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The Digital Accessibility Office at UNC-Chapel Hill is collaborating with the North Carolina Higher Education Digital Accessibility Collaborative to facilitate a free virtual conference on digital accessibility on June 16.

The conference, titled Join the Journey, will be held on June 16, 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., via Zoom. The conference is open to anyone in higher education in North Carolina — staff, faculty and students. Register for the free conference; space is limited. 

Last year the Digital Accessibility Office (DAO) co-organized the collaborative’s successful inaugural conference.

Creating an inclusive campus 

Chelsea Porter
Chelsea Porter

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. 

“Our desire is to educate and inform everyone about the importance of digital accessibility while also preparing them with skills that they can utilize in their day to day work,” said Chelsea Porter, Digital Accessibility Consultant with the DAO. 

“If everyone who attends our conference learned just one new thing they could do to improve accessibility, then that’s one more barrier torn down, resulting in more inclusive content for everyone, including people with disabilities.” 

Full day of presentations 

The Join the Journey conference will feature a keynote and six 45-minute presentations by accessibility experts.

Logan Gerrity, attorney for the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, will kick off the conference at 9 a.m. with a keynote presentation titled “Access for People with Disabilities to Online Programs and Resources.” Among other topics, the presentation will include overarching legal obligations for educational institutions under federal disability rights law.

“I’m excited to hear from Logan,” said Porter. “As an attorney from the Office of Civil Rights, he has seen the best and worst when it comes to digital accessibility. Learning from other professionals is a treat.” 

Other presentations in the conference schedule include:

  • 10 a.m – 10:45 a.m.; Accessible Course Design; Caitlin McKeown, Lead Instructional Designer, NC State University
  • 11 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.; Social media and accessibility; Kara Gaulrapp, Senior Web Accessibility Analyst, University of Pennsylvania 
  • 1 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.; Introduction to ARIA; Gia Branciforte, Front-End Developer, ITS Digital Services, UNC-Chapel Hill
  • 2 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.; Basics of Accessibility Testing; Crystal Tenan, Senior UX Accessibility Specialist for Edward Jones, former IT Accessibility Coordinator for NC State University
  • 3 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.; Best Practices for Accessibility and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematical (STEM) Digital Content; Brad Held, Digital Accessibility Office Team Lead at UNC-Chapel Hill

The NC Higher Ed Digital Accessibility Collaborative is co-chaired by Brad Held, who manages Carolina’s Digital Accessibility Office, and Eudora Struble, Assistant Director of Technology Accessibility Information Systems at Wake Forest University. The collaborative, also known as the Digital Accessibility Special Interest Group (SIG), has a mission to foster digital accessibility education and resource sharing among education institutes in North Carolina. 

The conference marks the 11th annual Global Accessibility Awareness Day and the 32nd 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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