January 2019 WAPL Transcript
Nate: All right. Welcome everybody. Thanks for coming today. Heidi, thank you so much. Where are you? And Kelly for hosting us in the beautiful lab here. This is an amazing space. Hope everybody had a good holiday, New Year. Anybody travel to someplace warm? Mr. Phil. Speaking of that, the Wolverine in the back of the room, Phil Deaton, thank you for joining us today.
Audience 11: Are you back?
Nate: He's back for now.
Nate: I had to scratch out the house divided. We have nothing but love between our programs. Thanks for joining us today. We've got a very, kind of a different, agenda today. We have a few agenda items we want to get through upfront, and then we're going to do a retrospective kind of in the latter half of the meeting, kind of reflect over the last year, get some thoughts together as we make some goals for next year. So, I'm really excited about that.
Nate: But, as we get started here, since the library is hosting us here, I wanted to give Heidi a moment to kind of talk a little bit about the MSU library's digital accessibility program, some of the things they've been working on over the last year, things they're excited about, things they're looking forward to, so with that, I'll turn it over to Heidi.
Heidi: Great. Thanks, Nate. And welcome everyone to the digital scholarship lab. Ironically, the mics in this room aren't working today, but we have this that's recording the meeting.
Heidi: Nate kind of asked me to kind of talk about three things very, very briefly, and then if there's a couple of minutes, we can take some questions. But, we just wanted to again describe the library's digital accessibility program a little bit by talking about, as Nate said, the top two or three habits or practices that we're doing right now to improve access in our digital goods/services.
Heidi: So I thought of a few things that I think the libraries have been pretty successful at, and the first is continued support of accessibility positions, roles, in various units. This means that we have both administrative and financial support of the things that I'm about to mention.
Heidi: MSU libraries has formalized a lot of accessibility in our roles and positions. I'm the accessibility coordinator for the libraries, and have that as the main thing I do here at the libraries. There's also a librarian who has a secondary assignment, or 25% assignment in library accessibility. We have a really active library accessibility working group made up of about eight or nine people from the libraries from different units. And this is a great way to talk about different aspects of library accessibility, and how we can all work together to improve that.
Heidi: We have a robust student accessibility intern program. Right now we have two students working about eight to ten hours a week each, and they help in our remediation efforts and testing efforts.
Heidi: We have a library liaison to MSU's RCPD, the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities, and this really keeps the communication and programming between our two units open and really active.
Heidi: And then of course, we have units like web services, where Kelly is head, that actively and really make accessibility part of everything that they do.
Heidi: Another thing that I think makes us successful is that we have a really robust meeting and training schedule for library staff, related to digital accessibility. So, each semester we probably offer between three and upwards to about ten, depending on how many webinars are offered, different accessibility trainings that we open up to library staff.
Heidi: We have over 200 library staff, so it's not that all 200 come to each of these sessions, and that's one thing we're working on trying to improve, and to try to increase the ways that we offer these accessibility trainings, to make it easier to reach a wider number of those library staff members.
Heidi: And the third thing that I think really makes us successful is some of the collaborative efforts that we have. We have a really active big-ten library accessibility group, and I think I've talked about that at some of the WAPL meetings in the past, but within this group, we, as a consortium, test library E-resources for accessibility and post those evaluations publicly for any library or vendor or library user to see. So, it really calls out some of the accessibility issues that are present in library E-resources, things like databases, journals, E-books, things that everyone here on campus uses.
Heidi: And then another collaboration that I wanted to mention is, again, RCPD. So, we're all in this beautiful space. When it opened, we know there were quite a few accessibility challenges with things like virtual reality, our 360 room, just the space in general. So, we invited RCPD specialists over to give us feedback on ways we could improve the accessibility, make some of the accessibility challenges more transparent to users who come to the space who might need accommodations, or who might need a little bit of extra assistance. And that collaboration gave us some really good feedback, and we turned some of that feedback into action items like the accessibility handout that we have at the front desk, some of the signage we have around the space, et cetera.
