Education and Outreach Working Group Teleconference 10 Feb 2012


EOWG weekly meeting reviewed recent outreach efforts - the Before and After Demo promotion. Uptake has been good and Shawn thanked Sharron, Wayne, and everyone for working together on the campaign.

Discussion about the next promotion of Making Presentations Accessible to All focused on the need to repair a script bug BEFORE general outreach could get in gear. The group was asked to stand by for an announcement.

Next, the group was asked to submit any additional comments on the draft of Media Accessibility User Requirements as the comment period ends today. (This is not a hard deadline, but substantive comments - if any - should be put forth as soon as possible).

Liam reviewed his and Suzanne's research and scoping activities on the Curriculum and Course Materials. The group was encouraged and impressed with the work and Wayne identified learning objectives that he will send along.

The group followed a tangent to discuss the upcoming Accessibility Forum to be held at CSUN. General discussion ensued.

Shawn reminded everyone to check action items, remembering that there are general action items at the top of the EO page and to update availability for future EO teleconferences.


  1. Promoting BAD - update & thanks
  2. Promoting Make Presentations Accessible - update on script, then promotional activities (wait for announcement)
  3. Review Media Accessibility User Requirements (Call for Review e-mail) - 10 Feb deadline - submit comments from pre-review
  4. Action items - report on closed actions, check in on open actions, note actions for all at top of this page
  5. Curriculum & Course Materials - Check in with Suzette & Liam on status of scoping activity & discuss any issues at this point
  6. Evaluation Methodology doc - check if ideas from last discussion "stick", see wiki on title and acronym (shadi to add from 27 Jan minutes)
  7. Reminder: Update Availability for Upcoming EOWG Teleconferences


Shawn, Andrew, Liam_McGee, Jennifer, Sylvie_Duchateau, Wayne, Shadi, Denis, Sharron
Helle, Emmanuelle, Vicki, Ian, Jason, Suzette


Promoting BAD http://www.w3.org/WAI/EO/wiki/Promoting_BAD

Shawn: Thanks for the blurbs posted by Wayne and Sharron to the wiki. Have gotten tons of tweets, some bits in newsletters, many emails went out to lists, Vicki distributed to UN related lists, Andrew to Australia University lists, Jennifer to personal list. Thanks everyone!

Sharron: Will post today to AccessU instructors about BAD and the Making Presentations Accessible resource.

Shawn: Reminder to all that there are several paragraphs on the wiki that can be repurposed. Do we want to try to do more outreach to teachers? trainers?

Sharron: Wayne was sending to CSU lists.

Shawn: List any places that you have sent or interesting tweets or retweets you have seen.

Jennifer: Good retweets from Netmag people.

Shawn: Anything else?

Jennifer: It's been very well received. Saw very positive comments.

Shawn: With all these things, we focus on certain documents at certain times, but nothing should prevent ongoing outreach as it occurs to you and you have a particular opportunity. As we develop curriculum, I expect BAD to get more attention.

Promoting Make Presentations Accessible http://www.w3.org/WAI/EO/wiki/Promoting_Make_Presentations_Accessible

Shawn: Still having problems with the script. So we will likely not use ARIA on that one. We have had to go back and polish, and are hoping for it to be done by this weekend.
... we have an old version up now that I will replace with new content. Still working on the script.
... script is still buggy so we will not promote generally.

Jennifer: Would be useful to promote for Accessiiblity BarCamps.

Shawn: Anything else on that?

Review Media Accessibility User Requirements Call for review e-mail

Shawn: You may recall that we looked at this at the end of last year. The call went out in January and comments are due today. We will have time for review again later. However, if any of your comments are likely to impact the overall direction of the document, please submit sooner rather than later. The deadline is not hard.
... as a reminder we have done Significant Issue comments previously. Jennifer and Andrew had some observations. I compiled the High Priority ones and reviewed current doc. It would be great if you can review as well and make sure your comments are addressed.
... if there are items to discuss with EO we can, but also you should feel free to submit on your own.
... they have a section on how PWD use web-based media. I want EO to talk about our recommendations for what is in that section.
... on the one hand we don't want excessive repetitive information. But on the other hand, readers may not follow the link to get more info about how PWD use media. So we need to consider if we want more detail on this page to inform readers' understanding.

Andrew: Deadline?

