Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Accessibility Policy

Open Forum


  • Housekeeping
  • Introduction and Background
  • Overview of the draft ICT Accessibility Policy
  • How it may impact you
  • Services and technologies
  • Next steps
  • Questions, Comments, and Suggestions


This presentation is about the information and communication technology accessibility policy. You can find a copy of the draft policy on the website [ ]

Introduction: Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

  • Information technology and other equipment, systems, technologies or processes for which the principle function is the creation, manipulation, storage, display, receipt or transmission of electronic data and information as well as technology-based equipment.
  • Includes:
    • Academic and administrative software applications
    • Websites, web-based and mobile applications
    • Auxiliary aids and services for events
    • Email and electronic documents
    • Search engines and databases
    • Multimedia (audio and video)


So what is information and communication technology? How does this impact you in your daily life? How does it impact the people that consume content that we create in our daily lives?

ICT is really almost everything that's on the web. It really is the web. It's the websites you look at, mobile devices you use, it's the desktops you use. It is across the campus and your life every day whether you log into MySlice or log in to register for a class, or use Blackboard; that is part of ICT. It is endemic to our lives and to the lives of anybody in this modern age.

And so it means that everything that we do and how we think about it and how we create it must be changed.

Is there anybody here who doesn't think they've ever used ICT? So it's ubiquitous, it is part of our life. So what this policy says is how are we going to make sure there's universal access to this kind of information so that regardless of who you are, regardless of your disability or ability, that you're going to have access to this kind of information.

So ICT is something we will deal with today and in the future as we move forward.

IT Accessibility Core Task Force Members

DeAnn Buss, Director of Information Systems, SU Libraries

Dana Butler, Leaves and Disabilities Accommodation Coordinator, Equal Opportunity, Inclusion and Resolution Services (EOIRS)

Jenny Gluck, Associate CIO, Information Technology Services (ITS)

Aaron Hodukavich, Director and ADA Coordinator, EOIRS

Paula Possenti-Perez, Director, Office of Disability Services (ODS)

Danielle Smith, Assistant Coordinator, ODS

Elizabeth Teska, Assistant Director Online Platforms, Marketing and Communications

Sharon Trerise, IT Analyst – Accessibility, ITS


So who worked on the policy, put it together?

These are folks that I have to thank who worked very hard going over drafts and versions and drafts and versions and drafts and versions and drafts and versions. This was a cohort of folks throughout campus, largely from the units that served the community. And that's largely how they were selected a few years ago. They served the community.

Now, you notice there aren't faculty or students on this list. But that doesn't mean we didn't consult with them. We purposely reached out to them with versions and drafts of the policy draft and asked what are your comments; what are your concerns. So we have worked to be as inclusive in terms of getting comments throughout the campus as possible.

We also currently have an open comment period, so anybody is welcome to do that. And if somebody really wants to join us, we have another seat, and you are welcome to join us. But this cast has done a phenomenal job and I can't thank them enough for helping move this process forward over the last couple years.

Why ICT Accessibility Policy?

  • University Vision Statement

Syracuse University aspires to be a pre-eminent and inclusive student-focused research university, preparing engaged citizens, scholars and leaders for participation in a changing global society.”

  • University Mission includes that…faculty and staff support student success by

“Fostering a richly diverse and inclusive community of learning and opportunity”

  • Chancellor’s Workgroup on Diversity and Inclusion Short Term Recommendations (March 2016)
    • #5 Adopt University-wide policy on ICT accessibility
    • #16 Needs Analysis for American Sign Language & Communication Access Real-time Translation services
  • Federal legislation and DOJ/OCR Settlement Agreements

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of Rehabilitation Act


So why an ICT accessibility policy?

It's part of our vision to be an inclusive institution. It's part of our mission to be an inclusive institution. To do that means that we needs to make sure that our materials are accessible.

Student success demands that materials are accessible; that student enrollment, alumni, giving - that all that information is accessible. It's our vision, it's our mission.

