We love having the opportunity to work with so many different individuals and groups across campus. Hear what some people have to say about the workshops they’ve attended and one-on-one support they’ve received from the Access Team.

Brandy McDaniel: A woman with a short blonde hairstyle, wearing a floral blouse smiles warmly for the camera.

Brandy McDaniel
Administrative Assistant,
Faculty Senate

Accessible Documents and PDFs

My responsibilities include circulating Faculty Senate proposals to the faculty and maintaining the website archives. Many of the documents I handle are PDFs and it’s important that everyone be able to read and evaluate them. I attended the Designing Accessible PDFs workshop and it was very valuable. I learned about some very simple tools that can address the majority of accessibility issues. The Access Team also spent some time on more complicated issues, like tables, and worked with me on my specific needs. I now consider the Access Team a regular resource and often reach out for quick troubleshooting. I do not understand everything about accessibility, but I do understand why it’s important and I now know that I can always count on their office to help me find solutions too.

Meghan Davenport: A woman with long brown hair, wearing dark-rimmed glasses smiles warmly for the camera.

Meghan Davenport
Graduate Student,
Psychological Sciences

Accessible Documents and PDFs

I learned a lot from the Access Team about accessibility when it comes to documents and PDFs. The workshop was practical and learning-oriented, and I left with actionable steps to take with my own document creation. The Access Team created a space where it was OK not to have been doing these things perfectly, as long as you were committed to trying to get better. This work is critical and there is much more that we could be doing to push it forward, and I was even more convinced of that by the end of the workshop. They push you to think not just about how to make adjustments in response to documented accessibility needs of students you serve, but how to rethink your materials so that they incorporate principles of universal design, and are more accessible for all learners.

Liz Brigman: A woman with shoulder-length brown hair wearing glasses smiles warmly for the camera.

Liz Brigman
Senior Technical Writer/Editor,
OIT Communications

Accessibility Workshops

I have attended several accessibility workshops including an Overview of Disabilities, Accessible Docs and PDFs, and Accessible Email Marketing and found them extremely valuable to understanding how to remove barriers that might be limiting individuals' access to digital information. Tackling this topic on your own can be overwhelming but the Access Team distills the information down to some critical points that make an enormous difference in improving accessibility. Their tips and best practices are helpful and practical and they are always open to questions and discussions. In our recent review of the OIT KnowledgeBase documents to ensure accessibility, my student employees and I struggled with writing alternative text that was useful and not repetitive, they coached us in a Zoom session until we felt more comfortable. Accessibility should not be an afterthought but built in your plans from the start of a document or project.

Armi Cahoy
Executive Assistant,
Office of the Registrar

Accessible PDF Forms, One-on-One

This summer, I took on the task of updating our current OTR forms to improve accessibility. It has been a daunting project, especially for someone with limited knowledge in creating accessible PDFs. I reached out to IT for assistance and was directed to the Access Team. Since then, they have been a reliable, hands-on source of support. They have helped me to remediate the forms I have created. They identified the accessibility issues on the forms and offered valuable feedback on labeling text fields, repairing tags, and ensuring a proper tab and read order among others. I have learned so much in all my interactions with the Access Team and feel grateful for sharing their expertise.

McKenzie Martin: A woman with long ombre hair wearing a pink knit sweater smiles warmly for the camera.

McKenzie Martin
Digital Content Specialist,
Development & Alumni Relations

Accessible Email Marketing

I was able to attend an accessibility workshop hosted by Rice Accessibility in Fall 2019. In my current role at Rice, I send upwards of 30 emails a month, so digital accessibility is very important for my position. The Access Team was engaging throughout the whole hour workshop and very thorough in their responses to questions. From this workshop, I learned valuable information on how to improve our current accessibility standards for our email sends and websites (above just alt text). I was so impressed by the workshop that I asked them to create a special one for my team. We held this workshop in January 2020 and it was a huge success. From this workshop, we have started implementing less PDF attachments, larger text, and header text on our websites (to name a few). After this workshop, my role has also shifted to focus more on accessibility testing, especially for our new websites in Drupal 8. Thank you, Rice Accessibility, for continuing to engage with campus partners about the small steps we can take to make digital content more accessible!

Dimitra Varvarezou

Dimitra Varvarezou
PhD in Anthropology,
Disability Studies, Indigenous scholarship, Medical Anthropology

Canvas Accessibility

The first project that I worked on with the Access Team involved ensuring that my course setup, learning materials and documents are accessible to all students. While I have worked with various learning platforms, I am a new addition to Rice. I have been impressed by the Access Team’s commitment to promoting diversity: they have provided helpful comments on how to structure my course in a way that is engaging to all students. We meticulously reviewed my syllabi for any concerns in terms of accessibility and he patiently addressed all my questions.
The second project that they contributed to and continue to assist with is educating my TAs and me with regards to designing lectures that are accessible to all students. We learned how to design PowerPoints for our lectures, common pitfalls and how to avoid them while we teach.

Dimitra Varvarezou

Lindsay Graham
PhD Candidate, English
Diverse Career Fellow, CSWGS

CSWGS Feminist Approaches to Inclusive, Remote Pedagogy

The Access Team generously delivered a presentation, “Digital Accessibility + Inclusive Presentations,” for our workshop, “Feminist Approaches to Inclusive, Remote Pedagogy,” hosted by The Center for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality (CSWGS). They then also shared numerous additional resources for our attendees to consider as we prepared our syllabi , our course materials, and ourselves for remote teaching in Fall 2020. Our attendees remarked with praise and gratitude on the depth and engagement of their presentation, as they both described specific ways we could make a virtual environment inclusive for all of our students and demonstrated how such features would look and feel. Through their visual and oral demonstration, The Access Team was able to enrich our understanding of what digital accessibility truly means and how we could apply such principles in our classrooms. The way in which they framed their discussion of accessibility was illuminating and empowering, their examples, concrete and actionable. Theirs was one of the most informative and transformative short presentations I have attended, and my teaching and presentation style have been meaningfully and permanently impacted.