Web Accessibility at ENGAGE 2018

We hope you enjoyed the second annual ENGAGE! conference on campus this past Tuesday!  Members of the IT accessibility working group gave two presentations, adding to the day’s impressive mix of sessions.

I started off the morning with “Inclusivity Online: Web accessibility skills that anyone can use”.  If you missed it, but still want to develop your skills, you can access the slides here: “Inclusivity Online” Presentation Slides

All told, about 8 members of the community (students and staff) attended all or part of the presentation.  The audience raised some great questions about the limitations of screen readers, and the challenges of learning to use them. We also talked about the effects of anxiety and other mental health conditions online – issues that I hadn’t planned to cover! Although we weren’t able to explore them in depth in the session, I recommend checking out this article on Designing for Cognitive Differences, which covers similar topics.

Later in the morning, Aaron Ferguson, along with a whole group of people (David Paquette, Milo Bezark, the CoSAA signers, and the CORAL Accessibility Squad Members), also gave a presentation on Universal Design. This presentation, “Making “Universal Design” Accessible”, covered accessibility concerns on campus more broadly.  It focused on giving participants “an understanding of how they can advance their own positive impact on accessibility at Hampshire, no matter how large or small.”

Want to learn more?  You can access their materials below!

AccEssentials handout

Conceptology handout

Holistic Learning Toolbox

Interested in Attending TEDx Amherst on April 25, 2015?

TEDx Amherst is being hosted at UMass on April 25, 2015. Registration is limited, so anyone interested in attending should apply for a ticket by going to TEDxAmherst.org/attend. The first 70 Hampshire students to apply will receive a free ticket, thanks to the Hampshire College Dean of Students. Students should choose the Student Ticket ($10) option, faculty and staff should choose the Standard Ticket ($60) option.

Enhancing Student Learning and Engagement Through Moodle

The Five College Blended Learning Program is hosting a workshop on enhancing student learning and engagement through Moodle.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

4:30-6 p.m.

Main location:
Amherst College, Webster 102

Satellite locations with video conferencing:
Hampshire College, FPH Faculty Lounge
Smith College, Seelye Hall B4

Register Now »

Getting It Done! Wednesday, February 25, 12-1 p.m., FPH 102

Join Asha Kinney from IT and Alana Kumbier from the Library for some practical tips on how to keep up with your work and lower your stress level at the same time. They will share a strategy based on the book “Getting Things Done” for staying organized and avoiding wasted time and energy. They’ll also demo some great online tools for staying organized like Trello and Google Calendar. Free lunch!

Wednesday, February 25
12-1 p.m.
FPH 102

HighEdWeb 2013 Annual Conference in Buffalo

A post from our senior web programmer, Sarah Ryder, who attended the HighEdWeb conference in Buffalo in October 2013.

I’ve been fortunate to attend the annual HighEdWeb conference since 2008. Despite HighEdWeb 2013 being my sixth year, I still came away from the conference with a ton of new information and inspiration. There is always top-notch, relevant content from the speakers, sessions, and posters. Everyone in the community grows throughout the year and shares what they’ve learned. We all know it, we all say it: the main reason we love HighEdWeb so much is because the people are awesome. The knowledge we gain just from conversing with each other is priceless. HighEdWeb really brings networking to a whole new level by providing that space and environment for everyone to connect in a professional, yet fun and social way.

The sessions I attended

The Great Unbundling

Website of Dreams: If You Build it, Will They Come?

CSS3 Polyfill Bootstrap Grid – or what are all these new frameworks and why should you care?

How I Made this Presentation: Using the Tools of the Web to Present About it.

Challenge Schmallenge – We’ve Got This: Women Paving Their Own Way

Placemarks to the people

Git in the Van: A Punk Rock Approach to Revision Control

Got the CRUD? I hope so.

Accessibility Demystified: Web Accessibility Compliance and Tools to Help Meet the Requirements

hook_form_alter? I Don’t Even Know Her! 

Faux Pas, Phonies and Flub-ups: How to Handle Social Media Spoofs, Goofs and Snafus

ResourceSpace Digital Asset Management System

Stay Ahead of the Curve: Conducting a Competitive Web Content Analysis – Hampshire even got a shout out during this Best of Track presentation for having an awesome 404 page.

The Keynotes: Woz and Scott Stratten

I’m not generally the type of person who is wowed by keynote speakers, but last year I thoroughly enjoyed Adam Savage’s keynote at HighEdWeb in Milwaukee, and I didn’t think it’d be possible to do even better. Now I’m not saying this was necessarily better, but I’ve gotta admit, having the opportunity to do Q&A with Steve Wozniak was pretty darn awesome. Not only that, but Scott Stratten really hit it out of the ballpark with his keynote. He’s like the poster boy for us geeks. He was relevant, hilarious, and got a great response from our entire audience. I highly recommend checking out his book, which we got as a gift in our swag bag, QR Codes Kill Kittens. I’ve also been listening to his podcast and really enjoying it. For anyone who is interested in checking out his keynote, the video is available online to HighEdWeb members and the cost to become a member is not high. I am hoping to schedule some time on the Hampshire campus to view the video together. If anyone is interested in joining, send me an email to let me know.