The chancellor's Workgroup on Diversity and Inclusion said in Recommendation #5, the University will adopt this policy and to do that we need you and your comments and your suggestions and your feedback in terms of how to make the policy actionable. We will be one of the first premiere prestigious institutions to adopt a policy that's not a state school. This puts SU on the map for being a leader in being inclusive with our content.

Then of course there is the federal law. Office of Disability Services takes care of ADA accommodations today but they can't do it all. There are over 5,000 classes taught every year. There's no way they can make each of those fully accessible. So it's going to take us collectively working together to do that. Since it is the federal law, it's something we need to do, we get federal grants for research, students get federal aid; it is part of our life, we have to accept that.


  • Brian McLane Fund from George Hicker’s gift supports improving accessibility of web-based technology
  • Task Force formed in July 2014 with representatives from:
    • Information Technology Services
    • Equal Opportunity, Inclusion and Resolution Services (representing HR)
    • Office of Disability Services
    • The Libraries
    • Marketing and Communication
  • Technology Leadership Council Subcommittee formed to identify and recommend technical standards for IT accessibility


The history.

First we need to give a shout out to both Brian McLane and to George Hicker. In 2014 the Brian McLane fund was endowed with money from George Hicker and those monies were instrumental in leading us forward and enabled us to start the task group, enabled us to hire Sharon Trerise who has been instrumental in moving us forward in terms of making our content more accessible, looking at pieces and parts.

So without that we wouldn't have really kicked off, but it allowed us to move forward in this direction. The task force is composed of the service units I mentioned earlier. The charter of that task force was to improve web accessibility, but we took it the next step forward and said, okay, it would be easier if we had a policy sustaining that and supporting that. So we began to work on that as well.

We also asked the technology leadership committee to look at the standards and guidelines to be sure that we were doing something that was actionable and livable.

History and Status

  • Chancellor approved the Workgroup on Diversity and Inclusion’s short-term recommendation to adopt an ICT Accessibility Policy.
  • ICT Accessibility Policy in draft to be finalized by 4/1/17
    • Accessibility Guidelines and Standards selected:
      • Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 AA, and
      • Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 Standards (Electronics and Information Technology)
  • Multi-year project to execute changes
  • Includes a procurement review process


History and status.

The Chancellor's Workgroup on Diversity and Inclusion said thou will go forward and do this, and we said yes, let's go forward and do this. That's why we are here today and will be here for another three forums. We have the standards defined by the TLC subcommittee, there are two parts to that. One is the web content accessibility guideline, that is a guideline that is an international guideline. Syracuse University is international, we have eight abroad centers, so we're living to that guideline. And then Section 508 is actually the standard from the federal government that we adhere to. So it's really the combination of those that we adhere to. We know this will be a multi‑year effort. We will not get this done overnight. We don't expect every bit of content, every bit across the campus that we have to be transformed overnight. We know this is going to take time. But we also know we must get started. And we have already in many ways, but we know that the community needs to be part of this process. This timeline will become clearer over the months as we get questions and comments from you, the community.

When we get comments from the community, then we will actually try to map out a little bit more of a clear timeline move it forward. In some cases it will be months, and in other cases it will be ten years; it depends. Replacing MySlice isn't going to happen in a month, there are some things we can't do, but other technology accessibility issues can be addressed right away, so we want to do that. But we want you to know that we're here to help and support you through that transition and that this is the step that we need to take moving forward.

In addition to the planning, we also have set up a procurement review process. We haven't worked all the kinks worked out of it, but we have a form that you can take a look at and comment on.

ICT Accessibility Policy (Key Elements)

  • General Policy Statement: “…ensure that all people can effectively access University content on information and communication technologies.”

  • Accessible Definition: A person with a disability is afforded the opportunity to acquire the same information, engage in the same interactions, and enjoy the same services as a person without a disability in an equally effective and equally integrated manner, with substantially equivalent ease of use.


What are the key elements of this policy? You know what ICT is today, we know what the drivers are. Now what is the policy? What really does this mean?

This policy says we want to ensure that all people can effectively access University content on information and communication technologies (ICT).

Pretty straightforward. Not simple to achieve. Reasonably easy to say. Something that we're going to work towards as part of our identity.