Shawn: This is farther along than I thought, but will have to check on what the schedule is for input and revision.
... I will make sure they have seen this thread.

Jennifer: I think I saw a link to comments - is it to our archives?

Shawn: Yes, follow next in trhead.

Jennifer: You rock, thanks!

Action items http://www.w3.org/WAI/EO/track/actions/open?sort=owner

Jennifer: I closed mine, hoorah!
... linked to the resources on Paciello Group.
... And Liam what a great start, totally interesting to read!

Wayne: I cleared mine as well. I can't find any literature to tie this together.
... it came up in UAAG the other day. The whole CS basis of what we do...scanning, parsing etc.
... the role in web services and the meaning of programatically determined. Meaning that can be determined by scanning and parsing.There is no text that connects that characteristic to the web. And it is really important, in many ways it is the core of programmatically determined.

Shawn: Jason Kiss wrote a nice blog post on programmatically determined.

Jennifer: I'll send you the link Wayne.

Liam: Agreed there is no fundamental text that covers what you need to know in regards to that.

Curriculum & Course Materials http://www.w3.org/WAI/EO/wiki/Curriculum_%26_Course_Materials

Liam: Suzette is looking at how to get at what is already published. Then we will try to link those resources to whether it is suitable for undergraduate studies. There is more than I feared but less than I hoped.

<shawn> [ Shawn agrees that much of the WAI material is targeted to existing web designers, developers, etc. VERSUS students new to the field ]

Liam: undergraduates have less of an opinion about what is required, they just want to know what is the right thing to do, what are the proper techniques for excellence.
... I am looking at what employers would like to see in the newly educated potential employees.
... They are saying that there must be more than just a list of learning outcomes but also a way to demonstrate that those have been mastered.
... The expectations around accessiiblity are exceedingly low.
... In the next week or so we will compile the input from major employers.
... We are wary of having a separate accessibility module. Rather, accessibility should be a fundamental philosophy from which design for all techniques fall out naturally.
... There is a real demand in the industry for people to know more truly useful stuff when they come out of university. One of the problems Suzette has identified is that there sufficient demand does not necessarily translate to curriculum. The number of courses in web design is very small despite the demand for trained developers.

Wayne: Would it be useful to formally add a lab component?
... embedded in that assignment could be accessibility.

Liam: For example, a student should be able to take a PhotoShop image of a page and turn it into elegant, valid HTML5
... so much of what we have done in the past is about changing people's mind. it is refreshing to have this approach where people are going to learn accessibility as one of the fundamental pieces of good design.

Shawn: Did you and Suzette join the WebEd community group?

Liam: I did not, don't know about Suzette.

Shawn: There was a good message last week about materials and instructor perspectives.
... While we look at the big picture, long term in sync with WebEd group, we also should keep in mind what we can do in the short term. Remember that there is also material in the WASP InterAct curriculum.
... and from Opera. The materials in the WebEd wiki right now are not yet complete, and the accessiiblity information is not comprehensive. We need to augment it. It too, seems more geared toward existing developers and designers rather than newly trained.
... There is a point about distinguishing academic levels and the difference between our material and what you would teach to new students. Maybe we need to further explore the question of audience.

Liam: The idea was to identify lots of learning outcomes and then identify which are appropriate for which student group.

<shawn> http://www.w3.org/WAI/EO/changelogs/outreach#docs

Shawn: Would it be useful to go through as a group to look at them?

Liam: Would rather wait until Suzette is on the call.
... but would appreciate group input about employers who hire people doing web development and who might have an interesting perspective.

Shawn: Where is it leading in the short term?

Liam: For new developers, just send them to read WCAG2 and Techniques. It's all there and they have 3 years in which to do it.
... an awful lot of the supporting materials are to gentle people into WCAG2.
... For working professionals, make WCAG2 easier to get to, highlight the techniques that are most often done incorrectly.

Shawn: That's encouraging.

Liam: We need to change our way of thinking. We have been geared toward tempting people into caring about this. If it is integrated into a curriculum, they have no choice but to learn it. You teach them this stuff and test them on it.

Shawn: Then the challenge becomes making instructors comfortable teaching it.

Liam: If the lecturer doesn't know it, we can support them by providing teaching guides and sample questions.

Andrew: WCAG2 is testable and well documented

Wayne: That's just how it works when you teach it at a college level. College professors must always learn new things in their fields. When I passed along the accessiiblity aspects of my course as I retired, the teacher had to learn something new. Now it is going along just fine.

