Feature Articles

Advocating for Student Skills

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Two people review and discuss another person's CV

The first in AccessATE and DeafTEC’s “ACE It!” tip sheet series, Advocating for Students, discusses the importance of being a good advocate for your students with disabilities when working with industry partners and employers. Below we will expand on how to promote the good work of your students, via routes such as writing a solid referral, or talking to potential employers to give them a deeper understanding of the student’s skill set.

Tip Sheet: Advocate for the Student

It can be difficult to decide which of your student’s skills to focus on in your discussions with employers. We’ve all been in the position of not knowing how to describe ourselves in a job interview, and it can be even harder to do so for someone else!

No matter the field, most of us split job skills into categories, with a common distinction being hard skills vs soft skills. Hard skills, of course, are technical skills; specific knowledge likely learned in class or in previous jobs. Welding, process automation, coding, data analysis, and benchwork are all examples of hard skills. Soft skills, on the other hand, have more to do with the student’s ability to work with others, manage their time, adapt to...

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Making Your ATE Presentations Accessible for Everyone

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Four seated people watch a woman give a presentation

Most of us in the ATE community have to do a variety of presentations each year, from informal talks for colleagues at a brown bag lunch or on a Zoom call, to more formal presentations for a webinar or at a conference. And now during the pandemic, we find ourselves needing to give a lot of these presentations online, which adds its own set of technical challenges on top of those we already face when we present. Regardless of the content or platform, it’s important that our efforts be made accessible, in order to reach as many people as possible.

Tip Sheet: Creating Accessible Presentations 

In thinking about the guidance provided in the tip sheet from the National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) and AccessATE, it may good to consider that presentations can be essentially divided into two types: in-person and online. When presenting in person, there are physical accessibility factors to consider that have nothing to do with the content of the presentation itself. Whenever possible, it’s best to scope out the location of in-person events in advance. Consider the lighting and layout of the space; screen projections can be difficult to view if the room is too bright. On the...

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Making Your ATE PDFs Accessible for Everyone

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Six people collaborate on a document

From project proposals, to instructional materials, to recruiting resources, PDF documents are plentiful across the ATE Community. It’s vital to ensure that the documents we produce are accessible to as many users as possible. This not only helps widen our reach, but can even improve the experience for users without disabilities. The AccessATE/NCAM tip sheet covers a variety of ways to make PDFs accessible, and we will provide additional recommendations here.

Tip Sheet: Creating Accessible PDFs

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Making Your ATE Websites Accessible for Everyone

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Two people build a website collaborateively

The quantity and quality of online content is ever-increasing in most areas, including education. Taking extra steps to ensure your website and webpages are accessible, as the tip sheet from AccessATE and NCAM describes, can make your content stand out, and get it used more often by more people.

Tip sheet: Creating Accessible Websites

You may recognize that a number of the accessibility considerations for websites are the same as those important for other media – good color contrast, using headings, providing alternative text for images, avoiding complex tables, and so on. Here, we will discuss some additional recommendations when designing an accessible website.

Forms are a frequent feature on many websites – perhaps you need your users to sign up for a webinar, or request some information or an item, or upload materials or resources. A key thing to remember when designing forms is that everything must be as clear and explicit as possible. Buttons, labels, next steps, consequences of actions, etc., should never be vague or leave your users wondering what will happen once they click. For users with low vision or motor control issues, clickable areas should be made fairly...

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Making Your ATE Videos More Accessible for Everyone

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A woman editing a video on a computer

We use videos in so many ways in the ATE community; as part of classroom and lab instruction, for recruiting students, and as part of our outreach efforts to various stakeholders. And as we all use Zoom and other online platforms for meetings and conferences, we often record those events, creating more recorded video content. So how do we ensure that everyone can utilize this great content? By considering accessibility from the beginning, which is what this helpful tip sheet from the National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) and AccessATE is all about!

Tip Sheet:  Creating Accessible Videos

The tip sheet covers a number of different categories that relate to making video accessible. For those who are deaf or hard of hearing, captioning is critical, and it’s also very useful for many users for whom English is not their first language. For blind users, audio descriptions can be critical – particularly when you think about portions of a video set in STEM or lab settings where people are demoing or doing technical work.

Sometimes it’s easier to see something in action rather than read about it. A quick and effective example of the impact of captioning is to watch the...

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