The definition of accessible basically says people will be able to engage with ICT effectively and efficiently, no matter who they are, no matter where they are. In IT we often think of being able to access anything any time, anywhere from any device. Well, not only do we want to be able to access content on all your devices, but also engage with it and understand it. That it's not enough that you can just get it, we want to you actually get it in a way that makes it easy for you to understand the intent of that and to work with it. That's what this policy says. That's what it says we are going to do, that Syracuse University is going to do on behalf of our community. And on behalf of our potential students, parents, veterans, regardless of who you are, where you are, on behalf of me, whose eyes have been going over the last number of years, on behalf of all of us in every part of our life.

How it will impact you

Do you use, create, or purchase ICT?

  • Course content: online documents, video and library reserves
  • University web sites and associated documents
  • Public-facing non-academic video and audio resources
  • Auxiliary aids and interpreting services for University events
  • Library multi-media resources
  • Information and communication technologies (i.e. software)
  • Use a framework of support


How will this policy impact you?

Everybody here uses ICT, purchases ICT, right? It's part of your life. An example of ICT that is not accessible would be if you're creating course content or using course content on a platform that doesn't have tab focus. Tab focus means you be tab through the website and it will highlight where you are so you can see where you are on the site just by tabbing through it. Do we have incidents on this campus where that would have made it much easier for a student to navigate materials if the platform was accessible?

So not only does it help students, but it will help all of us navigate through the websites that we see. Anybody know what it looks like when something is tab focused? Do you read the news online? When you read the news online, do you look and scan through all the articles and use your mouse to drive to that? Often. What if you can't? What if you can't use a mouse? What if it's hard to know where you are on the webpage? Tab focus says I'm going to use a tab key, because I can do that, and I'm going to go from link to link to link and I can see that content.

That's one of the things we will do on our websites, we will make sure there is a visible tab focus so it is possible to move through and interact with that content without having to use a mouse.

It may not be an issue for you today, but how many of you have broken an arm, or have there been times that your life has changed where being able to navigate a website without a mouse would be something that would have made your life easier.

One of our student employees created a great video on tab focus. And he compared the New York Times to the Wall Street Journal. And when you look at them you will never be able to navigate the Wall Street Journal using just the keyboard. New York Times you can. And then to take it another step forward, how many times when you create a website do you see a click here link? If you're using a screen reader, and for those who don't know what that is, a screen reader is an application that reads what's on the screen, some of the screen readers will give the screen reader user a list of all the links on the page. And when you list links on some webpages you may see that there are five links that say click here. Where is a “click here” link going to take you? So make those links say something. It's not a lot of work to put a word that says ICT accessibility policy link or something descriptive of where the link goes. Make it represent content you are trying to get somebody to navigate to. That will make their life easier, it will make it easier for the entire campus.

Thinking of other examples…when you purchase a book for a class, when you purchase a video for a class, how do you purchase them? How do you make those accessible? Another example…sending emails, electronic communications. If you have an attachment and the attachment isn't accessible, and maybe it can't be for some various reasons because it's very visual, having the information embedded into the email is a simple way of ensuring that everyone will understand your message. So it doesn't cost extra money to just sort of reiterate the information in the body of the email as well. But in everything that you send electronically, which is just about everything we do here, keep accessibility in mind.

It's much easier to do right the first time than to remediate the second time or answer all the questions about it. So really what we're saying is in our communications that we have across the campus, let's make sure we look at them from an accessibility standpoint before we hit send, let's be sure they're designed in a way that people can interpret and understand no matter who they are, no matter where they are.

Athletic videos, other videos. How many time have you been on a bus or traveling and everybody's in the car and you need to read something for a class and there's a video on it and so you really can't play the video because everybody is in the car, but you can read the captions if the video is captioned. How hard is this for you to do this in your day to day lives, to take this next step and caption a video or make your emails accessible to everyone? What resources do you need? What would make this easier for you to do?

one of the advantages I think we have today is that technology it's evolving. And that's going to help. For example, YouTube didn't caption originally. Now they do. Now it's not perfect. But nonetheless, they're doing parts of it, and you can tweak it to improve the accuracy of the captions. So applications like Ally, which helps convert documents to alternate accessible formats, are coming. And we will continue to monitor and engage those new products and procure them when we can.

