RCC Takes Access for Disabled Students to New Heights

Worldwide competition yields top ranking

Josephine and Jackson counties, OR – A core aspiration for Rogue Community College (RCC) is to ensure students from any walk of life may reach their educational and employment goals. According to Andrew Childress, RCC access and disability resource coordinator, “RCC is always seeking ways to remove barriers and increase access for students by addressing issues that may not be obvious to those without disabilities.”

“Making sure that online and written course material is readable for all students including those with low or no vision, deaf or hard of hearing students, and those with learning disabilities and/or cognitive impairments, is essential,” said Childress. The motivation to help all students succeed is the foundation of RCC’s recent participation in a worldwide competition for better accessibility.

Fix Your Content Day (FYCD), held in conjunction with Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD), seeks to ease student use and comprehension of online and written course material. GAAD’s purpose is to get the communities of the world talking, thinking and learning about digital access/inclusion and people with different disabilities.

In the 2022 FYCD worldwide competition, RCC ranked 23 out of 177 institutions of higher education across the world in achieving greater access for students. “That is an amazing result and we are proud of our faculty and staff for making this possible,” said Childress. RCC departments and faculty increased access to their educational content by remediating 854 files in 447 classes.

To make content accessible, RCC instructors added alternative text (Alt-Text) to images in their materials in order to convey the full meaning of those images for students who may not have full visual function. They also followed a set of guidelines in updating their course materials that allows computers used by disabled students to better interpret written and other visual text accurately.

RCC departments that increased accessibility by the highest percentage were: Emergency Medical Services (ranked first); Social Science/Human Services (second); and Computer Information Systems (third). Individual awards were given to faculty who made the highest number of accessibility corrections to their course content. The top three faculty winners were: Alan Jackson, Computer Information Services faculty member; Lutz Kramer, Humanities faculty member; and Jim Shaw, Emergency Medical Services faculty member.  

According to Childress, “Our Access and Disability Resources Department worked closely with RCC’s Teaching and Learning Center to ensure every RCC department and instructor could participate in this effective process to increase student accessibility, one file at a time. We are very appreciative of each faculty and team’s hard work to achieve this goal.”  

For additional information on access and disability resources for students or the FYCD program, contact Andrew Childress, Access and Disability Resource Coordinator at (541) 956-7337 or achildress@roguecc.edu.