The Web Accessibility Learning Lab
The Web Accessibility (WA) Learning Lab is a ten week intensive training program designed to teach participants about the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and Principles, legal requirements for web accessibility in higher education, and key considerations for IT procurement processes. The State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) and the Committee on Accessible Technology Oversight (CATO) facilitate the program and our partner, WebAIM, will provide technical training.
All training sessions will be held virtually using Zoom.
The WA Learning Lab is FREE to participants. and was inspired by the previous Access 360 programming offered by SBCTC.
The application period for the 2023 cohort is now closed. Please contact us with questions.
Below is the program schedule for The WA Learning Lab. Dates and times are subject to change.
- Tuesday, January 17, 2023: Application Deadline
- Friday, January 27, 2023: Notification of Acceptance
- Thursday February 9, 2023, 10:00 a.m - 12:30 p.m. Program Kick-Off and Orientation
- Thursday February 16, 2023, 10:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Disability and Accessibility 101
- Thursday February 23, 2023, 10:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. The Legal Landscape in Higher Education with the National Digital Access Team from U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights
- Thursday March 2, 2023, 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. The Foundations of Web Accessibility with WebAIM
- Teams meet with assigned Mentor #1: Meetings will be scheduled between the dates of February 23 and March 9, 2023. Exact times TBD.
- Thursday, March 9, 2023, 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. IT Procurement and Accessibility in Higher Ed with WebAIM
- Thursday March 16, 2023, 10:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Accessible IT Procurement at Whatcom Community College with Ward Naf, IT Director
- Thursday March 23, 2023, 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. How to Read a VPAT with Terrill Thompson, University of Washington
- Teams meet with assigned Mentor #2: Meetings will be scheduled between the dates of March 30 and April 13, 2023. Exact times TBD.
- Thursday March 30, 2023, 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Assistive Technology Deep Dive with Zach Lattin, Clark College and Doug Hayman, Olympic College
- Thursday April 6, 2023, 10:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Working Session for Action Plans
- Thursday April 13, 2023: Action Plan Due Date. Session time TBD.
- Thursday April 20, 2023, 10:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Closing Session
Selection Criteria for Teams
This is a competitive application process and Teams must meet the following minimum criteria to be considered.
Team has obtained executive level approval for participation in The WA Learning Lab. Involvement from executive leadership is vital to supporting and sustaining accessibility work at any institution. Including an executive level position on your Team would be most ideal. If that is not possible however, the application should describe what level of involvement your executive leader can commit to helping your Team implement what it learns from participating in The WA Learning Lab.
Teams are composed of two to six members from cross-functional areas. Your Team should consist of about two to six people. There is little wiggle room here, though teams should not exceed eight people total. The following roles and areas of responsibility are suggested for your Team's make-up.
Policy 188 coordinators/IT accessibility coordinators
IT directors and managers
eLearning directors and managers
Procurement and purchasing directors and managers overseeing IT acquisitions
Public Information and relations officers
Web administrators that oversee content authors
Others that manage vendor relationships and third-party materials
Teams members agree to meet together outside of the scheduled training sessions at least twice. The WA Learning Lab will take place between February and April 2023. Training sessions will be held on Thursdays. Teams will need to meet in order to digest what is being learned and to complete their written Plan of Action.
Answer all application questions thoroughly. If supplemental information is included, these materials need to be formatted for accessibility.
Demonstrate basic knowledge of accessible design principles. Teams must demonstrate evidence of accessibility knowledge and some current efforts that support accessible technology practices. Teams may choose to demonstrate this in a variety of ways. The following examples are not an exhaustive list, but may help give you an idea. Teams may highlight completion of the SBCTC Accessibility Micro Courses or other relevant training courses. Teams may describe instances where members have designed electronic content formatted for accessibility or taught others to do so. Teams could include examples of when they helped bring accessibility to the forefront of an IT purchasing decision or found ways to embed accessibility into institutional policy work.
Demonstrated willingness to confront areas of improvement and engage in difficult conversations. We understand that this work can be complex and how it happens will be unique at each institution and we understand that Teams will not have “perfect” answers to all questions. We are looking for a certain level of thoughtfulness and capacity to address challenges.
The following sections provide more information about The Web Accessibility Learning Lab such as the program's learning outcomes and who should apply.
The WA Learning Lab aims to strengthen our system’s achievements in implementing web accessibility best practices and compliance. By participating in the WA Learning Lab, you have the opportunity to become an emerging leader in web accessibility and make a positive impact across the CTC system. The WA Learning Lab is a joint project between SBCTC and CATO and is inspired by the Access 360 program offered in 2017 and 2018.
Ensuring web accessibility is critical for the full participation of people with disabilities in all programs and services offered by the CTC system such as remote learning or online class registration.
Additionally, Policy 188 from the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) requires that all covered technology at Washington state agencies must be accessible and usable by people with disabilities. Each college must identify an Accessible IT/Policy 188 Coordinator to develop policy and procedures that support accessible technology.
- Define the principles of web accessibility.
- Recognize the foundations of accessible web content (i.e semantic HTML, focus order and logical flow, form field labels, headings and landmarks, Skip Nav, Hyperlinks, Alt Text, Color Contrast.
- Explain how the WCAG technical standards can guide IT policy and purchasing decisions at institutions.
- Identify critical considerations and questions to ask when evaluating a third-party product and vendor for accessibility.
- Explore using WebAIM’s WAVE toolbar and practice basic keyboard testing skills.
- Complete a written Action Plan for teams to implement lessons learned from the WA Learning Lab back at their college or agency.
The WA Learning Lab is open to all 34 Washington State Community and Technical Colleges as well as the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges. A total of five or six teams will be accepted for the 2022-2023 academic year. This is a cohort-based program and applications must be submitted by Teams made up of between two to six people from the following cross-functional areas. One application will be accepted per Team.
- Policy 188 Coordinators/IT Accessibility Coordinators
- IT directors and managers
- eLearning directors and managers
- Procurement and purchasing directors and managers overseeing IT acquisitions
- Public Information and relations officers
- Web administrators that oversee content authors
- Others that manage vendor relationships and third-party materials at a college or SBCTC.
This is a ten-week intensive training program and will take place between February and April 2023. Weekly training sessions will be held on Thursday and these sessions will last approximately two to four hours. Participants can expect to dedicate two to five hours a week through the duration of the program.
Last Modified: 1/19/23, 3:37 PM