Web templates are available today through the office of Marketing and Communications. Those weren't available a few years ago. So now we can inherently start with a platform or with a template or with a tool that helps us create accessible content and that's why I say that it will be a multi‑year effort and some of the work we do today is really educational so you know how to look and ask for those tools that can assist us and be able to take advantage of them.

All of these things are important because this, to me, is where the rubber meets the road. This is where your life is going to change. It's dealing with these kinds of issues is... And asking for resources to do this. If this is the time that you're concerned that you don't have it, this is the time to begin to bring those concerns up.


Captioning Decision Tree – text version.

Is the video for academic use?

If the video is for use in a course

Has an accommodation been requested?

If Yes, an accommodation has been requested, then captioning will be done through the Office of Disability Services

If No, an accommodation has not been requested, then will the video be used multiple semesters?

If Yes, the video will be used for multiple semesters, then caption the video

If No, the video will not be used multiple semesters, then captioning is not required.

If the video is not for use in a course

Who is the intended audience?

If the video is intended to be posted on an Syracuse University web page or made available to the public, then caption the video

If the video is intended to be archived and not available to the general public, then caption the video upon request for captions


ASL / CART Decision Tree - text description

If ASL or CART services are for classroom use and an accommodation is requested, always provide ASL or CART as requested.

If ASL or CART services are for an event and the event announcement does not include instructions for requesting accommodations and more than 100 participants are expected, always provide CART and ASL.

If the event will be attended by less than 100 participants, ASL and CART are recommended, but not required.

If the event announcement includes instructions for requesting accommodations, provide the ASL &/or CART accommodations as requested.

ICT Currently In-place

  • Web Templates to enhance accessibility of new web content are available
  • Technology Accessibility Workshops (over 400 staff and faculty have attended since inception)
  • Ongoing installation of accessible classroom technologies
  • Read&Write literacy software university-wide license
  • ICT Accessibility Toolkit - online resources for content authors
  • Accessibility reviews during the technology procurement process
  • Identification of Interpreting Services vendors
  • Assistive technologies available at Bird and Law Libraries
  • Alternate Format Service for Libraries’ materials


It's going to impact us in a variety of ways. We know that. And we've been working over the last couple years on creating materials, services. We've have the web templates that have been created and are available today. We have the accessibility workshops, we've had over 400 people attend and more are welcome to attend. And new workshops are being built on a regular basis.

We've been installing technology in the classrooms, whether it be teaching stations or listening devices, as the rooms are upgraded.

We’ve been installing CART screens in our larger venues and our registrar locations so that it's easier to have CART services for a class or event. You need to get the CART transcriptionist, but you're not so worried about having to roll technology into the room. As we renovate our larger rooms, we will install those.

We procured Read & Write Gold software to help, not just those that are blind or deaf, but there are folks with cognitive disabilities or learnings disabilities. It can be used to navigate materials whether you're reading or writing them and researching them and it's used across the campus. Anyone that's affiliated with the University and that has a password can download and use this software.

We have an ICT Accessibility Toolkit on answers ( It has a lot of information about how to create accessible documents, web content, captioning videos, and more. We will continue to enhance and make that toolkit better.

We do reviews of software (new purchases and renewals) and work with various folks across the campus to be sure that it is accessible.

We have part of the team has done a great job this identifying interpreting service vendors and a list of them is on answers (, information about the cost and their services and what the model looks like. We're trying to be sure that there's information to help you navigate that world.

And then of course the Bird Library has been making tremendous headway with assistive technology available at the Bird and Law libraries, as well as alternative format for library materials.

