Monday Update: eAccessibility and other notes

May 17, 2021

Around the world people will be talking, thinking, and learning about digital access and inclusion to celebrate Global Accessibility Awareness Day on May 20. A one-day celebration can introduce the concept, but it takes hard work and dedication to get results. ISU Extension and Outreach is committed to increasing digital accessibility every day. Since beginning our eAccessibility Initiative three years ago, 350 extension professionals have been trained on document accessibility. Our eAccessibility Initiative team also has remediated or revised more than 6,000 pages of client-facing extension material. However, the team not only is transforming digital accessibility within ISU Extension and Outreach, but also is conducting more and more outreach beyond our organization. Did you know?

  • The team has formed partnerships with organizations nationwide and has presented and shared digital accessibility information several times over the last three years.
  • The team has formed a Digital Accessibility Advisory Council comprised of various public and private entities in Iowa that work on accessibility or disability issues. This council works together to peer review, collaborate, and enhance delivery of information and educational materials to Iowans.
  • Our eAccessibility staff, Easterseals Iowa staff, and University of Iowa Center for Disabilities and Development staff are working together to establish a partnership that addresses digital accessibility outreach across the state as it pertains to the federal Tech Act

In addition, a new digital accessibility policy is being drafted for all of Iowa State University. A committee within ISU Extension and Outreach has reviewed the draft policy and outlined the resources we will need so that we are ready to comply with the policy if it becomes official.

Throughout ISU Extension and Outreach, we continue working to improve the accessibility of our videos and webpages, as well as web conferences, livestreaming events, and online courses. Because when we design for all, we increase our chances of justice for all.

Two-Way Scorecard reports will be available for quarter 3

Later this week county council members and staff will receive their county Two-Way Scorecard Communication Tool reports for Quarter 3 (January-March), and the statewide report will be available to everyone on the County Services website. As we head into a busy summer season of programming, events, field days, and county fairs, we’re adjusting our survey schedule. Rather than a fourth quarter survey in July, the next Two-Way Scorecard Communication Tool survey will cover spring and summer (April-August) 2021 and be available in September.

From the virtual suggestion box

A recent comment in the virtual suggestion box was related to our COVID-19 vaccine education initiative. The commenter appreciated that we are providing research-based education so Iowans can make their own informed decisions regarding vaccination. However, the individual suggested that we all might need a reminder that anyone’s personal decision about vaccination is a private health decision, and I am glad to share this message. No one needs to explain their vaccination status or defend their decision. Please do not ask your colleagues, volunteers, participants, or anyone else about their vaccination status, just as you would not ask them about other private health matters.

More notes

John D. Lawrence
Vice President for Extension and Outreach