UNC-Chapel Hill has been relying heavily upon the Digital Accessibility Office to support campus community members as they teach, learn and work primarily online amid the pandemic.

Kat Moore, Chelsea Porter and Sarah Arnold stand together outdoors
The DAO’s Kat Moore, Chelsea Porter and Sarah Arnold pose outside of ITS Franklin before the University moved to remote operations

Early on, the Digital Accessibility Office (DAO) team members quickly retooled their operations to serve the needs of the campus community.

The DAO, which formed last summer, works to improve accessibility standards throughout the University’s digital presence, from websites to classroom materials.

Supporting campus in new ways

Because of COVID-19, the DAO’s four employees can no longer meet clients face to face. Instead, they conduct video meetings and training from home. As new challenges have emerged from the University primarily operating remotely, the team has formed new partnerships and supported campus members in new ways.

“We’ve been pulled into a lot of meetings to talk about how groups on campus can do things online,” Digital Accessibility Consultant Sarah Arnold said.

Open meetings via video conferencing

As the University was preparing for the transition to remote, the DAO helped the Board of Trustees and the Chancellor’s commissions figure out how to conduct open meetings via video conferencing. The team also helped ensure that these meetings would have captioning functionality.

Brad Held headshot
Brad Held

While the DAO used to conduct multiple in-person trainings every month, the team transitioned these presentations to an online format almost overnight.

The team has not missed a single training since the move to remote operations, and attendees have enjoyed the trainings, said Brad Held, Head of Digital Accessibility.

Ensuring captions for Zoom

The DAO also has supported preparations for an all online orientation for incoming first-year students.

“Going through Zoom and ensuring captions was really crucial,” Held said.

As it did for the entire University, the transition to remote operations came with a slight learning curve. The DAO, though, was able to overcome it.

The team, said Digital Accessibility Consultant Kat Moore, has received “a lot of good feedback and opportunities to use these new tools to keep things accessible while we’re remote.”

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