St. Edward's University and The University of Texas at Austin Issue Accessibility Challenge to Texas Colleges and Universities
Whether looking for the latest news, chatting with friends, researching or even attending class, surfing the web has become a way of life. So imagine logging onto your favorite web site and not being able to see the content, hear the audio or use text boxes. Because most web sites are not designed to work with accessibility tools, this is the sad reality facing many people with disabilities. St. Edward's University and the University of Texas at Austin are working with the nonprofit group Knowbility to help change that reality. The two schools, which will jointly host the annual Accessibility Internet Rally for Universities (AIR-U) in October, have issued a challenge to other colleges and universities to get involved. AIR-U brings campus webmasters together to create interactive web sites that are fully accessible to Internet users with disabilities, and awards prizes to the sites that best meet the challenge.
To make the challenge easier this year, interested participants are invited to attend a two-day training conference on Wednesday, May 28, and Thursday, May 29, at the
St. Edward's University Professional Education Center (PEC). The training conference, which is free for teams who are also signed up for the AIR-U challenge, features classes in basic accessible web design, as well as advanced classes in the accessible use of multimedia and coding techniques. Representatives from IBM, Macromedia, Adobe and WGBH will hold workshops to teach developers how to use the accessibility features of their products. Teams have until mid-October to create accessible designs for their own web sites, which will be judged based on accessibility features. Winners will be announced during an awards ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 23. Registration information is available at www.knowbility.org/air-university.
Knowbility is a national non-profit organization whose mission is to support the independence of children, youth and adults with disabilities through barrier-free technology application. For more information visit www.knowbility.org.
The University of Texas at Austin, the largest component of The University of Texas System, is a major research university and home to more than 48,000 students, 2,700 faculty and 17,000 staff members. After 3 years of emphasis on accessibility, including AIR participation, a study released in March 2003 found that UT's overall web site accessibility far exceeded that of any other University in the nation.
Founded by the Congregation of Holy Cross, St. Edward's University is a private Catholic, liberal arts university of more than 4,250 students in Austin, Texas.