Heidi: Nate also asked me to talk about one of the most impactful things around digital accessibility within the last year. I don't know if it's the most impactful, but it's one of the most cool things we've done recently, so I wanted to highlight that.
Heidi: We recently had Able Eyes do virtual 360 tours of a couple of our library spaces, the first floor, since that's where the majority of people who visit the library come, and our digital scholarship lab here on the second floor, west.
Heidi: For those who don't know, Able Eyes is a local accessibility company that creates virtual tours to really help people with certain disabilities, those with anxiety, PTSD, those on the autism spectrum, with chronic health issues, who may want to check out a space virtually before coming in to make sure it works for them.
Heidi: So, these virtual tours are now posted on the library's website in a couple of different places. But they're really cool. Able Eyes, if you're not familiar with their work, they were at the accessible learning conference. They really did a beautiful job at making these tours and shooting everything here on the first floor and the digital scholarship lab.
Heidi: So, from the library's main page, if you go to Address and Visiting, you can take a look at these. I don't want to spend too much time. But there are tags that give information about certain public services points, or restrooms which might be accessible, which aren't, drinking fountains, that sort of thing.
Heidi: And then finally, Nate asked me to talk about some of the things we're hoping to work on, or improve, in 2019. We have several goals, but a few that I thought of, and thought I'd mention, is again, continued staff training and efforts, especially related to document and digital accessibility, to again, reach more of those 200 plus staff members that we have here.
Heidi: We really want to continue to communicate with, and put pressure on, E-resource vendors that we work with. Again, those database E-resource, E-journal, E-book vendors, there are still a lot of accessibility issues in those platforms in the content, and those are heavily used here on campus.
Heidi: The libraries and archives just merged here on campus, so one of the things we'll be working on in the continued year, is to incorporate archives as part of our library's accessibility team, and incorporate them into our five-year plan and annual reviews.
Heidi: And then we're also focusing a lot in the coming year on physical accessibility in terms of the space. We're looking a lot at signage. A lot of our signage isn't ADA compliant, or doesn't have Braille.
Heidi: We're planning a lot of new spaces as we have a new library director, so we want to make sure accessibility is being incorporated at the beginning planning stages of all that.
Heidi: So, with that, I'll end, but if there are any questions, I'm happy to answer them now, or I'll also be hanging around, but just for a few minutes after the meeting. I have to rush to a camp to pick up my son, who's out of school this week, still, so ...
Heidi: Any questions? All right. Thanks.
Nate: Thank you Heidi. That was great. I always love hearing stories about how you all are doing accessibility within your own programs within your own colleges. Because it looks different depending on what unit you're in, the academic content, or not, and all these different variables. And I love that you guys have made this fit for the libraries really well. So, kudos. Good work, there.
Nate: The next thing that's up on our agenda, it is the start of the semester, and so we wanted to carve out just a few minutes to invite Leslie from the RCPD, so if you want to come up. I like to do this, kind of right at key points, but we started doing this also throughout the WAPL schedule, just to kind of carve out some time to make connections with RCPD. We don't have anything specific planned, but I wondered if there are any specific questions related to course content or maybe anything else related to RCPD.
Nate: I know we get these Visa requests. They go to Bender over here, and then we try to work with you as liaisons, as well as the faculty, to make sure you get connected when you need help. So, I'll just kind of leave it open for a moment.
Nate: Any questions? Yeah.
Audience 1: Actually, I wanted to share something with you. I saw your presentation that you did for us a few months ago, and shared it with our executive team at RHS. They immediately wanted me to present it to the entire executive team in a meeting, and they had a lot of questions, and they may invite you to a meeting in the future. But they really appreciated the information that was there, especially for the Res folks who manage all the residence halls, and all of that. They were really intrigued by some of that info, so thank you.
