PHOENIX–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The University of Phoenix spent the week surrounding Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD), May 19, celebrating the achievements of students and employees with disabilities and promoting awareness of best practices in digital accessibility. Over the past 12 months, the University has provided accommodation for 11,017 students.
“Without the accommodations, I wouldn’t have made it to my current degree,” says recent graduate Terry Magers, whose achievement was highlighted in a local news story. “The extra time for the accommodation was a big help and without my Disability Services Advisor, Cora, I wouldn’t have made it.”
Approximately 26% of adults in the United States, or 61 million adult individuals, have a disability. GAAD is a day to raise awareness and educate people around the world about the importance of digital accessibility for people with disabilities and disabilities, including the over one billion people who are blind or partially sighted, hard of hearing or have motor and motor impairments. / or cognitive disorders.
“Digital environments and content often resemble the built environment, with planning and development as the infrastructure is built. Architects long ago recognized that integrating accessibility into design not only leads to better function; it was also more aesthetic,” says Kelly Hermann, vice president of accessibility, equity and inclusion. “At the University of Phoenix, we have taken a similar approach to our digital assets. Our digital design approach emphasizes making the digital environment usable by as many users as possible.”
The University of Phoenix has created a robust accessibility services model to support its students. The University of Phoenix strives to apply universally accepted benchmark standards established by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to meet accessibility commitments; it is committed to providing information where individuals can perceive, operate and understand.
The academic program is designed with accessibility in mind. The University uses an accessibility tool in the learning management system to help provide support and track compliance with guidelines for web content accessibility.
The University supports faculty in developing accessible content through mandatory annual training and course content evaluation. “This gives us the ability to provide targeted support for professors to create and share accessible content with their students,” says Hermann. “Teachers have access to the accessibility tool in the learning management system to review and correct content when they upload it to the classroom and can also contact our accessibility and usability team to get help if needed.”
This week, faculty across the University are participating in a “Fix Your Content Week” to review their course content and interact with the Accessibility and Usability team to improve current understanding and open communication about accessibility for students.
The University launched an Accessibility SME (Subject Matter Expert) program in 2021, designed to help marketing and IT staff develop and apply accessibility expertise to their work. The Accessibility SME program is an innovative approach to providing professional development to employees who may not have been exposed to the fundamentals of accessibility in their formal preparation and training. The program enables the University to adapt accessibility to the design and development of digital assets and content so that content is created accessible and does not require rework before publication. To date, 51 employees have completed the program.
At a recent annual employee appreciation event, Phoenix Fun Fest, the accessibility team hosted a lab, with additional materials on accessibility technology provided by the company’s Technology Access Program. Arizona (AzTAP), including 40-cell updatable braille, Victor Reader Stream, Apple Watch (for executive running), laptop with Fusion, and Switch-friendly toy. Employees and their families were able to interact with assistive devices and participate in awareness exercises to learn more about how people with disabilities interact with their environment.
Learn more here about accessibility policy and services at the University of Phoenix.
About the University of Phoenix
The University of Phoenix is continually innovating to help working adults improve their careers in a rapidly changing world. Flexible schedules, relevant courses, interactive learning, and Career Services for Life® help students more effectively pursue their professional and personal aspirations while balancing their busy lives. For more information, visit phoenix.edu.