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Posted: 5/21/21

TAMIU Focuses on Accessibility with Participation in ‘Fix Your Content Day’

 

Dr. Pat Abrego
Dr. Pat Abrego  

You might say the fix is in at Texas A&M International University (TAMIU).   

On Thursday, TAMIU fixed some 4,084 files as part of  its observation of “Fix Your Content Day,”  a global competition focused on making digital course content more inclusive.   

TAMIU placed 16th among 114 total participants and was the highest ranked of Texas A&M University System campuses. The total fixes around the world numbered 108,546. 

The  worldwide 24-hour challenge is held annually by Blackboard Inc. on Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). It provides an opportunity for TAMIU faculty and staff to demonstrate the University’s mission to improve access and equity for all students. 

“Ensuring the digital classroom and course content meets students’ personal needs is a critical element of our campus-wide commitment to building an inclusive community,” said Dr. Pat Abrego, TAMIU’s director of Instructional Technology, “…And so,  ‘Fix Your Content Day’ served as a unifying  opportunity to highlight the importance of creating accessible learning environments.  While the competition may be over, the work continues.  We truly appreciate the support and partnership of our TAMIU faculty and staff,” Dr. Abrego said. 

Throughout the competition TAMIU faculty and staff   utilized Blackboard Ally, a digital accessibility solution, to assess course files and fix those with accessibility issues.   Enhancing accessibility provides solutions that can ease access for differently abled users.  For example, a “fix” could include adding a description to an image so a screen reader can describe it for the visually impaired. 

Participating TAMIU faculty and staff uploaded fixed files to the Ally Instructor Feedback panel to improve the content’s accessibility score. The focus on digital course content accessibility is part of TAMIU’s broader work to make the campus more inclusive, which took on increased importance after the COVID-19 Pandemic saw much learning transition online. 

“As we transitioned to an online learning environment, we’ve been able to identify those areas that can benefit from accessible alternatives.  As we return to an on-campus environment, exercises like Fix Your Content Day provide a tool for us to ensure that accessible learning at TAMIU remains our gold standard,”  Abrego said. 

Lorissa M. Cortez, TAMIU’s director of Equal Opportunity and Diversity, said participation in the Fix Your Content Day helps underscore the University’s Equal Opportunity and Diversity commitment.

“TAMIU is  committed to ensuring our campus is accessible to all members of all communities. This commitment spans all facets of TAMIU’s campus culture, operations, programs, resources and services.

“We welcome all by providing an environment predicated on advancement and success for all students, faculty, staff and visitors regardless of individual experiences, values, or worldviews that may arise from variances in culture or circumstance and including, but not limited to:  age, abilities/disabilities, ethnicity, gender, geographic context, language, race, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status. 

“This commitment is manifest in all areas, including information technology, and we strive daily to provide a 100% accessible digital environment to include University websites, web applications, and online content. TAMIU’s participation in ‘Fix Your Content Day’  offers a fun and practical way to  embrace that commitment,” Cortez explained.

Blackboard Inc. launched Fix Your Content Day in 2020 on GAAD to spotlight the need for accessible digital content. Fix Your Content Day is a 24-hour global competition committed to creating accessible and more inclusive digital learning content. Higher education institutions around the world engaged their instructors and staff to fix as many digital course files as possible using Blackboard Ally in the 24-hour window.

Last year, TAMIU earned  Silver Club status by completing 1,753 fixes in the competition. More than 400 institutions participated in the 2020 competition, improving 57,252 files during Fix Your Content Day.

To see this year’s Fix Your Content Leaderboard,  visit: https://ally.ac/gaad/?_ga=2.171329700.526818162.1621517851-1997483729.1617718952

For additional information on TAMIU’s Instructional Technology commitment, contact Dr. Abrego at 956.326.2302, email pabrego@tamiu.edu or visit offices in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library, room 259.

For more on the University’s commitment to Equal Opportunity and Diversity, visit its dedicated website at tamiu.edu/diversity, contact Cortez at 956.326.2857, email LorissaM.Cortez@tamiu.edu or come by offices in the Killam Library, room 159.