Date: 25 August 2022 Time: 1:00pm-2:00pm AET
Whereas buildings without ramps exclude people in wheelchairs from the physical environment, ICT that doesn't comply with accessibility standards excludes people from the online environment.
Universities have, over time, often been pioneers and drivers of digital accessibility for people with disability. In 2022 we have more students with disability than ever enrolling in Higher Education. We also have a recent major research piece on disability and Higher Education recommending a need for greater focus on universally designed accessibility . Combined with the availability of clear standards for ICT accessibility, there are opportunities for ICT professionals to continue to lead the way in how we evaluate and buy ICT products and services to meet this goal.
At present, Universities often wait for students and staff with disability to report inaccessible ICT before providing reasonable adjustments. This can, at times, impact the individual’s ability to work or study, while they wait for a remedy to be agreed on and implemented. These retrofitted solutions can also be expensive to implement and maintain.
An alternative is to deliberately purchase ICT products and services so that they meet or exceed WCAG 2.1 and AS EN 301 549. This would allow almost all students to access and use ICT products and services without needing to ask for workarounds or fixes to occur. From library printers to computer workstations, to HR systems to student portals, the reach of ICT procurement and its footprint with staff and students is broad.
About this session
The Australian Disability Clearinghouse on Education and Training (ADCET) and the National Disability Coordination Officer Program have worked with Intopia to develop a draft of an accessible procurement implementation guide that aims to guide university staff who wish to implement policies and procedures that would support buying ICT products and services so that they are generally accessible by default. The guide draws on existing good practice from universities in Australia and internationally and has been overseen by an advisory panel of access & inclusion, library, ICT accessibility staff, and students and has included representation from CAUDIT.
We are now at the point where the team would like expanded feedback from ICT and procurement professionals. This session will seek to engage with ICT and procurement professionals about the draft, to hear from you how we can best enhance and deploy this resource so that it would support you in your work of implementing ICT solutions in universities that meets the needs of students and staff with ongoing or temporary disability.