The following practice groups were proposed to assist the Accessibility Technology and Information (ATI) Committee in various initiatives relating to improving accessibility at Penn State. Much of this activity continues in multiple cross-unit venues.

1. Web Accessibility Training Practice Group

This group will develop and coordinate accessibility training and documentation in conjunction with ITS Training, the Accessibility Website Practice Group and multiple accessibility content experts.

  • Assess needs for training sessions for constituent groups.
  • Research other trainings from other sources such as other Big Ten universities, WebAim, W3C or
  • Develop face-to-face, podcasts, screenshots and webinars for all constituents (i.e., Web developers, instructional designers, faculty, staff and students) to assist in the overall ATI strategic plan 2011-2014 goals, objectives and implementation.
  • Continue to develop training sessions on emerging technologies and relating to accessibility and update developed trainings to remain current on accessibility training issues.
  • Potentially develop certificate training programs for each constituent group to provide consistency of skill sets to build sustainability of the overall ATI strategic plan 2011-2014 goals, objectives and implementation.

2. Accessibility Website Practice Group

This group will oversee the upgrade and maintenance of the Penn State Accessibility information Website at

  • Review the current structure of the site, determine categories for new structure.
  • Review materials from other universities, including Big Ten (BTAA) institutions regarding Web accessibility.
  • Develop a plan for restructuring and updating the content of the site to assist in terms of the overall ATI strategic plan 2011-2014 goals, objectives and implementation. (see strategic plan for timelines).
  • Develop the website content, and post training documents (including screen casts) for various audiences such as developers, instructional designers, faculty, staff and students.
  • Potentially coordinate with the Web Accessibility Training Group to provide infrastructure for online certification programs.
  • Coordinate with other working groups to provide space and infrastructure for appropriate online materials and utilities.

3. Web Accessibility Review and Implementation (WARI) Plan Practice Group

In the Fall of 2011, PSU Provost initiated a revised Web Accessibility and Review Group, reconfirming Penn State’s commitment to Web accessibility and adherence to new Web Accessibility Policy AD-69. The Provost directed all University Budget Executive units to appoint a Web Liaison to this group. This new Web Liaison Practice Group was formed in August 2011. The main goals of this group are to implement University-wide Web accessibility reporting tools and coordinate accessibility reporting across the University.

  • Make recommendations for improvement of Penn State websites to determine compliance with current federal, state and local laws utilizing current standards: the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, 2.0.
  • Develop a process for monitoring and remediation of websites.
  • Identify a strategy to ensure that new websites and Web content incorporate accessibility in the design and authoring process.
  • Web Liaisons will develop a training program for their particular unit to meet strategic plan goals.
  • Web Liaisons appointed to this group will assume primary responsibility for ensuring that the revised policy AD-69 requirements are met within their budget unit and that each identified University website continues to meet these requirements over time.
  • Web Liaisons will also be responsible for developing and implementing a Web Accessibility plan within their department, college or unit.
  • Web Liaisons and WARI group will develop a communication plan to educate units about Web accessibility requirements and trainings.
  • Coordinate the necessary tools and resources that will assist Web developers, instructional designers, and anyone who places content on the Web in implementing this administrative policy, so that University websites meet the current accessibility standards.
  • Strategic plans will identify roles and responsibilities associated with the above process.

4. Captioning Practice Group

This group will share captioning best practices with the Penn State community and investigate possible implementation of University-wide systems.

  • Explore costs, and procedures for the most effective and efficient manner of obtaining transcripts and providing captioning for: audio recordings, videos, multi-media, and particularly for the lecture/capture process. These include voice recognition, off shore services, echo speech, court reporters, student assistants, etc.
  • Research best practices of other departments, colleges and CIC institutions on how they are handling transcripts and captioning.
  • Develop a pilot project utilizing the best practices and comparing costs, time etc. versus outsourcing.
  • Research outsourcing captioning options and costs regarding system-wide discounted agreements with captioning providers.
  • Recommend solutions for a potential system-wide captioning program for all of PSU.
  • Develop training programs on captioning both outsourced and in-house solutions.

5. Assistive and Adaptive Technology Practice Group

This group will investigate and recommend assistive technology options for the university and ensure there is adequate support.