Leslie: Oh, good. Well, I'm glad to hear that it went to good use.
Nate: Yeah. Thanks for mentioning that. And in case ... Do you mind talking a little bit about the context of that presentation?
Leslie: Sure. And that presentation ... I think it got emailed out, too, but it basically just had a breakdown of our population of students that are registered with us, and what different disability categories they fall under, what colleges, majors, grade level, things like that. So, it just shows that we have a lot of students, and they're all over the place. They live on campus and off campus.
Leslie: We actually, myself and another colleague, meet in REHS, Chris Stone-Sewalish. We meet with him every two weeks, because we have an RCPD liaison over there to talk about housing, accommodations, and issues that arise. So, we're always happy to go in and meet and talk and, like we came to the library. That was a lot of fun. So, we're always happy to come and go places.
Leslie: Anything else? Yeah.
Audience 2: Is that breakdown available somewhere to go look at?
Nate: Would you mind repeating the question, too?
Leslie: Yeah. She asked if the breakdown was available, and I don't think it's on our website. Our website's currently in the process of being restructured, but I can certainly send it to you.
Leslie: And I know it's usually included in our annual report, which I don't know if it's on our website, or not. I can send it to you if you give me your contact info.
Audience 2: Thanks.
Leslie: Yep. Any other questions? Yeah.
Audience 3: It's always good to connect a name with the face. Thank you so much for everything. If there are other questions, is there a place that folks should go to related to visas or any accommodations requests?
Leslie: Yeah. So, any like, visa questions or accommodation requests that ... The visa will have the specialist's name and contact information at the top, so that's always the best place to start, or you can go on our website. It's just rcpd.msu.edu, and all of our information's on there. So you can feel free to contact any of us with questions and there's always lots of questions, and all the students are requesting their visas right now, so we're kind of really busy trying to get all those out to them. So, we have lots of instructors ... I had an instructor this morning with questions, so there's always instructors' questions and you know, questions all over the place, so ...
Leslie: But, yeah. So, we're always happy to help. All right? Thanks. Yeah.
Audience 3: Thanks, Leslie.
Nate: Great. Okay. Next up on our agenda, I want to talk a little bit about our monthly web report metrics. I do not have the metrics for December, just with the holiday in there, so it's going to take me a little bit more time to pull those numbers.
Nate: But, one of the things I did kind of want to mention, is just kind of a reminder about some of the guidance that we provided a few meetings back. This slide hopefully looks familiar. About why it's important and where to get started if you're not reporting your web metrics and those kind of things.
Nate: So, one of the things that we talked about up-front is, essentially, we're recommending that you up-front, when you think about your websites, define what your digital properties are. What are the most important websites, web apps, those kind of things, to you, within your own unit.
Nate: You should define those, and one of the bits of feedback that we gave a lot of in this last annual self-review cycle was, it's also really important for you to document why you prioritize something the way you did. That gives us some good information and it will help you if you've documented that, to start to talk about that within your unit. So, that's the first thing.
Nate: The second thing is, we say, start small. It can be very difficult to ... Well, it's overwhelming, right, to think about how many digital properties that are out there, so we'd recommend you start with a small group of them that you know are high-traffic, those kind of things.
Nate: Number three. Start by submitting priority properties that you're most actively remediating. So, the worst thing that I think we an do, is say, "This is a really important website to our unit," but then not work on the accessibility of it, or make improvements to it. So, we want you to focus on the sites that you're going to be working on and improving for accessibility regularly.
Nate: And then lastly, the recommendation is to submit web reports on a monthly basis. This image here might look familiar. We talked about this in terms of, how often do we change our oil, right? Every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, every six months or so, whatever that number is. We'd like you to be more frequent in checking your websites than you might be in checking your oil, right?
Nate: These are our digital front doors that the properties that folks go to when they first come to MSU for some of us. So, it's really important to get in there and be checking the accessibility of it, if you're not.
