How Virginia Tech Is Keeping C.A.L.M. During A Pandemic

By: Danielle Chazen
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Keeping C.A.L.M. during a pandemic is not an easy feat, but the leaders at Virginia Tech have taken this time as an opportunity to expand on their campaigns for inclusivity and accessibility with the move to online learning.

With nearly every course being offered remotely or in a hybrid environment, instructors and universities are being charged with finding creative ways to engage their students, but also ensure students with reported and unreported disabilities do not struggle while learning virtually.

Mark Nichols, Senior Director of Universal Design and Accessible Technologies, and his team at Virginia Tech have been committing themselves to ensuring course materials are always made accessible to those who need them to participate effectively. The COVID-19 pandemic only exacerbated the need for additional tools and knowledge sharing to ensure this mission continues and that all students are served.

This Monday, November 23rd at 1pm EST, Nichols and his colleague Christa Miller, Director, Inclusive Media Design at Virginia Tech, will join Verbit for a live webinar. They’ll explore and showcase the inspiring work they’re doing at Virginia Tech through their Keep C.A.L.M. and Caption On campaign. The university is expanding its footprint of accessibility and universal design and promoting the use of captions on all videos and lectures to aid students.
Verbit will gather these Virginia Tech leaders for the first of a multi-part series to address how they’re approaching accessibility and media design, educating faculty and gaining buy-in from executive leadership to bring their plan of inclusivity for all to fruition.

Nichols works within the Technology-enhanced Learning and Online Strategies (TLOS) unit of the Division of IT. He leads an accessibility team that helps ensure  learning environments are welcoming and accessible. Nichols has supported accessibility efforts within both K-12 and higher education for a combined 19+ years. He is an active member of the National AEM Advisory Committee with a personal interest in the maker movement and connections to the field of Assistive Technology.

Miller is a subject matter expert in disabilities, learning technologies, UDL and Braille. She serves within the Technology-enhanced Learning and Online Strategies (TLOS) unit of the Division of IT.

RSVP here for the event, which will be moderated by Scott Ready, Accessibility Evangelist and Senior Customer Success Manager, Verbit, who has served the education industry for 20+ years and worked for 35+ years in accessibility.