Published: Feb. 2, 2015

In May Chancellor DiStefano announced the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Services and Applications Accessibility Project, aimed to improve the accessibility of CU-Boulder’s digital environment. The project’s goal is to provide appropriate IT resources to our students, faculty, staff and visitors with disabilities, whether they come to our physical campus, or to our presence in cyberspace.

In order to more effectively advance this goal, effective Jan. 1, Dan Jones, current CU-Boulder Director of IT Security and University of Colorado VP of Information Security/Chief Information Security Officer, has assumed the additional title and role of Chief Digital Accessibility Officer (CDAO). Jones’ experience will enable him to facilitate long-standing accessibility improvements and encourage cultural change. He will be responsible for monitoring and overseeing information and communication technology accessibility for individuals with disabilities. His current university systemwide role as CISO will also facilitate sharing campus accessibility improvements with the rest of the university.

Progress Thus Far

This project consists of an executive team, steering team, working group and four core project teams that are comprised of CU-Boulder faculty as well as staff from Disability Services, the Office of Information Technology (OIT), Human Resources, Procurement Services, University Counsel, University Communications and other units on campus.

Since the campus update in November, the project teams have made significant strides in integrating digital accessibility into our campus including the following:

  • The launch of the IT Accessibility website:
    • Here you will find news and updates about the initiative, draft policy and accompanying standards and best practices for creating a digitally accessible classroom
    • This site will continue to evolve and be the source for all digital accessibility information
  • The integration of accessibility reviews into the Office of Information Technology’s project management process, including vendor selection processes
  • An initial accessibility remediation for Google Apps for Education
  • An assessment and guidance to improve accessibility for Desire2Learn, Turnitin, and VoiceThread
  • Beginning an assessment of online student portal and digital signage
  • Drafts of campus ICT Policy, Procedure and Standards are available for campus review

Implementation of the Information and Communications Technology Program

To make certain we never underestimate the importance of digital accessibility on our campus, the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Services program has been developed. In addition to the new Chief Digital Accessibility Officer role, this program will also include an ICT Accessibility Coordinator and a Universal Design Consultant.

Recruitment for the ICT Accessibility Coordinator has begun. The ICT Accessibility Coordinator, in collaboration with other ICT stakeholders, will provide faculty and staff information about their obligations to ensure ICT accessibility and further provide resources to assist in meeting those obligations, including instruction on how to make digital information accessible and how to both manually check and use automated tools to ensure the accessibility of such content.

Just the Beginning

This project and program are just at the beginning of a campuswide initiative. Ensuring our digital environment is accessible to everyone will require attention across the campus community. While the team will solicit feedback from campus governance groups, such as Boulder Faculty Assembly, Staff Council and IT governance advisory groups, it is important that we collect feedback from across the campus community. Please take a moment to visit the IT Accessibility website and provide feedback via the online form.

Last week, the university filed an additional update with the Department of Justice about all of these activities. Thank you for your continued support and commitment in ensuring the services we provide are accessible to all. The team will continue to share updates about the progress towards creating a more accessible digital environment at CU-Boulder.