Nate: I'll be circulating more information on the actual metrics for this month. I'll send that out to the web access list once we've crunched those numbers together. But, just wanted to give a quick reminder during our meeting today.
Nate: Okay. The next thing I wanted to talk about is an idea that we have. There is a regular meeting of the MSU IT host, called MSU ITnext, and so one of the ideas that we're talking about right now, and had some ideas around was, what would it look like for us to have a focus on digital access and inclusion for our next ITnext? So, that's one of the things we want to talk about.
Nate: With that, I wanted to invite up Dawn Baker. She's our MSU IT chief of staff, and I asked Dawn to talk a little bit about, why do we do MSU ITnext? Why is that important, those kind of things?
Nate: So, with that, I'll hand it over to you.
Dawn Baker: Good afternoon, everyone. Nate, thank you very much for inviting me. I'm amazed. I met Nate probably over a year ago, and just got familiar with the work he's doing across the university, and I'm just amazed at how he networks. And I just teased him that I'm going to start following him to all of his meetings, because he has the best locations that I've ever seen on campus, outside of where I usually meet. So, this is fantastic.
Dawn Baker: So, as you know, earlier this year, many of you have been a part of this initiative for the IT transformation, where we're changing the approach to technology on campus. That activity was ongoing, very actively, for six months, reaching out to different units having those conversations.
Dawn Baker: We've been very fortunate to welcome over 200 new team members to MSU IT, and as we continue to work together, we've decided that this ITnext concept is a great way to define, not only acknowledge the past and what's happened, but what are the possibilities for the future?
Dawn Baker: Our first one was to on-board and welcome new team members. We had another one for a specific project that's having a very big impact on campus in regards to mail migration. And in a brief conversation with Nate, we just started talking about the idea, "What if we took it to the next level and considered the impact that technology and accessibility... What does that have on campus?"
Dawn Baker: And again, being educated through Nate and his great work across the university, are there more opportunities to connect some of the demand that's out there with many of the great things that are happening?
Dawn Baker: So, very happy to have a few minutes with this group today. Nate's going to take us through some brainstorming, as far as how might that ITnext be purposed to best meet the needs of the target audience, both in highlighting the great things, but also making sure we understand, are there gaps there that can be addressed and making sure those are raised.
Dawn Baker: So, thank you so much, everyone.
Nate: Thanks, Dawn. Yeah. So, I handed out this one-page document. It kind of gives a high level of some of the ideas. This is intended just to be brainstorming, right? And really, we wanted to bring this to the WAPL first so we could start to get some feedback. It maybe that ITnext is something that's interesting to you, but it also may be that you know folks within your own unit that maybe are better focused on something like this.
Nate: Again, the audience for something like this is going to be IT staff. That's the way that we've done it in the past. So, if you could ask your IT staff, or let them know anything about accessibility, what would it be? What would you be interested in?
Nate: So, one of the things I kind of wanted to ask is, if you go to the bottom, where it says, ideas, there's section one, two, three, again, these are just kind of initial brainstorms, but I would love to get a better sense from you all about what is it you want to tell your IT staff, or what do you want them to know about IT accessibility that would be really beneficial?
Nate: So, the first question there, under Section one, is what specific questions do you have about MSU IT accessibility efforts, or what is it you'd like them to learn?
Nate: I'd like to just kind of open it up to the room. Is there any feedback you'd be interested in providing, or thinking about?
Audience 4: One thing I was interested in seeing is what's in the [inaudible 00:18:56] the security [inaudible 00:18:59] last year, and kind of what [inaudible 00:19:10] kind of thing. I thought it would be really interesting seeing how we can work on that.
Nate: That's great feedback. I'm just going to repeat it for the recording. The feedback was, it would be helpful to hear about what was the feedback from the previous ITnext to help inform the next one. So, that's a great point.