  • Assess current assistive and adaptive technology committee and recommend best practices, resources, and tools necessary to enhance current system.
  • Research other assistive technology programs at other Big Ten institutions and similar sized institutions to benchmark on current PSU AT/adaptive technology programs and centers.
  • Survey students regarding current assistive and adaptive technology use.
  • Develop a plan of assistive technology and make recommendations regarding potential resources necessary to promote enhanced AT at PSU for all campuses for students, faculty and staff that assists in overall ATI strategic plan 2011-2014 goals, objectives and implementation.
  • Develop AT training programs either synchronous or asynchronous for faculty, staff, web developers and students regarding the latest AT and adaptive technologies.
  • Develop and maintain AT and adaptive technology website of latest technologies and their use.
  • Continue to research the latest AT/adaptive technology for students/faculty and staff to keep up with emerging technologies.

6. Accessible Instructional Materials Practice Group

This group will investigate and recommend options for ensuring that instructional materials are made accessible on a timely basis for students with disabilities.

  • Assess current activities associated with accessible instructional materials (scanning, modification, and delivery).
  • Benchmark with other CIC institutions on programs for accessible instructional materials.
  • Assess the barriers and systemic issues that may affect the timely delivery and quality of accessible instructional materials for Penn State students with print disabilities, as well as the effective use of such materials by faculty and staff.
  • Research the current technical solutions available that may improve the timely delivery and quality of accessible instructional materials.
  • Make recommendations related to the development of a comprehensive University-wide system for accessible instructional materials.
  • Work with publishers, bookstore and other entities to determine a streamlined process to obtain accessible instructional materials in a timely and efficient manner.
  • Explore other avenues of obtaining accessible instructional materials. For example: Access Text Network (ATN; Learning Ally (formerly RFBD; Bookshare (; Alternative Media Access Center (AMAC and other e-textbook solutions (ITunes U, Coursesmart, Vital Source, etc.).

7. Accessible Online Learning Practice Group/
Meets as “Online Course Accessibility Quality Initiative (OCAQI)

This group will review online course tools, delivery systems, and software with the objective of exploring methods to improve the accessibility of Penn State’s online courses. Goals for the committee include, but may not be limited to:

  • Identification of accessibility best practices that apply to the tools, systems, and software used in online courses.
  • Identification of specific technology tools, delivery systems, and software relevant to online courses.
  • Recommendations concerning implementation of specific standards regarding accessibility best practices and strategies for online courses to assist in the overall ATI strategic plan 2011-2014 goals, objectives and implementation.
  • Identification of quality assurance checklists, processes, and tools that will identify and verify that standards have been met for online courses.
  • Research faculty training sessions on accessible materials and courses and recommend necessary resources.

8. Procurement of Accessible Software/Hardware Practice Group

This group will develop policies and procedures required in the procurement process of Electronic Information Technology.

  • Research and develop enhanced Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) for WCAG 2.0 standards.
  • Benchmark with other Big Ten institutions regarding procurement policies and procedures
  • Develop process for vendors to complete VPAT in the RFP process.
  • Develop consistent reporting by vendors of known accessibility features, limitations, and workarounds for each EIT product.
  • Develop testing protocols to ensure that information in VPAT is accurate and documentation is compliant with WCAG 2.0 standards.
  • Develop policies, procedures and best practices for procurement of accessible technology and information.

9. University Libraries Accessibility Initiative

This group will oversee the efforts of the University Libraries to bring online resources to an acceptable level of accessibility.

The complete implementation plan for the University Libraries is available at

10. Faculty Support for Accessibility

This group formed in May 2013.

The Faculty Support for Accessibility group recommends strategies and resources needed to facilitate the creation of accessible resident, hybrid and online courses by all instructors developing their own digital materials.

Our tasks include:

    • Provide recommendations for instructors to prioritize which accommodations should be done pro-actively and which can wait for an accommodation request.
    • Identify skills for instructors to learn.
    • Develop plans and instructional materials to train instructors to create accessible materials.
    • Identify tools and resources needed to create and test accessible materials.
    • Identify tools and resources needed to provide training and consultation to instructors.
    • Communicate needs and recommendations to key stakeholders at Penn State.
    • Evaluate needs of instructors on a periodic basis and adjust tasks accordingly.

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