by Alice Chapman, Dr Teeroumanee Nadan, Annual Conference 2023 Committee Members & Accessibility Sub-Committee Members
Accessibility, under the banner of “Diversity & Inclusion” has been a key focus for the ALTc23 conference committee, leading to the creation of an accessibility sub-committee. In the sub-committee, we are fortunate to have a range of members who bring their specialisms into conversations and provide guidance on digital accessibility, inclusive practices for delivering sessions, and digital well-being. As an example of our work, check out the accessibility sub-committee’s June blog post!
It has also been exciting to hear members talk about how we can be more inclusive through a range of different social activities, the inclusion of a quiet space, and guidance for speakers on digital accessibility – check out the full breadth of the accessibility features we have been endeavouring for ALTc23.
For this blog post, we want to give you the opportunity to learn more about the different aspects of accessibility we are weaving into this year’s conference experience, and for you to meet the accessibility sub-committee members. We welcome further conversations during the conference about ways we all work to make our workplaces more accessible for staff and students.
The committee has ensured that focus is on the physical aspects of the conference (site and presentation accessibility), on the online hybrid experience as sessions are streamed, and also on aspects of physical and mental health well-being., We offer the following work we have been able to produce for your consideration.
- Physical spaces
- Accessibility in your slides/recording and during your presentation
- Your digital wellbeing
Accessibility in Physical Spaces for #ALTc23
The ALT team staff are in regular touch with the University of Warwick to ensure that the ALTc23 venue is physically as accessible as possible. The plus point for us is that the event will be held in a new building which is fully accessible. In addition to the accessibility of the venue, we will also ensure there is a quiet space for attendees, and we have been informed that there are plenty of green areas for any guide dogs. Yes, we look after you in your entirety!
Check out the accessibility features of the venue.
Accessibility in your slides/recording and during your presentation
All presenters this year will have received resources to help them put together their presentations and the guidance has been created using Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, and Universal Design for Learning principles.
Specific guidance for presenters in both online and physical spaces has been created to ensure that inclusivity is being embedded into the design, visit the presenters’ guidance folder to access the following materials.
And why not read our previous blog on reflections on accessibility by design blog.
The video also includes guidance for pre-recorded sessions, remember, subtitles and captions can make a whole difference to both the in-person and online audience!
Hopefully, by now, all presenters have received those guidelines from ALT, and we count on your support in making ALTc23 as inclusive to as many people as possible. If you are a presenter this year and have not yet received the “ALTC23 – preparing and submitting your presentation” sent out earlier this week or have any questions, please get in touch with ALT firstname.lastname@example.org
ALTc23 is offering many opportunities for online sessions, and online attendees and of course, we have thought of well-being for both in-person and online attendees.
While your coffee is a booster to keep focused with all the ALTc23 buzz, remember to drink plenty of water for some cool eyesight. During the online sessions, why not get the help of some simple and free tools to remind us to take a break, here are some smart tools for you to try: EyeLeo (Windows), Safe Eyes,(Linux), and Time Out (Mac users).
Teeroumanee shares her top tip for digital well-being “EyeLeo has become one of my favourite tools, Leo likes to remind me to stretch and seems more vested than me in my well-being.”
We have plenty of interesting topics to discuss during ALTc23, and of course, plenty of breaks too, you can breakdance too during that time – if that is your thing. We encourage participants to get out into the physical space for a walk in a nearby park, and if you are in person to check out the University of Warwick campus water bodies and nearby Tocil Wood Nature Reserve and Gibbet Hill Wood. Coventry has several parks with dedicated trails.
Here are some more tips to carry with you post this conference:
- Sustainable lifestyle and wellness in higher education blog and Wakelet which has a wealth of information
- Professional self-care for 2023
- My little “astuce” to professional happiness
Committee members – why we are doing what we are doing
Dr Teeroumanee Nadan: “I joined the committee as I have pledged my commitment towards accessibility, both in the physical and digital spaces, and see this as an opportunity to implement and learn as well. From my experiences of organising events in a number of countries and flying in disabled attendees, I have learned that often key support may go missing. I have therefore joined heads and hands with this dedicated ALTc 2023 Accessibility Sub-committee to make a difference. During our 2nd e-meeting I highlighted how I had found quiet spaces useful during a recent family bereavement – small steps can make a huge difference – check out the ALTc23 blog on the Diversity & Inclusion conference theme”
Alice Chapman: “I joined the sub-committee for this year’s ALTc to bring my lived experience into conversations around accessibility and inclusion. It’s been brilliant to be having these conversations at a high level with organisers and by working with others, we hope to make sure that the conference allows for a feeling of belonging in both online and physical spaces. I’m excited to see delegates in September and hope to continue building on areas of EDI as we head into ALT’s 31st year!”
Andrew Grice “Accessibility is at the heart of my pedagogic work, so it was only natural to join the sub-committee to help ALTC23. As the conference draws nearer, I am looking forward to observing the real-life impact of the committee’s work, and building lessons learnt into my future work.”
Ilene Alexander: “The PhD school colleague who offered me a professional off-the-books (I had no insurance) learning disabilities diagnostic assessment is the reason I have done the work of teaching for access and inclusion for 30 years: I want others who do teaching/learning related work to understand neurodiversity as a daily – ordinary and valuable, challenging and complex – factor in the work we do, and to embed digital, cognitive, affective, and psychomotor accessibility in all we do to create digital, hybrid, field, and in-person learning spaces.”
Rosemarie McIlwhan: “I joined the sub-committee to help make ALTC23 as accessible as possible to as many people as possible. With one of the conference themes being diversity and inclusion, it’s essential that we as organisers do what we can to promote this. The sub-committee conversations have been helpful in sharing practice and developing creative ideas around equity, diversity and inclusion.”
We all look forward to meeting you in September!