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Congratulations to the inaugural Accessibility in Action Award winners!

Accessibility in Action Award Winners announced

In recognition of Global Accessibility Awareness Day, ADCET announced the winners of the inaugural Accessibility in Action Awards at an online event on Wednesday 18 May 2022.

The Celebrating Accessibility in Action online event brought together colleagues from across the Australian tertiary education sector to connect and share innovative examples from their own work. Thank you to everyone that attended.

The Accessibility in Action Awards celebrate work that actively improves accessibility for students and staff. We were thrilled with the number and quality of nominations received.

Congratulations to all the 2022 Accessibility in Action Award winners:

Individual Awards

Making Accessibility Accessible - Ronny Andrade Parra, RMIT

Ronny has provided an invaluable contribution to the improvement of accessibility at RMIT through a range of activities such as: running engaging and interactive training sessions for staff, developing resources including a 'how to create accessible documents' guide, starting an accessibility study group of staff from across the university to help them prepare for the CPACC test, and conducting audits and providing suggestions on how to improve the accessibility of the website, LMS templates and other resources. Ronny has raised awareness, given staff confidence and helped them to become engaged in accessibility.

Leading By Example - Francois Jacobs, Deakin University

Francois has contributed his outstanding analytical and problem solving skills combined with his in-depth knowledge of the Disability and Inclusion courses at Deakin University to audit their post graduate unit sites, and provide comprehensive recommendations to enhace their visual accessibility. As a result he has helped achieve a 100% accessibility score for most of Deakin University's Cloud materials. Francois also mentors a visually impaired student who states: "This lived experience support is priceless. My anxiety has reduced & now I feel like I found my university support circle."

Creating Accessible Change - Jessica Seage, Curtin University

Jessica champions digital accessibility and universal design at Curtin University. She was instrumental in the deployment of Blackboard Ally, an institution wide tool which identifies accessibility issues in LMS. She also provided professional learning through the Accessible Design in a Digital World event, which gave professional development opportunities to staff around accessibility and inclusion in the teaching space. Jessica has shone a light on accessibility and created increased awareness and a desire to improve amongst staff.


Team Awards 

Accessibility through Transition - La Trobe University

Inclusive Development Team
AccessAbility Team

Steve Zelko and Matthew Seah, together with the AccessAbility and Inclusion Advisor team: Julie Kiroluch (Team Leader), Ness McMillan, Zibet Szacsvay, Kelly Bramston, Siobhan Lappin, Diane Kelham, Jacqueline Robilliard. Alex Auletta, and Livia Lo Giudice

Following a significant restructure at La Trobe University, a new model of service delivery for students with additional needs was required. The AccessAbility Team and Inclusive Development Staff went about implementing a service innovation that upskilled academic staff in accessible practices and equipping students with the skills needed to utilise assistive technology. This led to enormous benefits including developing greater independent learning skills in students and reducing academic workload.

Embedding Accessibility - Deakin University

Course Review and Renewal Project
Cloud First Team

These teams have embedded accessibility as a vital part of the student learning experience within the CloudFirst Learning Design Framework. The CloudFirst Learning Design framework is the default framework used in the online portion of unit design across Deakin University, so students in all faculties and divisions are given a consistent and accessible experience.

First Impressions Matter - Deakin University

Orientation Team

The Orientation Team at Deakin University identified the need to make their orientation materials accessible and inclusive for all students. The team undertook the task of making all of their PowerPoint slides and online sessions accessible and designed a program of education to ensure that practice remained in place. As a result of this work, since 2021 all slide decks have been made fully accessible and available to students prior to their orientation session.

Championing Accessibility - Deakin University

Accessibility Champions Project

The Accessibility Champions project provides advocacy and promotion of accessibility through partnership building activities, presentations, unit site design and involvement in leadership-level discussion. As a result of their advocacy, 22 units have become more accessible impacting 2691 students, and the accessbility framework has been enshrined in the minimum standards for unit design at an institutional level.

Sharing & Advocating Accessibility- Deakin University

S.W.A.T team (Students With Assistive Technology)

Darren Britten, Francois Jacobs, Kiah Buhler, Layla Clarkson-Eather, and Nathaniel Schmidt

S.W.A.T is a peer group for students to discuss their lived experience of disability and education issues. S.W.A.T has given students a voice and helped to educate others about the accessibility of learning materials. They've also taken part in user-testing which has helped to inform the Deakin Unit template and design process.