Audience 5: Is there focus on access and inclusion primarily targeted to accessibility features, or is it also for means of crossing the digital divide, or students and faculty who don't have reliable internet access, things like that? I'm curious.
Nate: Gotcha. So, the question was, what is the focus of digital access and inclusion. I think that's definitely a good question we need to answer to figure out what should be the main focus. And that's frankly, I think, why I wanted to get a little bit of feedback from you all today, too. What would be most helpful in terms of your IT staff? I don't have a good sense of where everybody's at. I know where we're at as a team and where we're at within MSU IT, but there are IT staff scattered all over campus.
Nate: So, what I'll do ... And by the way, too, if you think about it, I'm more of a processor, personally, and I think about it later, so if you have some feedback later, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Email me directly, or there's also the link to the Ideas site. You can submit them there.
Nate: All right. Question two. If you could have any keynote speaker in the accessibility space, who would it be, and why?
Audience 6: The W3C lady from usability [inaudible 00:20:50].
Nate: W3C lady.
Audience 6: I can't remember her name.
Audience 7: Shawn Lawton Henry.
Audience 6: Okay. That was it. I love that she said, "Don't read the regulations. Read the examples.
Nate: Okay. Don't read the regs. Read the examples. That was some of the feedback she gave. Okay.
Nate: Anybody else you can think of?
Audience 8: Maybe like Karl Groves would be a great person for the technical sessions [inaudible 00:21:18] get started on this. [inaudible 00:21:21].
Nate: The comment was, "Karl Groves is another idea." He's fantastic. Yeah. That's a great recommendation. Him and Billy as a combo would be really funny. They have a YouTube series. If you haven't seen that, it's worth a google. It's really funny.
Nate: Any other ideas before I go to the next question?
Audience 9: Depending on your definition of access, Chris Gilliard, who completed his [inaudible 00:21:43] in his work on digital [inaudible 00:21:44].
Audience 9: Surveillance, AI, all that.
Nate: Thank you. Chris Gilliard.
Audience 9: Yeah.
Nate: Good recommendation. Thank you.
Audience 9: His [inaudible 00:21:55] are visible on Twitter if you're on the Twitters. It's worth a Twitter.
Nate: I am on the Twitters. All right.
Nate: I'm going to go to the next question. We're talking about a session on what resources might be available and how IT staff can support the effort at MSU. The question is just kind of more general. How could we as a unit deliver better value in your work as it relates to IT accessibility?
Nate: You can answer that now, or we're also going to be getting into an exercise where I think we'll draw some of that out, as well. But, any initial thoughts on that?
Nate: All right. Cool.
Nate: So, thanks for providing the feedback. If you have other thoughts, again, shoot us an email. We'd love to hear it. We really want to be listening to that, and it's going to help inform this. This sort of thing, I know, is only good unless it's something that helps you and is helpful to us together. So, that's really why I'm really interested in your feedback on this.
Nate: With that, I think we can go to our next part of the session, which is a retrospective sprint. Jess Knott is a head over at the Innovation Hub, and what we want to focus the discussion on is, our digital accessibility program efforts as a whole in 2018. And then we'll look ahead to 2019, as well.
Nate: So, with that, I'm going to give the microphone to Jess, and then we'll go ahead and get started.
Jess: This is like the quietest Friday afternoon, ever. Is it because we're in the library, or is it that everybody's tired, or are we all still filled with cheese? Anyone else? I'm so full of cheese. It's just sickening what I've eaten. [inaudible 00:23:43] where it's just shoveling garbage in and it's like [inaudible 00:23:45]. That's this.
Jess: All right. So. Is this on? I have no idea what I'm doing.
Nate: You're good. Yep.
Jess: I used to work in IT, but they kicked me out because I couldn't do technologies. That's a joke.
