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Duke’s Disability Management System Visits the TEC

By: Richard Mitchell

Last week, three members of Duke’s Disability Management System (DMS) visited the Technology Engagement Center to provide an AV focused Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) overview and to highlight their services to the Duke Digital Media Community (DDMC). DMS Executive Director, Leigh Fickling, kicked off the session with an explanation of what the ADA is, who is protected under the ADA, and provided an AV and IT friendly overview of past legislation leading up to the current environment of accessibility at Duke. The conversation touched on a number of areas including accessible websites, software-based hearing assist, accessible parking, live event accommodations, video captioning and descriptive audio tracks (see below), hardware mounting guidelines, and fundamental classroom acoustics.

Four key takeaways from the session:

  • If you have ADA specific questions (hardware, software, legal, etc.), DMS is Duke’s go-to resource (Pssssst… they are also great to work with!)
  • DMS has a treasure trove of free and fee-based solutions for making your learning environment and live events more accessible.
  • Disabilities come in many shapes and sizes. We must think beyond basic wheelchair, visual, and auditory accessibility when accommodating our students, faculty, and staff.
  • Accessibility is a living goal that changes over time, not a checkbox or task to be completed (and forgotten).

Descriptive audio, as mentioned in the session and above, has started to appear in many films as an alternative soundtrack for individuals with a visual impairment. Take a listen to see the current state of accessibility in the film industry and how this will make its way to a college campus near you.

For those interested in the PowerPoint presentation: DDMC_ADA_SESSION

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