Setting a Higher Standard - Deakin University

Active Reading Resource Guide

Kat Cain, Alyce Greenwood, Sabina Robertson, Karla Wells-Duerr, and Robyn Yucel

This team created an accessible active reading guide for first year students to encourage, support and guide them to undertake reading as an active pursuit. The Active Reading resource was developed to comply with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 AA standards. The resource was user tested and served to demystify and scaffold core university skills needed for success as a learner and beyond.

Transitioning the Curriculum - La Trobe University

Discipline of Audiology, School of Allied Health, Human Services and Sport

Ms. Bojana Sarkic, Ms. Renee Garuccio, Dr. Michelle Loeliger, Dr. Richard Anderson, and Dr. Alicja Malicka

In an effort to find a more sustainable teaching model that also made accessibility and inclusivity a priority, the team migrated teaching and learning to Microsoft Teams. This allowed for easier file sharing, improved video closed captioning and meant students could communicate more informally and freely. This has led to increases in inclusivity and overall student engagement.

Meaningful Access to Employment - University of Southern Queensland, Vision Australia, TAFE Digital

Vision Australia Certificates in Access Technology 

Melissa Fanshawe, Ron Hooton, Amelia Ukovic, Justine Mansell, Stephen Belbin, Linda Greenleaf, Leisa Curtis, Jo O'Malley, and Jenny Maxwell

Vision Australia Certificates in Access Technology delivered online by TAFE Digital ensure people with blindness and low vision (BLV) have equitable access to preparation for employment to have success within the workspace. By creating these certificates students are able to develop the skills required to access information, the workplace environment, social interactions and personal wellbeing. This project shows how industry can work with stakeholders to make a difference to future generations' employability.

Improving Information Access - Deakin University Student Association

Kat Fisher and Sue Rolland

A student identified that the Deakin University Student Association newsletter was not accessible to them with their screen reader software, and that there were accessibility issues on their website. Sue and Kat were advised and took swift action to make sure the issue was rectified and the newsletter and website met WCAG standards. The student emailed to say "Making your digital content accessible benefits not only blind and vision impaired people, but also people with cognitive and learning disabilities and those with motor disabilities. It makes us feel valued and included, and paves the way towards full and equal participation along with everybody else. So I want to sincerely thank you for making the effort to resolve this important issue. Inclusion really matters."

Turning Experience into Accessible Action - University of Technology Sydney (UTS)

UTS LX.lab Inclusive Practices Team

Katie Duncan (Team lead) and Ashley Willcox

The team excels at finding practical and sustainable ways to make teaching inclusive, ultimately supporting student wellbeing and minimising barriers. In their first year, they have made inroads on multiple fronts: shaping technical support, producing resources and providing advice for staff around inclusive pedagogical practice and how to support students with access requirements. This includes a wealth of digital content available to the public at https://lx.uts.edu.au/blog/tag/accessibility

Accessible Basics - ADCET

ADCET Screen Reader 101 webinar

Darren Britten, Andrew Downie, Doug McGinn and Kiah Buhler

The Screen Readers - Everything Access and Teaching Staff webinar unpacked the basics of screen readers in a simple and accessible way. The panel of students and staff gave insights from their own lived experience and showed what it's really like to use a screen reader - something celebrated by the award nominator: "This was exactly what the industry needed".

View the ADCET Screen Readers webinar

Improving Academic Life Through Peer Support - University of New South Wales

Activate UNSW
Peer Connections Team

ActivateUNSW is the first program of its kind at UNSW. It seeks to support students with disabilities, long term illness and mental health conditions  by providing lived-experience guidance from senior students. These senior students assist incoming students with navigating services and spaces as well as providing them with a supportive community of peers. The program numbers have built over time and has created genuine engagement and connection across the university community.

Accessibility: Fix, Flag and Future -TAFE South Australia

TAFE SA Teaching and Learning Team

In recent times, TAFE SA has had to make the rapid transition to online learning, as have many others. This also meant ensuring this online learning accessible. The team worked to improve thir accessibility 1% at at time, with the motto: 'Fix, Flag, Future' - Fix what you can now, flag what to fix soon, and identify what to address in the future. The team is seeing significant results as TAFE SA brings to life strategies and action plans, one conversation at a time.