Spring 2017 Technology Webinar Series

AHEAD’s Standing Committee on Technology, in partnership with its Technology Special Interest Group (SIG) and ATHEN, has once again designed a series of fall webinars designed to provide information for the disability resource office and the technology staff on your campuses. The titles this year are based on your requests for information most important to your daily work.

As always, you are welcome to listen to the webinars live and participate in the conversation through chat or phone line OR listen to a fully recorded and captioned Adobe Connect session whenever it’s convenient for you. Use the webinars as professional development for yourself and your staff or to develop knowledge and interest in accessibility with IT folks on your campus by listening with colleagues.

All AHEAD Technology Series webinars are scheduled on Tuesdays at 3:00 – 4:00 pm Eastern Time.

Complete instructions for participating and presentation slides are sent via email prior to each webinar. All webinars are captioned in real-time, with audio supported via an operator-assisted phone line. Links to the recordings will be sent to registrants who make a request after each session. See upcoming fall webinar information below.

The full recordings of Fall 2016 webinars are still available. You can purchase the link to these professional development resources at by clicking here to watch with colleagues at a time convenient to you.

Previous Spring 2017 Technology Webinars

Math Text-to-speech Accessibility and Solutions for Students

February 7, 2017

Presenter: Steve Noble, University of Louisville, Faculty Member

Assistive computer technologies, such as screen-readers and other text-to-speech applications, now offer far greater support for access to mathematical content. However, ensuring assistive technology can recognize math content depends not only on the type of document being utilized but also the presence of additional software solutions installed on a student's computer. The resulting patchwork of support can pose significant challenges to those creating mathematical resources and to students attempting to interact with such content. This one-hour webinar will identify best practices for authoring math content and examine the assistive technology solutions available today for students to consider.

Audience Level: Intermediate to advanced

Introducing Accessible Technology in IT and Engineering Courses

February 28, 2017

Presenters: Sheryl Burgstahler, DO-IT University of Washington; Kat Steele, Ph.D., University of Washington and Maya Cakmak, Ph.D., University of Washington

Engineering and computer science and information technology faculty can help create leaders with more diverse characteristics in their fields by engaging students with disabilities. They can also incorporate disability-related issues and universal design strategies in their courses to create a new generation of workers who can design products that meet the needs of all potential students. This session will focus on how disability services staff can work with faculty to reach these two goals.

Audience Level: All; appropriate for novices

An Overview of Accessible PDF Documents

March 14, 2017

Presenter: Karen McCall, Karlen Communications

There is now greater opportunity to create accessible PDF documents, but it is important to recognize which applications facilitate that process and what constitutes an "accessible" PDF file. We will review the features of a tagged PDF document, how to convert Word and PowerPoint documents to tagged PDF, and some of the basic Quality Assurance and remediation techniques. Participants will learn a Quality Assurance process and how to implement such a process in different parts of a PDF file.

Audience Level: All; appropriate for novices

Procuring Accessible Information Technology

April 11, 2017

Presenter: Terrill Thompson, University of Washington

Much of the information technology (IT) used in higher education today is procured from vendors. How can we ensure these products and services are accessible to students and employees with disabilities? This webinar will explore strategies for including accessibility language in bidding solicitations, evaluating products for accessibility, collaborating with vendors to help them improve their accessibility, and including accessibility requirements in contracts.

Audience Level: All; appropriate for novices

Registration & Costs

Number of Spring Webinars Registered Member Non-Member
1 $140.00 $200.00
2 $245.00 $350.00
3 $294.00 $420.00
4 $343.00 $490.00


Register Here

Contact AHEAD at ahead@ahead.org or 704.947.7779 with any registration questions


Speaker Bios

Image of Sheryl BurgstahlerSheryl Burgstahler, Ph.D. is the Director of Accessible Technology Services (ATS) at the University of Washington (UW) in Seattle. She is also an Affiliate Professor in the College of Education. Within her ATS role she directs services that promote the development, procurement and use of technology at the UW that is accessible to individuals with disabilities. Within this role she also founded and continues to direct the international DO-IT Center, where DO-IT stands for Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking and Technology. Since 1992 DO-IT has secured more than $5,000,000 from the National Science Foundation and other external sources to promote the success of individuals with disabilities in college and careers, with a particular focus on the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Image of Maya CakmakMaya Cakmak, Ph.D., co-PI of AccessEngineering, is an assistant professor at the University of Washington in the Computer Science & Engineering department, where she directs the Human-Centered Robotics lab. She received her Ph.D. in Robotics from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2012, after which she spent a year as a post-doctoral research fellow at the robotics company Willow Garage. Her research interests are in human-robot interaction, end-user programming and assistive robotics. Her work aims to develop robots that can be programmed and controlled by a diverse group of users with unique needs and preferences to do useful tasks. Maya's work has been published at major Robotics and AI conferences and journals, demonstrated live in various venues, and has been featured in numerous media outlets. She teaches undergraduate human-computer interaction and robotics courses.

Image of Karen McCallKaren McCall, M.Ed. is the owner of Karlen Communications. She has been working in the field of accessible document design for over 15 years and has written several books on creating and working with various document formats including Word, PowerPoint and PDF. She is currently working on the fourth edition of her book “Accessible and Usable PDF Documents: Techniques for Document Authors.” Karen is a Canadian delegate to the ISO PDF/UA committee, a Microsoft MVP for Word and a Microsoft Accessibility MVP. Her current activities include publishing the annual PDF and the User Experience Survey for people with disabilities using adaptive technology and advocating for a global inclusive education standard.

Image of Kat Steele, Ph.D.Kat Steele, Ph.D. is an assistant professor in mechanical engineering at UW and the Director of the Ability Lab, which focuses on using engineering and design to improve human ability, and the Co-PI of the AccessEngineering project. She received her Ph.D. and M.S. in mechanical engineering from Stanford University and her B.S. from the Colorado School of Mines. She was recently awarded one of the first NIH K12 Career Development Grants in Interdisciplinary Rehabilitation Engineering. Her research focuses on combining device design, dynamic musculoskeletal simulation, and medical imaging to improve diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders. She also teaches courses on medical device innovation and biomechanics. Dr. Steele has worked in multiple clinical environments including the Cleveland Clinic, the Children’s Hospital of Colorado, Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital, and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.

Image of Steve NobleSteve Noble is a nationally recognized research and development expert in the realm of assistive technology and accessible education for students with disabilities, with special focus in science and mathematics instruction. He currently serves as adjunct faculty with the University of Louisville, as mathematics and science content specialist for Bridge Multimedia and as a research consultant for Pearson Assessment. Steve serves on both the national Technology and Public Policy committees for the Learning Disabilities Association (LDA) of America, and previously served two terms on LDA's National Board, as well as several terms as State President for the LDA of Kentucky.

Image of Terrill ThompsonTerrill Thompson is technology accessibility specialist with the University of Washington. In this role, he works to promote information technology accessibility by giving trainings, developing resources, providing consultation and support, and conducting research. He does this for the UW community as part of UW-IT Accessible Technology Services http://uw.edu/accessibility, and does it for the rest of the world through The DO-IT Center (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, & Technology), where he works on projects such as AccessComputing, funded by the National Science Foundation. Terrill has over twenty years' experience in the IT accessibility field, and has presented at numerous conferences and consulted widely with organizations in education, government, and private industry on IT accessibility issues.