I was excited when I learned that two of my colleagues, Laura Jervis and Ariel Gunn, were organizing an accessibility community of practice at UF last fall because I know the dedication and passion they have for digital accessibility and inclusive course design. In the last six months, I’ve watched the group in Teams share resources, discuss issues, and grow to about 50 members.
Last week I attended the first meeting of this new community of practice, and I was thrilled to see a large and varied group attend. Web design and UX specialists, instructional designers, trainers, and assistant directors for support teams attended and shared how they work with accessibility at UF and discussed how they would like to work together in the community of practice going forward. I left the meeting feeling energized about the next quarterly meeting and eager to continue some of our discussions in Teams.
A few attendees also shared some recent events, and California State University’s Moving the Needle Challenge stood out to me because it involved everyone across the institution. During this challenge each campus used the Ally tool to improve as many instructional materials as they could in one week. Thousands of fixes were made using this tool that is available to UF instructors and staff (Ally training).
If you feel inspired and use Canvas, take a look at the Ally score for one or more of your courses on Global Accessibility Awareness Day on May 19! Celebrate making it through the semester by treating yourself to a small win by starting with the “easiest issues to fix” from your Ally report. Or request an accessibility consultation and learn how to adjust some of the more challenging aspects of your instructional content. We’d love to help you.
I look forward to participating in this group as it grows and coalesces into a community of practice that I hope will serve UF for years to come. If you are interested in getting involved (or just lurking to see what all the fuss is about), you can join the UF Accessibility Community of Practice Team to find details on future meetings and other opportunities for engagement.
Image icons sourced from Graphic Artists Guild