). Prior to his current assignment, Mr. Bullock served as Program Coordinator in the college’s Instructional Technology department where he aided faculty in the development, implementation, and support of online courses. Mr. Bullock has conducted extensive research in accommodation, accessibility and adaptive technology and is a Certified Professional in Accessibility Core Competencies from the International Association of Accessibility Professionals. As a Senior Adjunct Instructor of Computer Information and Office Management Systems at the college, Mr. Bullock advocates and practices Universal Design and Web Accessibility techniques.
Michelle PerkinsDirector, Instructional Technology
Atlantic Cape Community College
Ms. Perkins has served as Director, Instructional Technology at Atlantic Cape Community College since 2008. Prior to that appointment, Ms. Perkins worked in Instructional Technology in progressively more responsible roles since 1999. She has oversight for Blackboard, Atlantic Cape's Learning Management System. Ms. Perkins has completed numerous workshops, webinars and courses relating to accessibility. Atlantic Cape entered into a Consent Decree with the National Federation of the Blind in 2015 to adopt a Corrective Action Strategy to bring Atlantic Cape into compliance with all ADA rules and standards. Ms. Perkins sits on Atlantic Cape's Consent Decree Task Force and has worked with Interactive Accessibility as well as Cengage, Pearson and Blackboard to progress through the accessibility requirements of the Consent Decree. In her role as Director, Instructional Technology, Ms. Perkins has worked closely with Atlantic Cape’s Center for Accessibility in the development and delivery of Atlantic Cape’s Accessibility 100, 101, 102 and 103 courses, as well as two Faculty Development days, and has co-presented with CFA staff at two conferences on the title “Fostering a Culture of Accessibility in Higher Education.” Ms. Perkins is also an Adjunct Professor of Developmental Mathematics at Atlantic Cape.
Mike BarnesDirector, Center for Accessibility
Atlantic Cape Community College
Mr. Barnes serves as the Director, Center for Accessibility, at Atlantic Cape Community College. He holds his M.S.E.D. in School & Mental Health Counseling from the University of Pennsylvania, and BS in Education from Cabrini University. Prior to joining the college in 2016, Mr. Barnes has worked extensively in both the mental health, and education arenas in both front line, and administrative capacities.
Melissa M. Gleckler, M.L.S.Educational Technologist, Adjunct Instructor,
Department of Communication, Vice-chair,
UT Professional Staff Council
The University of Toledo
In her “previous life,” as she likes to say, Melissa used her B.A. in broadcast communication from The University of Toledo to enjoy a career in television news and commercial production. She found herself training staff at the TV station and felt a call to education. Melissa joined academia in 2007 as an events planner and recruiter; she also became a graduate student earning a master’s degree. Melissa later served as an academic adviser and has presented regionally and nationally on academic advising and prior learning assessment. She is a founding member of TACADA, Toledo’s nationally allied academic advising organization, and is the 2017 recipient of the Ohio Advising Excellence Award.
Melissa's current role at The University of Toledo is as an Educational Technologist for UT Online, which she considers the perfect merge of her career paths in television and education. She provides workshops as well as one-on-one consultation for faculty in Blackboard and other educational technologies. She also assists with the implementation of new technologies, the development of end-user guides and documentation, and help desk faculty support. She is also a certified Master Online Instructor at UT.
Melissa is currently writing her dissertation on demographic predictors of faculty innovativeness and acceptance of online teaching and learning, expecting her PhD in 2020. In her spare time, when she is not teaching or taking a class, she works on her childhood home, which she has been rehabbing since 2013. She is happy to report it no longer rains in the living room! She shares her country cottage with two rescue Shih Tzus and whatever critters decide to show up in her yard.
Elizabeth SimisterProduct Accessibility Manager
Ms. Simister is the current product accessibility manager at Blackboard. She got her start in accessibility in 2004 in what is now the K. Lisa Yang and Hock E. Tan Institute on Employment and Disability Institute at Cornell University. One of her biggest responsibilities was understanding how to take scanned journal pages with lots of charts, graphs, tables, and math formulas and make them in accessible PDFs. After Cornell, she spent a number of years working as a contractor helping different organizations figure out what they needed to do to be accessible. She has been at Blackboard for 2 years and her primary focus is on working with development teams to get them to the point where all of the products are as accessible as possible. Ms. Simister has a Masters degree in Information Resources from Syracuse University.
Néstor S. Del ValleDirector de Tecnologías de la Educación
Universidad Albizu, Puerto Rico
El Sr. Néstor S. Del Valle posee una licenciatura en Sociología de la Universidad de Puerto Rico en Cayey. Trabajó del 2004 al 2006 como Desarrollador Técnico del proyecto Escuela Digital de la Universidad de Puerto Rico en Cayey dirigido a entrenar maestros en la integración de las TIC a la sala de clases y participó en la construcción de cursos para desarrollo profesional. En el 2007 se traslada al sector privado como Consultor en Tecnología Educativa de la compañía Camera Mundi en Puerto Rico en donde tuvo la oportunidad de trabajar proyectos para universidades, colegios privados y el Departamento de Educación de Puerto Rico. Desarrollando cursos, conferencias y talleres en diversos temas del ámbito educativo. En los últimos dos años se integró a la Universidad Albizu de Puerto Rico en el campus de Miami, Florida. Desde entonces ha estado cargo de transformar los ambientes educativos digitales para potenciar la institución a nivel internacional. Su pasión es aprender cada día un poco más para poderlo transmitir a los demás.
Luis CamachoIT Director
Universidad Carlos Albizu
The target audience of GAAD is the design, development, usability, and related communities who build, shape, fund and influence technology and its use.
While people may be interested in the topic of making technology accessible and usable by persons with disabilities, the reality is that they often do not know how or where to start. Awareness comes first.”