ATI Newsletter - Fall 2021

Published December 1, 2021

November 30, 2021

A Message from our ATI Steering Committee Sponsors

Welcome to the Fall 2021 semester, and we hope you are all safe and well.

As our campus begins to repopulate and conduct more in-person classes, accessibility of our electronic resources will assist us with both on campus and remote teaching and learning.

This newsletter focuses on:

  • Free accessibility Training Opportunities
  • Ensuring Documents and Print Flyers are Accessible
  • BeachBoard Ally Student Asssistants Program
  • ATS Zoom Kits
  • Planning for Accessible Course Design
  • Acceptance of Risk for Non-Compliant IT Purchases

We hope that you will find this newsletter helpful and informative.

Beth Lessen, Ph.D.
Vice President for Student Affairs
Accessible Technology Initiative Sponsor & Co-Chair
Min Yao, Ph.D.
Vice President & Chief Information Officer
Accessible Technology Initiative Sponsor & Co-Chair

Accessibility Training Opportunities

Free Document Accessibility Training

The CSU Chancellor’s Office is offering a free system-wide document accessibility course provided by WebAim. This online and self-paced course is designed and available for all faculty, staff, and student assistants of the CSU at no cost.

Course Information

This training is currently on-going through this fiscal year. Each cohort begins the first Monday of every month with 60 days to complete. We encourage everyone to sign-up.

How to Register

The CSU has contracted for this course from USU Extensions, so after registering, please look for an email from "USU Extension Online Courses" containing your invitation for the course.

Accessible Course Materials Remediation Service for Faculty

Academic Technology Services recognizes that remediating instructional materials to comply with accessibility standards can be a time-consuming and complex task.

With funding from HERF, ATS has hired and trained student assistants to work with faculty who have completed ATS faculty professional development programs to identify BeachBoard course materials for accessibility issues. Using the Blackboard Ally accessibility awareness tool, student assistants can easily discover content needing attention and make high impact adjustments/remediations.

The ATS Blackboard Ally Student Assistant Program does not replace or substitute accommodations provided by the Accessible Instructional Materials Center for students who are registered with BMAC.

For more information, contact

ATS Mobile Teaching Kits – Promoting Universal Design

Academic Technology Services is providing Mobile Teaching Kits that include an iPad Air, Apple Pencil, tripod options, a headset, and a wireless speaker. These kits can be used for video/audio recording, web conferencing, and annotating presentations and whiteboards. Using mobile teaching kits in face-to-face classes is also an option in certain situations for students who request accessibility accommodations. For information on this approach, contact BMAC.

Planning for Accessible Course Design

It is important for faculty who are planning future semester courses to prioritize the creation and selection of accessible course materials. This includes but is not limited to accessible documents/texts, captioned videos, and the inclusion of the accessibility statement in the syllabus. This attention to accessible course design during the planning process will aid in providing equal access to students of varying abilities. 

Why to Seek Out and Create Accessible Materials 

  • Promotes Universal Design and Access
  • Creates Equitable Learning Environments
  • “Invisible Disabilities” – provides access to those who may not wish to disclose a disability
  • Beneficial to all students regardless of ability
  • Flexibility in learning styles and greater overall understanding for all students in a course
  • Destigmatizes Disability - this means a person with a disability enjoys the same services as a person without a disability in an equally effective manner

Things to Keep in Mind 

  • The effort towards trying to implement accessible materials usually makes the course experience better/more accessible for all students.
  • Be proactive with consulting with campus resources regarding creating accessible materials in advance, since they take time to be remediated. Having accessible materials ready at the beginning of the semester means that the student(s) will not be behind in their course work. 
  • Consider: flexibility; offering choice, variety, options; multiple learning modalities
  • Utilize BeachBoard to provide course content to students.
  • BeachBoard Ally can provide a review of accessibility improvements.
  • Confirm course textbook selection as early as possible so that alternative accessible formats can be identified and provided to students who require BMAC accommodations. 

Resources to Help 

Acceptance of Risk for Non-Compliant Technology Purchases

The Departments of Contracts and Procurement and the Division of Information Technology want to make the campus aware of an important change coming to our technology purchase process. 
All university procurements for technology equipment, software and services must be reviewed prior to their purchase because our campus is legally required to provide accessible and secure technology solutions.  This includes the use of “no-cost” technology solutions. Failure to provide accessible and secure technology equipment, software, or services can result in lawsuits, data breaches, and other actions against our university that carry financial penalties and can damage the university’s reputation.   For this reason, an office/unit or college that wants to proceed with the purchase or use of technology that is not compliant with our university’s accessibility or security requirements will be asked to accept any risk that arises due to the use of that technology.   Acceptance of this risk must be approved and signed by a Dean or Associate Vice President on behalf of the university.
This change will take effect December 1, 2021, for both new technology purchases as well as existing technology renewals. If you have any questions about this change, please direct them to

Did You Know…

There are captioning tools available to make videos accessible.  There have been reports this semester from students about uncaptioned videos in classes and communications. Check out BMAC’s Captioning Guide to find out more about video captioning resources.