The project team was recognized for its innovative approach to serving students with disabilities by developing a virtual lab that provides assistive and adaptive technology.
The Innovators Award was given to 10 nominees who were selected from a pool of 393 nominations submitted from higher education institutions around the globe. Entries were reviewed by the Innovators Judging Committee, a group of higher education technology leaders, many of whom are former Campus Technology Innovators Award winners. Final winners were chosen by an expert team of editors.
The Campus Technology Innovators Award recognizes higher education institutions and their vendor partners who have successfully launched initiatives that reach beyond today’s IT applications to create tomorrow’s educational technology practices and serve as models for other institutions.
Fellow recipients of this year’s award are Brigham Young University, Duke University, Penn State University, Pepperdine University and Purdue University. This year’s winning projects are featured in the August issue of Campus Technology magazine and will receive in-depth coverage on CampusTechnology.com. Additionally, the winners were in the spotlight at the Campus Technology 2011 Conference held July 25-28 at the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston, where they received their awards.
Campus Technology is a leading monthly publication produced by 1105 Media Education Group that delivers news, updates and real-world experiences on the use of technology to advance the way colleges and universities operate and educate.The Office of Accessibility’s Assistive/Adaptive Virtual Lab Project will increase student access while limiting the need for expensive individual adaptive software purchases. The virtual lab will house all adaptive software on a central server that will be accessible to students 24 hours a day, seven days a week from anywhere there is Internet access.
Historically, students with disabilities have had access to assistive/adaptive software only in designated computer labs unless they were able to purchase the expensive software to load on their personal computers. This advancement is worthy of an Innovators Award for many reasons. The most important is that it significantly increases equal access in our ever-evolving world of technology, according to Angela Paprocki, director of the Office of Accessibility. Software applications housed in the virtual lab include Atomic Learning, Dragon, Jaws, Kurzweil, MAGic, Read & Write Gold, and Window-Eyes.
“This has been an exciting and exhausting project. Our initial goal was to develop and test the feasibility of creating a statewide virtual lab that all state institutions could utilize, providing greater access for students with disabilities and reducing costs to institutions required to provide assistive/adaptive software,” Paprocki said. “The project team’s sole mission was to provide greater access to students with disabilities; winning an Innovators Award and being recognized by experts in the technology industry was an added bonus. This is truly an honor. I am so proud of all the individuals who worked on this project. Their dedication and enthusiasm have been inspiring.”
She added, “There is also the potential that a virtual lab could be made available to state governmental agencies making the school-to-work transition easier for students and more cost-effective for governmental entities hiring persons with disabilities.”
The Office of Accessibility supports persons with disabilities as they develop their academic and personal potential within the University community. As the bridge to integration within the University, the Office of Accessibility advocates for students’ rights; promotes awareness of disability issues; and ensures equal access to University programs, activities and facilities. The Office of Accessibility is part of the UT Learning Collaborative that works to support and enhance the academic journey.
For more information regarding this project, click here.