Jess: Okay. So, Nate approached me before the cheese and talked about the purpose of this group, and some of the things you guys have been talking about over the past couple of years, specifically 2018. And he said, "Hey, I really want like an external person, who doesn't know anything at all, to come in and facilitate like a planning session, in a way. We really need to reflect on what we've done, and where we are. We have to ask each other as a group, and as an institution, some really tough questions."
Jess: So, I have ... Let's see. I'm going to have you divide up into groups, and we're going to do something called a sailboat exercise. And I know it looks like, really cutesy and whatever, but when I worked in the private sector, I worked at Techsmith and [inaudible 00:24:59], and every time we had a release of any sort of software, we'd do a retrospective.
Jess: And this was really the time to ask very difficult questions. So, when I was there, it was like, "So, what did the sailboat ... " You know, I'm an academic. What's wrong with you people? What's going on?
Jess: But the reason is, because this can help us kind of separate from me and my work and my identity, and help us look at us and our work and our identity.
Jess: So, the point of the sailboat is, we're going to break up into small groups, and we're going to answer the following questions. I'm going to time each section, so that you have time to talk, but the first question we're going to ask is, "What pushed the general accessibility at MSU forward in 2018?"
Jess: So, build your sails, guys. And this isn't your personal sails, necessarily. This is, when you look across campus and organizationally at the work this group has done, what pushed you forward in 2018?
Jess: Then we get down here into the anchor. You'll notice I said, "What pushed digital accessibility at MSU forward in 2018?" Here I say, "What held us back?" That's not, "Well, this other guy didn't do his thing," or you know, whatever. I want you to think about what held us, as an initiative, what held us, as a group, what held us, as MSU, back from forwarding some of the things we wanted to accomplish in 2018?
Jess: And then each one of you has ... I tried with monsters. I'm just not very good at them. So, the Grrr monster is the risks you see coming in 2019. So, that in February, we can take some time to proactively design ways to approach 2019 with those things in mind.
Jess: So, if you could ... Let's see. You guys are a nice big group right here. You guys are a nice big group right here. And so are you. I'm going to put up a timer, and each table has Post-it notes.
Jess: Now, here's the second part of the challenge. As you write your Post-its, as you put them on, say, "This is what it says." So, for example, "What pushed digital accessibility at MSU forward in 2018? I say, the Accessible Learning Conference that took place at the Kellogg Center in December really helped push some things forward and bring some attention to the topic on campus."
Jess: I write that on my thing, stick it on here. We talk about it a little bit. At the end, we're going to do some theming and some sharing out. All of this is going to build towards the February meeting, once I connect with Nate, so that you'll actually be able to co-build some directions for 2019.
Audience 11: Are we doing three [inaudible 00:27:53]?
Jess: Yep. I'm using the fancy boat, okay, the SS Billy B, if you will, in honor of his visit, even though he's a Wolverine now.
Audience 13: [inaudible 00:28:07].
Jess: So, you have Post-its. You have Post-its. Post-its. Nate brought all the fancy Post-its, with the lines and stuff. So, this shouldn't be like a quiet, we're really tired and full-of-cheese time. Make sure that we're talking. If you want to tap dance, or whatever, get your energy levels up, because everything we do today will build on this cool drink-of-water's leadership initiative for 2019.
Jess: So, I'm going to open up a timer. I'm going to turn off this microphone, and stay tuned. Start with what pushed us forward in 2018.
Audience 13: How long?
Jess: Ten minutes.
Audience 13: Ten minutes.
Jess: You want to make me a copy of this?
Audience 14: [inaudible 00:28:49].
Nate: That's fancy.
Jess: Yeah. I googled. I made it for you. That's what I was doing. I wasn't breeding, incidentally, my dog before I came here.
Audience 10: Hey, Jess?
Audience 10: Is this timer just for the filling of sails, or is this for all three.
Jess: This is just for the filling of sails.
Audience 10: Okay.
Jess: Good question. A question from Kelly. This ten minutes is just about filling your sails. Filling your sails for ten minutes on a sunny Friday afternoon.