Global Accessibility Awareness Day
It is Saint Joseph's University's mission to be an "inclusive and diverse community that educates and cares for the whole person." An important part of the mission is to make sure that all instructional materials and online courses are accessible to individuals with disabilities at the same time that they are available to any other student enrolled in that program.
While Saint Joseph’s takes pride in being at the forefront of utilizing innovative technologies to enhance and promote learning, the burden of ensuring that these tools are available and useable by all students across campus is every growing. These technologies are widely integrated into the educational process both in class and beyond, where they are also used for individual and collaborative research projects. Faculty are encouraged to utilize the academic technology to further promote growth in and outside of the classroom. Students are challenged to interact with the tools to build the skills and expertise they can utilize after graduation.
Professors of the University may think, “I don’t have any students with disabilities in my course.” Let’s look at the numbers. Here at Saint Joseph's we have 382 students that have identified with the Office of Student Disability Services (data from 2015-2016 report by the Office of Student Disability Services). These are only those students who self-identified; many choose not to self-identify. These students are members of all 4 schools- Haub School of Business, Colllege of Arts and Sciences, Haub Degree Completion, and the School of Professional and Liberal Studies. Identified disabilities range from a learning disability to aspergers.
Image Description: Graphic for Global Accessibility Awareness Day. This infographic displays the number of students with an identified disability @ SJU for year 2015/2016. 382 total students identified. 342 undergraduate (CAS 186, HSB 156), 29 Graduate (CAS 21, HSB 8) and 11 HDC/PLS (CAS 3, HSB 8). 86 Seniors, 71 Juniors, 77 Sophomores, 108 Freshman. Types of identified disabilities: LD 107, ADHD 103, Anxiety 28, ADD 22, Autism/Aspergers 15, Concussion 14, Physical 13, Hearing 12, Dyslexia 9. Auditory 8, Visual 7, Migraine 5, CF 4, Seizure 3, Temporary 2.
Accessibility Awareness Stories
To show how many of our faculty have embraced the increasing technology and the need to meet each student where he/ she is, we have reached out to both faculty and student to gain their personal experience with using digital technology in the classroom. Please take some time to review the videos. After reviewing ask yourself, what methods am I using in the classroom to ensure all of my students are getting the same experience? How can I approach assignments or my teaching a bit differently to ensure that I'm using the academic technology in a way that meets all of my student's needs?
Stephanie Tryce, J.D.
Assistant Professor, Sports Marketing
Rajneesh Sharma, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Financial Services M.S.
Eli Stamour, Junior at Saint Joseph’s University
Brendan Sammon, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Theology and Religious Studies
Watch the full version of each interview here.
"The target audience of GAAD is the design, development, usability, and related communities who build, shape, fund and influence technology and its use." While people may be interested in the topic of making technology accessible and usable by persons with disabilities, the reality is that they often do not know how or where to start. Awareness comes first.