The Location: Buffalo

The conference was held at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center and the primary hotel, attached to the center, was the Hyatt Regency. The convention center was equipped with all the wifi and power necessary for a smooth (constantly connected and charged) conference for all attendees, which I don’t think has ever happened before! Not only that, but the center, the hotel, and the city really outdid themselves interacting with all of us via social media. They welcomed us, answered questions, provided suggestions, put together the #BuffaloForReal contest, and really went above and beyond any customer service we could have expected. Buffalo rocks. Thankfully many of us were able to visit some of the attractions, like beautiful Niagara Falls, and some amazing restaurants, despite having a densely packed conference schedule of learning and networking.

They put together a great storify based on our #heweb13 hashtag, the #BuffaloForReal hashtag, and our interactions. There’s also a fantastic album of the #BuffaloForReal pictures that we all took during our visit.

Looking Forward

HighEdWeb started offering smaller, regional versions of the conference some years back and those regionals are becoming more widespread. In 2013 I was honored to participate in the first ever HighEdWeb New England regional conference planning committee. The conference was held at Mount Holyoke College in March 2013 and it went really well! I am happy to say that the proposal to host HighEdWeb New England in Providence this year was approved and announced at the annual conference, and I will be participating in the planning again. I hope many of my colleagues in the area will be able to join us.

HighEdWeb 2014 will be in Portland, OR and I am hopeful that I will be so lucky to attend once again.

Resources and Recaps

I’ve got lots of notes from the sessions I went to, but I really wanted to use this post as a place where I could collect and share some thoughts and resources that I came away from the conference with. Below is a list of blog posts, photos, and awesome things that others have shared since the conference.

Many of the presenters have shared their slides or presentations on their respective conference session pages.

Ken from Lafayette College put together a HighEdWeb-inspired list of books on goodreads and a list of links on delicious.

Not specific to this conference, but a helpful resource nonetheless, is a list of higher ed book reviews on collegewebeditor.com.

A storify from #heweb13 made by Catherine Donnelly from UB.

The WordPress placemarks plugin that Gabriel created and presented on in Placemarks to the People.

Blog posts:

13 must-read LINK! posts of #heweb13 sessions

Top Takeaways from HighEdWeb 2013 on the Fathom Blog

Some thoughts from Ma’ayan Plaut from Oberlin College

On the Meet Content blog: Content Gets Wings at HighEdWeb 2013

Dave Tyler’s LINK post: Thank You #heweb13

Curtiss Grymala’s wrap-up post on WPHighEd

A couple posts from Jeff Stevens: A Niagara of Ideas and A Love Letter to HighEdWeb Folks

The HighEdWeb 2013 Flickr photo set, thanks to Anne Petersen


This is just a simple thank you from me to the entire HighEdWeb community, and to Hampshire for encouraging professional development. This conference is always a fun learning opportunity for me and it reminds me how much I love working in higher ed, specifically at Hampshire. Every year I leave HighEdWeb rejuvenated and inspired, and with connections to folks who inspire and motivate each other throughout the rest of the year.

Agile Project Management Class

Are you swamped with projects?

Do you have a hard time keeping track of what is important?

Are you doing the most valuable work given the resources you have available?

Hampshire College IT Director Bob Crowley and Senior Programming Analyst Ben Fellows invite you to attend their Agile Project Management class being held at Amherst College.

This will be the first in a series of classes we will offer this year on project management. This class is open to anyone, but we have reserved some seats for Hampshire folks, so come join us.

Class Description

You may be familiar with the concepts of traditional project management. Scrum represents another very effective tool in your toolbox of project management techniques.

For projects in which the requirements are continuously changing, you may need a more proactive project management approach.

In this course, you will use Agile project management and focus on Scrum as a project management technique. We will use our time in class to work through the stages of a sample project.

This course is intended for anyone who wants to efficiently manage projects that experience frequent changes in user requirements.

There will be a follow-up session one month after the training so participants can discuss their experiences using the course content, specifically what they learned, what they thought went well, what did not go according to their expectations, and what they think can be improved.

Pre-work: Participants are encouraged to read “The Power of Scrum” by Jeff Sutherland  (isbn:1463578067), available on Kindle or in print. Please read the text prior to the first class.

Date Time Location
Tuesday, November 5 8:30 am – 12:00 Alumni House, Amherst College
Tuesday, December 3 9:00 am – 10:00 Alumni House, Amherst College

Register online »