Frequently Asked Questions

How has technology changed the landscape of disability in higher education?

Quite simply – the landscape has shifted from one in which the accommodation process was usually effective in mitigating barriers, to one in which proactive and collaborative efforts are absolutely essential. Please see the Technology SIG Resources page (which is organized to help members find best practices and tools in each of several critical areas) as well as AHEAD conference archives and on demand page for additional context.

What are some techniques that might be useful in developing technology policies?

There are a variety of approaches that might be useful, depending on the culture of the institution. One resource in particular that could be helpful is the GOALS project which provides examples of policies as well as guidance and benchmarking. http://www.ncdae.org/goals/

Are there best practices when it comes to alternate format material provision?

See the AHEAD E-Text Initiative as well as the Resources page for targeted information related to both print and multimedia content.

How can institutions ensure students have equal access to technology?

Some institutions may have committees or councils overseeing the deployment of site wide licensing for assistive or adaptive technology software and hardware. Other institutions may have designated contacts. In either case, it is important to ensure students have access to the technology they need in ways that are equivalent to peers. It is not generally acceptable to house AT in one location on campus if all other students have a range of locations in which to work.

What are some of the emerging technology trends?

Rapid prototyping technologies are allowing for 3D printed learning objects and wearable tech is making it possible for people to use technology within daily living in ways unimagined in the past. There are also open educational resources becoming available, and more and more accessibility features are becoming part of mainstream technology offerings. The Not Impossible Now initiative provides a smattering of examples of how technology can empower. While not all of these projects are disability related, many are: http://www.notimpossiblenow.com/

How do individuals who experience disability access technology?

In many cases individuals access technology features within mainstream offerings. In other cases, individuals access technology via specialized interfaces. The University of Washington’s DO-IT center has a page with a basic overview of some of the ways in which access to technology may be impacted by disability. http://www.washington.edu/doit/Brochures/Technology/wtcomp.html