Liam: From a large company employer's perspective, they do not want to hear that it is being taught by people who do not undersstand it well themselves.

Wayne: One thing about employers, they want you to teach what will solve their immediate problems. But as a teacher, you are not an employer advocate but a student advocate. You know that students need to learn more than that.

Liam: The cost of doing a degree has hugely rocketed in the UK and is a culture shock. What you are seeing is a huge shift in what students want and if college is worth it any longer.
... it is absolutely the philosophical underpinning to web development that must be included, it has become even more of a professional/vocational path.

Shawn: In web design, it changes by the time you finish the course.
... any other questions or comments?

Liam: Any additional learning outcomes, understandings, skills that group members want to suggest are quite welcome.

Wayne: I have several developed for my classes and will pass them along.
... they really work, too.

Shawn: Can I take a tangent? Liam you said something about certification and professionalization. Have you seen the discussion of the creation of a professional organization?

Wayne: Yes, the group at CSUN?

Shawn: I will attend the Forum. Judy is on a panel. I thought it was important to be there to share perspective.

<shawn> http://blog.knowbility.org/content/considering-the-case-for-creating-an-international-society-of-accessibility-professionals/

Shawn: You had a perspective a month or so ago and it seems to have been changed by your current research.

Liam: One view is that professional associations get together to plot against the consumer and to protect you against other powerful agents.Essentially, they Liam: prevent outsiders entering the profession (without paying). Once inside, they protect you from outside
...Another view is that being a professional requires you to subscribe to a set of ethics beyond what is required by the general public.
... One problem with web development as a profession is that developers are more independent workers than well defined professionals.
... So for example if you build a web site and do a bad job, there is no legal or professional repercussion really.
... So I can't see how it would be effective unless it was subsumed into a larger body. And it would require large employers to hire only those who are certified professionals.But as for now, we are not doctors, lawyers, or even engineers really.

Shawn: But this effort is not for the development profession, but for accessibility and not just web accessibility.
... one of the criticisms is that accessibility would be further isolated from mainstream development.

Liam: I might agree but don't see any real harm in it.

Andrew: If you think of it in terms of isolation, there are greater divides these days among building trades - plumber, carpenter, etc.

Wayne: The leadership of this certification initiative must be considered as well.

<shawn> concerned that industry leading this does not promote full accessibility

Sharron: Wonder what the motivation is since there has not historically been great leadership around this issue by these particular companies and organziations. Also, the effort does not seem to be driven by organizations that serve people with disabilities.

Wayne: And if this group develops the standards for certification, it could actually be a step back.

Shawn: As an excercise, let's assume pure motives. Then what are the issues?

Sharron: There is still the issue of accessiiblity in a silo.

Liam: Danger that certification itself will be seen as being good enough. Don't need WCAG, just need to hire certified developer.
... could you sue the professional org if the certified agent did not succeed?

Andrew: Are they focused only on web accessibility.

Shawn: No it is web and application - all IT

Sharron: Sharron: Architects are licensed to practice, not separately sertified to build accessible buildings. It's integrated into main architecture program and licensing. It is unfortunate that the cost issue is getting most of the attention. Earlier this morning, I was getting excited envisioning Liam's proposal that accessibility become a fundamental part of learning about software and web development
... I would worry and want to hear specific policies to avoid a scenario where we do our development and then call in that certified developer to bolt on accessiiblity at the end of project. A separate org seems to support that.

Wayne: But traditional IT certification programs are modeled in exactly that way.
...A model created along a corporate certification model would not succeed. So if certification is to be considered, a different model must be created.

Liam: If it were to go that way, it would be irrelevant to me. But would likely not have a negative effect on the industry. Would be largely neutral, but not particularly helpful either.
...It will earn its reputation by whether its any good or not.

Wayne: I was a professor of computer science for years. I saw many students wander down the path of corporate certifications to great disappointment. We should be cautious and proactive against that possibility.

Denis: I have questions about the certification process and will read the minutes to get caught up.

Shawn: OK we'll wrap up, be sure to update availability. More next week.

Summary of Action Items

[End of minutes]

Minutes formatted by David Booth's scribe.perl version 1.136 (CVS log)
$Date: 2012/02/13 17:39:28 $