ICT Moving Forward

  • Complete the needs analysis for American Sign Language & Communication Access Real-time Translation services
  • Complete the Evaluating ICT Accessibility – Suggested Questions for Vendors
  • Refine procurement process and form
  • Procure software that will help make course content accessible
    • Must check for accessibility issues
    • Must generate alternative accessible formats


We aren’t stopping with only what we have in place, we continue to move forward. We’re asking people to complete the needs analysis assessment for American Sign Language and communication access, real time translation services. We need to know from you what you need in terms of resources or how many events you have. We need the community to help us. We have information from the last few years that we've gone through, but this is before there was any sense of central funding. Also, we think people probably only did what they absolutely had to do. Using the 100 or more participants at an event as a guideline, how many do you have on a regular basis? We’re trying to get a sense of what would it really cost to support the campus from an event perspective. The only way we can garner that information - because up to now it's been so distributed in terms of how people work with interpreters, that we really don't have a clear sense of it – is to have people fill out the survey.

We have the start of a list of suggested questions for vendors to help you asses the level of accessibility before purchasing something. You can go through the list with them to find out  ‑‑ do you do this, this, and this - and if they don’t, what is their timeline to compliance, when will they actually get to that spot, how they’re going to make that happen, etc..

We have a procurement process form. This is to sort of envelope the process of purchasing something, how big is your audience, who is going to use it, when are they going to use it and is there an alternative - to really prompt you through the process of asking should I be buying this software or is there another alternative I should have. And if I shouldn't be buying this software, because it's not fully accessible and they don't plan to be, then what are the mitigation steps I'm going take for the community that has to use this technology. It really walks you through some of that process. We're hoping to roll that out at the time that the policy is put in place.

We are aggressively looking at software that will make it easier for course content to be transformed into an accessible format, multiple media or multi‑suitable formats.

These are some of the things we have on the plate. We're not going to stop what we're doing today, we're trying to continue where we have resources to do that. If there are other things that you think would be helpful, by all means, let us know. We know this is going to be an iterative process and we will continue to evolve over time.

Additional resources


There are a variety of resources across campus that you may or may not know about. Accessible Syracuse ( is really the dominant one stop shopping for all things accessible on campus.

Learning Environments and Media Production ( – will help provide and set up accessible event accommodations, such as CART +/or assisted listening devices.

Office of Disability Services (, - they work with students and faculty to make sure students get accommodations and they have a wealth of information on their website.

Online Learning Services ( helps faculty across campus with learning technologies, including Blackboard. They can help with consulting on navigating materials or using materials and making sure it's accessible.

And then of course Technology Accessibility ( which along with Online Learning Services and Learning Environments and Media Production is a part of ITS, are dedicated to making sure that ICT is as accessible as possible.

Next Steps to Finalizing the Policy

  • Continue Open Forums
    • February 2 at 3:30 to 4:45 pm in 500 Hall of Languages
    • February 22 at 3:00 to 4:15 pm Peter Graham Scholarly Commons 114 Bird
    • February 28 at 9:00 to 10:15 am Peter Graham Scholarly Commons 114 Bird
  • Report back to campus after open forum presentations and comment period
  • Finalize policy by target date 4/1/17
  • Present to leadership by date to be determined


Next step, finalizing policy. There are three more open forums, please tell others and help spread the word. We’re hoping to have these be listening sessions, interactive, and a part of the culture change at the University.

We feel this is a step in doing that.

After the sessions are done there will be an open comment period. The materials, the draft policy, and the survey are all available online ( Feel free to make comments on the policy, make comments on resources, talk about your needs from an event perspective.

Once we gather those materials we will report back to the campus. Update the policy, hopefully one last time. Finalize it by April 1st. And get it back to the policy leadership to make its way through a final approval.

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Accessibility Policy

Comments and Suggestions:


> ICT Accessibility Policy (Draft)

> Comment Survey




So comments, suggestions. If you go to itsaccessibility, it will have the draft policy in a word document format, feel free to download it, make your comments on it if you would like to. And then mail it to us at

Or you can use the online survey to provide comments. A link to the survey is available on the ICT Accessibility Policy (Draft) web page: Don't be a stranger. We want to know what you think. We want to know what you feel. We want to know what your concerns are. And we want to move forward with Syracuse University's ICT accessibilty policy.

ICTAP-Overview-for-Open-Forums-and-Listening-Sessions with transcript.pptx - Google Slides