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The Digital Accessibility Office at UNC-Chapel Hill has organized the inaugural Getting Started with Digital Accessibility Conference in June with Wake Forest University and Davidson-Davie Community College.

The NC Higher Ed Digital Accessibility Collaborative‘s June 10 virtual conference will focus on digital accessibility basics. The free event, which will be online via Zoom, is a professional development opportunity to learn about digital accessibility. It is open to everyone in higher education in North Carolina — staff, faculty and students. Registration has opened. Spots are limited.

Sarah Arnold
Sarah Arnold

‘Walk away inspired’

“My hope is the folks who attend our conference will walk away inspired to do more,” said Sarah Arnold, Digital Accessibility Consultant at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Digital Accessibility Office. “I want them to apply what they learn in their day-to-day work — adding in new skills and best practices to make our campuses more inclusive and accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities.”

Creating an inclusive campus

Digital accessibility is the practice of making technology and digital content more accessible to people with a diverse range of hearing, movement, sight and cognitive abilities. The goal is to create an inclusive campus through the digital materials used in courses, on websites, and more. This goal aligns with the University’s strategic initiative of Build Our Community Together.

Six presentations

The Getting Started with Digital Accessibility Conference will feature six presentations of 45 minutes each. The keynote speaker is Judy Risch, the Co-Lead for the National Digital Access Team with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. She kicks off the conference at 9 a.m. The other presenters are digital accessibility specialists who work in higher education across North Carolina.

Here’s the rest of the conference schedule, with the time, topic and speaker:

  • 10-10:45 a.m.; Basic Accessibility Fundamentals; Khaleel Eksheir, Assistive Technology Specialist, Office of Disability Services, UNC-Charlotte
  • 11-11:45 a.m.; Multimedia Accessibility; Rebecca Sitton, Assistive Technology Coordinator and Assistant Director at N.C. State University
  • 1-1:45 p.m.; Accessible Documents; Matt Sauthoff, Accessible Technology Consultant, and Heather Backus, Assistant Director, both with the Office of Disability Resources, Appalachian State University
  • 2-2:45 p.m.; Accessible Instructional Materials; Darrin Evans, Director, Virtual Learning Community Professional Development Center, Wake Technical Community College
  • 3-3:45 p.m.; Web Accessibility: Intro to WCAG; Melanie Eley, Accessibility Coordinator, UNCG Online

The NC Higher Ed Digital Accessibility Collaborative, the event organizer that also is known as the Digital Accessibility SIG, has a mission of fostering digital accessibility education and resource sharing among education institutes in North Carolina. Its co-chairs are Brad Held, who manages Carolina’s Digital Accessibility Office, and Eudora Struble, Assistant Director, Technology Accessibility Information Systems, at Wake Forest University.

The conference marks the 10th annual Global Accessibility Awareness Day and the 31st anniversary of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.

If you have questions about the event, please email the Digital Accessibility Office at The DAO is a unit of ITS.

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