Technology Special Interest Group
The AHEAD Special Interest Group (SIG) on Technology provides a means for members to learn about, and get connected with, resources that are critical to the intersection of disability and technology in higher education today.
The purpose of the Technology SIG is twofold:
1. To facilitate collaboration and connections between members who are curious about or engaged in work related to accessibility of technology at colleges and universities.
2. To help members identify resources helpful to their professional work
Technology SIG co-chairs:
Email-based Discussion Lists
Information technology presents many accessibility challenges, and there are various groups working to address those challenges from slightly different perspectives. The following email-based discussion lists provide excellent channels for discussing issues and getting answers to your questions related to technology accessibility. All lists are free and open to anyone unless otherwise indicated.
- AHEAD Technology SIG List: This is the official list of the Technology SIG, and was created specifically to provide a space for AHEAD members to discuss technology accessibility issues. Its primary focus is on technology issues that arise in the context of providing services and accommodations to students with disabilities. Subscribe via the AHEAD Technology SIG Discussion List info page. Subscribers must be AHEAD members in good standing. All subscription requests are manually approved by AHEAD staff.
- Access Technology Higher Education Network (ATHEN): ATHEN is a professional association for professionals who are working or interested in the field of technology accessibility in higher education. Its discussion list is the go-to list for getting answers to specific questions about assistive technology, accessibility of information technology, and policies and practices in this content area. ATHEN works in close partnership with AHEAD on addressing technology-related needs of AHEAD members. For additional information or to subscribe to the list, see the ATHEN Mailing List web page.
- EDUCAUSE IT Accessibility Constituent Group (ITACCESS): EDUCAUSE is the leading association for IT administrators and staff from colleges and universities worldwide, as well as corporations serving the higher education IT market. The ITACCESS group is a growing group of EDUCAUSE members who have a shared interest in ensuring the accessibility of the IT used at their institutions. Members of the group include technology accessibility staff (many of the same people who are on the ATHEN list), as well as IT staff including Chief Information Officers and other IT administrators. Discussion topics tend to focus on policies, procedures, and strategy. For additional information or to subscribe to the list, see the IT Accessibility Constituent Group home page.
- High Tech Center Training Unit (HTCTU) Lists: The HTCTU of the California Community Colleges provides training and support in assistive computer technology, alternate media, and web accessibility. The HTCTU hosts several discussion lists that are open to colleagues in higher ed and service providers who work with individuals with disabilities (not limited to California). To subscribe to any of the lists, go to the HTCTU List Manager and select "Subscribe" for any of the lists that interests you. In particular, AHEAD members may be interested in the altmedia (Alternate Media), banner (discussion focused on Banner software), and captioning lists.
The annual meeting of the Technology SIG is held during the annual International AHEAD Conference. Check the program schedule for meeting time and location. We encourage members who are involved with the SIG, as well as those who are curious about it, to attend this meeting.
To propose topics for the meeting agenda, please contact a Technology SIG co-chair listed above or post your suggestion to the Technology SIG discussion list.
AHEAD offers professional development through a variety of webinars presented throughout the year. As part of these offerings, the Technology SIG, in collaboration with ATHEN, helps to organize a series of webinars on technology-focused topics. For additional information about upcoming webinars, follow the "Webinars" link from AHEAD's Virtual Learning page.
The following short list of resources offer a starting point for learning more about technology accessibility in higher education.
- Accessing Higher Ground – annual conference, presented and hosted by AHEAD, focusing specifically on technology accessibility in higher education.
- DO-IT – "Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology," a center at the University of Washington that offers resources, including those related to IT, for promoting inclusion and success for students with disabilities.
- Equal Access to Software and Information (EASI) – a non-profit organization that offers webinars and online courses on technology accessibility, often focusing on technology in education.
- University of Washington Technology Accessibility – one example of a higher education website that provides a wealth of resources related to accessibility of technology that includes how-to guides for addressing accessibility of web sites, digital documents, videos, and other IT.
- WebAIM – "Web Accessibility in Mind," a project at Utah State University that offers resources related to web accessibility, including online articles and tutorials, an Introduction to Web Accessibility, a very active and helpful discussion list, and the WAVE web accessibility checker.